September 18

“IS IT EVER PERMISSIBLE TO LIE TO OURSELVES?”

0  comments

“The truth has only one face, but a lie has 100 thousand faces.”

Has anyone reading this newsletter ever lied to themselves or others?  

     If we are honest with ourselves, we all tell lies, and what is interesting is that we often lie for what we believe are good reasons. 

    Does that sound familiar? How many half-truths have you told today?

   I would like to hear from you if you are one of the saints among us.

      The reality is we humans lie most often and regularly.  

   “The truth is bitter” is the common phrase I have heard from family, friends, and colleagues during any discourse since January 2023. 

   This ethical question( ?moral injury) I had to grapple with during my psychiatry training not too long ago on what is ethically right or wrong (labeling or wellness). 

      I could write a whole book on this topic, but we should review the insights of Great minds that have gone before us. 

     What do you think? 

Come with me as I show you the minds of great philosophers. Of course, they are not perfect but flawed like most of us. That’s being human!

Should we lie to our loved ones and family? 

Anxieties were written over her pale face as she asked with high tonality, “Dad, how are you feeling? And is the hospital safe? And are you going to come back home? This was the question my loved ones posed to me during the height of COVID-19. She has been watching the BBC, aware of self-deception in hospitals and the danger of being on the frontline trying to help others. 

      Her father was like a soldier going to the battlefield, in this case, fighting COVID-19 and trying to save lives. However, we know we need more tools. She does not want her dad to be the unwise hero. 

     Can we take a minute for the medical heroes who died during the COVID?

     We have been watching the images of the Black Death, and she knew a lot about self-deception by the priests, the healers, and the lifeless bodies strewn over and abandoned in the dark alleys. Of course, Covid-19 was devastating but not as deadly as Black Death. The jury is still out on the deaths from the current pandemic. 

    I cleared my throat, reassured them that I was safe, and told her what she needed to know, and her countenance changed after receiving the good news (deep down, I knew I was going into the abyss created by the so-called politicians!)

   I quickly reminded her every profession comes with a degree of risk, including being a medical soldier on the battlefield. I had been preparing for this. “Be prepared”- Boy Scout motto. 

       Take a breath, Breathe in the future, and exhale the past.

Minutes late, I fixed my gaze on the espalier across the house and did a quick body scan and checklist. Minutes later, I was lost in thought and driving subconsciously as I strategically planned for the next few days. “Our preparation plus god’s providence equals Success. In this case, coming back home safely!

Back to the earlier quote, “The truth has only one face, but a life has 100 thousand faces.”

The above proverb statement suggests that truth is straightforward and consistent, the importance of honesty, and the ethical value of telling the truth, regardless of how it is presented. On the other hand, a lie can take on several forms, with each lie being tailored to suit the intentions of the person telling it. 

I am not a philosopher, but show me your friends, and I will tell you who you are. 

Does that truth hurt?

According to Plato( in the republic), a Leader should tell noble lies and understand this has become a political theory even in a democracy where truth and transparency are valued and are the cornerstone. 

   May we have all naïve and paternalism justified during medical emergencies. 

    I can’t wait to read his new book, Matt Hancock Pandemic Dairies! 

Is it okay to lie to a dying child that we don’t know if they will die?

Do you remember Matt Hancock? The guy who had an affair when he was telling everybody on state TV to maintain the distance. I could not fathom how he kept cognitive dissonance. 

“Find a good spouse, and you will find a good life- and even more: the favor of GOD!”

How many books have you read this year, a coaching client asked me. 

   I told him the half-truth,’ It depends on what you mean by a book, some books I skimmed and some I ponder upon. Of course, I didn’t disclose that I have read more than 50 books this year. Again, the truth is bitter, right? I guess he was not ready to hear the truth. 

On the other hand, the British philosopher John Stuart Mill, one of the most influential thinkers of the 19th century, believed in the importance of truthfulness and the moral duty to tell the truth. 

  He recognized that there might be cases where a truthful statement could cause harm, but he generally argued that truthfulness should be the default principle and that exceptions should be made sparingly and only when there are clear and compelling reasons to do so. 

Does lying generate more harm than good?

Should I tell my neighbor what I truthfully think of her? 

My new neighbor, Rebecca (not her real name), appeared delighted the other day; she stopped me as I drove past in front of her house and said, “You have inspired me to start taking my wellness more seriously!”. She quickly added you are a beacon of light in this community. I thanked her for kind words and told her that’s the beauty of community. We encourage each other!

Like my neighbor, do you want to be held accountable as we head into Q4? I can’t believe it’s September!

What do you think about the positions of the great philosophers highlighted above? 

What does Immanuel Kant think about this discourse? When I lie to you, I enslave you!

What about if I have lied to you? 

How do you spot half-truths or blue lies out there?

If you like this newsletter, you will want to dive deep into the ethical issues (rather than scrolling your phone 1,000 times daily).

 Please register for our Gold or Diamond newsletter!

Get a taste of what Gold Newsletter looks like.

The metaphor of the blind man and elephant gives us a partial understanding of human nature and development or a false understanding. This metaphor is applicable to the topic at hand, ‘Is it ever permissible to lie?’

In the metaphor, there were six blind men who approached an elephant to discover what kind of creature an elephant was. Each blind man forms a different interpretation of what the elephant is based on their limited sensory experience. 

  1. The first man happened to fall against the elephant’s side. He declared, “The elephant is like a wall.”
  2. The second man into the tusk and, after feeling it, exclaimed, “The elephant is like a spear.”
  3. The third man grabbed onto the trunk and shouted, “The elephant is like a snake.”
  4. The fourth man held onto the elephant’s leg and declared, “The elephant is like a tree.”
  5. The fifth man chanced to touch the elephant’s ear and proclaim,” The elephant is like a fan.” 
  6. The sixth man grasped the elephant’s swinging tail and screamed, “The elephant is like a rope.”

The story teaches us that truth can be complex, and people may have varied perspectives of it based on their experiences and limited knowledge. It also highlights the importance of considering multiple. Viewpoints and seeking a more comprehensive understanding of truth by combining different perspectives, as no one has a monopoly on the complete truth. 

Can you relate to any of the blind men in the narratives?

“Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.”

I feel enervated after spending time with great philosophers. I am going for a walk!

As always, thanks for being GENEXT Wellness Inner Circle!


Tags

Community, Ethics101, Wellness


About the Author

Niran (Larinde) Ojomo is a Trusted Advisor, COACH, Speaker and Trainer certified with the Maxwell Leadership Team. He is the founder of Forward-Thinking Generation Next, a forward-thinking organization that challenges individuals and organizations to re-invent themselves, anticipate and adapt to the future and be culturally relevant in an increasingly complex globalized world.

Niran Ojomo

You may also like

“THE BETTER LIFE”

“THE BETTER LIFE”
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our newsletter now!