Volkswagen Passat Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,946 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Lately there were many posts mainly discussing politics that became quite heated and polarized. The underlying theme was always lying by one or the other political spectrum. This brought me to write this post and get some opinions regarding lying.

Why is it that we are so used to lying that we accept it as normal course of business? Should not we demand that the people who we elect to power, and who make decisions with tremendous impact on our lives should be honest and straight forward?
Instead the willingness to do something regarding this situation is determined by political allegiance. If the party lying is the other party, then we will spare no effort or expense to prove the lying, but if it ours, we then manufacture miriad of excuses to keep the naked truth from coming out no matter how ridiculous or shallow the arguments are. We then are not lying, we only have our "point of view".
The situation has become so polarized that the underlying reason to "seek" the truth has nothing to do with honesty and moral/ethical reasons. The lying of politicians or political parties is however IMO only the top of the iceberg.

As I see it, problem is lot bigger and showing our own moral and ethical decay as individuals and society. Politicians are lying because the whole society, and that means you and me, are used to lying too. In our daily lives we got so used to justifying some of our actions that we lost the ability to be brutally honest. We don't recognize and then accept resopnsibility for our lies. We lost the ability to feel ashamed. We are so conditioned to win, that we gradually lost our moral compass and justification of our transgressions has become an art. We do not look in certain direction because then we would lose the ability to justify our position, so we only assume very narrow point of view to protect our position in an argument and blatantly disregard the rest of the information.
OTOH definbition of "our point of view" has become so broad, that you can drive a truck through it, and the definition of "lie" so narrow, that the conditions of proving that it was a lie are unobtainable. Just look at some of the posts in some threads discussing politics. It is always black or white. There is no shade of gray anywhere to be found. And IMO that is the problem. Did we lose the ability to recognize a lie when we see it? Do we have to protect ourselves from a lie because lie is too damaging to us? Is it this way because the consequences of lie are too catastrophic (or we think they are catastrophic)? Did we lose the ability to objectively judge instead of always having subjective point of view?

People lie, that's a fact. The spectrum and severity of lying depends on many factors, but lying is part of human behavior. So are we just pretending that it does not exist so we can feel better about ourselves? If that is so, I say that the costs to society is more damaging than if we just took lying as a fact and dealt with it appropriatelly. By denying lying, we are pushing the boundaries of what is accepted further and further and the end may not be pretty.

So is there anything that can be done to reverse this slide to moral decay that you and me can do, or is this inevitable to continue? Ethical rules of society are not set in stone, they are dynamic and constantly evolving, but I can not say that I like what I see to what they are evolving into presently. What you think?

I have faith in CB5 community, and believe that we can keep this discussion civil and on level. So let's hear it.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,653 Posts
Boris, good damn post. :thumbup:

Being brutally honest is a bitch. I big nasty hairy ugly bitch. IMHO people don't lie because it's easy per se. Rather, many people lie because they cannot come to terms with the fact that something did/said/thought was just plain wrong. It's hard to be honest with yourself and admit you f'd up or said something supremely dumb, but hey we're all human and it happens. It's what you do when it happens that counts.
 

·
Lisa Simpson
Joined
·
15,044 Posts
Exactly. It goes along with the total shattering of personal responsibility that has occurred.

Too bad for us. People are shocked when I tell them that I don't mind being at fault for things that go wrong on my watch. If I screw up, I deal with it. My biggest motivation to not make mistakes comes from not wanting to deal with the aftermath of them. But when it is my turn, I stand up and take it.

What doesn't kill me makes me stronger.

