Have you ever met someone that didn’t tell lies, not even white lies?
Go ahead and imagine events at the workplace and in personal relationships where it is necessary to be diplomatic or strategic, or to go along with people even though you know they are wrong (great idea, boss), if only to make them feel better (I have total confidence you’ll do a better job next time // no, of course you do not look fat in those pants, sweetheart).
Or all the times we say sorry because it is customary, even though we don’t mean it. How many truly are sorry when they accidentally step on another’s toes? We feel neutral, it happens, we’re not sorry since it was completely unintentional. But we say it nonetheless, because it’s expected and people get angry if they don’t hear it. Simple social etiquette.
And all the things we tell our kids! I personally would love to have a one-on-one conversation with Santa Claus. Not to mention ask the Tooth Fairy where she leaves all those teeth. How would your child fare at school if you didn’t lie to them until they were old enough, just like pretty much every other parent?
White lies are what keep the peace. They are what enables a person to thrive in their professional and personal life. And we tell so many as part of being social and civil that most of us don’t even realize anymore when we do it.
As for manipulation, the art of negotiation is based on manipulation. So is compromise. To create a win-win situation, you need to guide a person, you need to take charge. An alpha male manipulates and influences most people they meet to some degree solely through their strong sense of self. Through subtle hints and even non-verbal communication, we are all always manipulating others in our world.
In my opinion, white lies and subtle manipulation are all part of our social filter, the thing that keeps society going. I’m certainly not saying to be evil or unethical. All I’m saying is that there are certain things that separate us from running around in loincloths in the jungle, the things that allow us to call ourselves “civilized” while living in dense cities with thousands of people. These are among them. I wish we didn’t need to, that people would act in the real world exactly how they act online, hidden behind the perceived anonymity of the Internet.
But let’s agree to disagree. I chose to put Dark in front of my username because I tend to take the pessimistic viewpoint in a debate. On the plus side, it gives the world ample opportunities to positively surprise me.
You make some interesting points. I suppose we can never fully let go of ourselves without losing what it means to be human. But we can reach a point where we accept ourselves and the past no longer leeches our energy, allowing us to exist in the moment.
I was wondering what Nitro’s thoughts on this were, but I see he’s just posted while I was writing yet another far too long post. I can’t help myself, I’m intrigued by the human condition. So for going on too long, I am - honestly - sorry.