Jeff - that's why Catholics go to confession: we have to face the music and admit we were wrong. Guilt is a blessing! :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,095 Posts
there's no need to see things in such a black/white view.

there isn't really 'lying' and 'not lying'. in almost all situations in life, it falls somewhere in the gray (more than zero and less than 100). very very rarely is there a hit to zero or 100.

if you can make that leap, then you can then move on to grade the severity of the lie. what effect does it have, what will it cost, who will it benefit, etc.

life is the art of compromise. you can easily find cases where its overall, more beneficial for a lie to occur. "do these jeans make my butt look fat?" is one such familiar example ;) one won't live long if one answers that question in a 100% honest fashion, every time its asked. riiiiight??

absolutism is a form of fundamentalism. thinking things MUST fall into 'either/or' catagories, in all cases, is a very unevolved way of thinking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,541 Posts
Evrything is a point of view. Everything is a lie. This is esoteric truth. that's a lie too. So what are we to do? There is no absolute in judging what a lie is. We can say a lie is 'a willful statement in contradiction to perceived and conscenual reality'. As linux-works says. A lie can have shades of gray as in contrast can the truth. It must! All that history is, is the regurgitation of events as we perceive them. That's the kicker.. as we perceive them... We unfortunately are not able to relate an event in it's unbiased totality. We are mere human. So what to do. We are to employ all scientific means at our disposal to relate events as honestly.. that is without WILLFUL distortion.. as possible. The truth is the tale distilled from the efforts of inumerable self made historians and those in the employ of this pursuit in specific.

So wahts a point of view? it is everything. The truth is a point of view. My truth may be merely a lie to you as I have perceived events disimilarly. This demands that there is no truth. This demands that what I just typed is a lie and so on.

The key here is the word WILLFUL. Even accidental embellishment is a fallacy but we may not know about it.. and it becomes reality or truth.

Life is weird...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
linux-works said:
"do these jeans make my butt look fat?" is one such familiar example ;) one won't live long if one answers that question in a 100% honest fashion, every time its asked. riiiiight??
Say hello to my ex-wife this question was posed to me one too many times and I gave her the truth... truns out she couldn't handle the truth... she was fat in those jeans.

I like what has been said here but keep in mind many lies are told to keep the people happy and feel secure. If we demand the truth from our elected leaders with no regard for the consiquenses there is going to be hell to pay after the mass suisides. Some things are better left a lie. But those lies should be left to the politicians not the news media. The media shouldn't lie but does all the time. Who polices the media? What they leave out of stories should be considered a lie as well. Like that guy who was taken in for questioning about the Olimpic park bombing in Atlanta. ABC said he did it. Every one else said he was being questioned and ABC got sued for lible. Like everyone said a lie is subjective and should be trated as such. What is one mans lie is anothers truth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,946 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
First of all, my intent was not to politicize this discussion. I want opinions from all spectrum of political or fundamental belief.

Point of my post was that I see the present situation as quite disturbing because the boundaries of what constitute and is "accepted" as truth are being tremendously stretched. I believe that every time somebody in position of high visibility gets away with proverbial murder, the boundaries and acceptance are being moved further out, and the willingness to accept lies as truth is strenghtened. People just say, well there would be hell to pay if we try to do something about it so we just sink deeper and deeper into this ethical morass.

My question is. How did we get here? I mean we have excuse for everything, we tend to blame everything on somebody else only to defend our position, we are trying to nurse everybody and eliminate pain and suffering from life. When it's going to stop, what is the demarcation line of our tolerance? Are we that numbed by the amount of lies that are being presented to us daily that we've lost the capability to stop and recognize when lie is fed to us? Are we so much set in our beliefs that we are incapable of objective evaluation? Or is it just that usually the impact of a lie of somebody in high visibility does not have any direct impact on us, so we just make a smart comment and move on. Does what is going on in the judicial system have any role in this skewing of truth, and I mean in all levels of justice system starting in city courts and ending with the Supreme Court?

Now I know that press and AV media are feeding us digestible fare, that is mostly sanitized for easy digestion, but did we lose the zest for truth and the skills to finally arrive at truth by our own investigation and our judgement? Or is that we are nowadays so lazy, that any kind of effort we would have to put forth is too much? Is it lethargy what is underlaying? Do we feel that as individuals we have no power to change it? Is life so complex these days that we do not have either the time, nor the energy to do something? I don't know, what do you think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
Good post, Boris.

I don't know if the IRS publishes these numbers: total income declared by charitable organizations vs total charitable contributions declared by taxpayers. It will be interesting to find out the size of this gap, and if it has grown over the years.

The desire for personal gain vs the fear of punishment if caught -- IMO these are the factors that affect one's choice to lie or tell the truth.
 

·
Lisa Simpson
Joined
·
15,044 Posts
Boris, you have immigrant phenomenon. I have it, but to a lesser degree as I am already US born.

My in-laws (12th generation on both sides) expect to be spoon-fed everything in the world. They blindly accept everything they are told, and somehow don't seem to know anything at the same time. They are very nice people who love my sons dearly, but completely clueless and proud ouf it.

The freedoms we have here are mind-numbing. Most 2gen and on Americans can't imagine a time when our freedoms were anything more than to be taken for granted. Willful deception becomes part of a calculated goal to "get what is mine". I enjoy plaguing the IRS with as many deductions as I can, but I won't willfully deceive to pay less tax.

We have lost the collective freedom protecting mindset - now it is a personal freedom mindset. I am all for personal freedoms, but I also recognize that collective freedom is what makes personal freedom possible. The decline of personal morals will lead to loss of collective freedom one day. :(
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,051 Posts
linux-works said:
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=494&ncid=762&e=8&u=/ap/20040419/ap_en_tv/penn___teller

slightly on-topic, about truth and lying (and how its often just a slight-of-hand).
:roll:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,378 Posts
I think there is an amazing tendency for people to perceive lies as "truth" when it supports their own agenda.

To degree this happens to all of us, but some seem much more susceptible to it, and it's generally those that regard their leaders as their mommies. :roll:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,541 Posts
A simple question; Is this statement true? "The sun is shining" What defines it's veracity if true? Does the statement require qualification? Does it require knowledge of the perception of the person making the statement? Does it matter?

This is one of my favorite topics of philisophical inquiry. Talk about a great thread! Nice Boris :thumbup:
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,051 Posts
This is a very nice thread, now if it would just stay on topic and without insults to people that think different than the poster does.


Is puffing lying? Is it a lie when a salesman puufs up his product to make it more appealing? I, and case law too, feel puffing is not truly a lie. People expect a salesman to put his product in the best light. His motives are clear as are the buyers to get the product that best fits his needs and price. Does anyone here regard puffery as unethical?

Dictionary.com said:
puff·er·y n.
Flattering, often exaggerated praise and publicity, especially when used for promotional purposes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,541 Posts
If puffery is not a statement that contrasts reality as a WILLFUL distortion than I would say it is not a lie. Should politicans sell ideas to us? I guess that's the real question. We know that they do but should they? Should truth not be self evident and our actions in regard to truth be judicious fair and ethical? Our leaders sell us social engineering projects (Bush hetero marriage endorsement for example to the tune of 1.5 billion) and geo-politcal power plays. Should what they propose to us require no puffery?
If their goal and aim is to help us I would think that puffery wouldn't be needed. So when it used it begs the question. What are they really selling us?

If the truth needs to be manipulated and distorted to convince us to act as desired we are in big trouble... I tell you people we are in big trouble. Willful distortion and 'puffery' are the tools of the political trade.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
Great topic, Boris. It's a topic I've given some thought to over the past couple of years. As AA mentioned, I think a great deal of it can be contributed to individuals putting their own desire for gain (financial or otherwise) above ethics. The questions are, quite obviously, when, why, and how did this change? People in our society have always acted in self-interest to a degree - economic theory will back that up, but to what extent has that changed?

An interesting thing would be to see some survey data on this subject. When I read your post, it occurred to me that most people reading it will think something like "it's a shame, the behavior of all these other people." I bet the results would be similar to asking people if they think they are a good driver. Most people think they are, but everyone else is getting much worse. That's just my guess. I bet that self-rightiousness has risen in proportion to a decline in personal responsibility.

One thing that I think is a contributor to this is the relationship that people have with businesses they deal with. There are many things that consumers have to be very vigliant about. For example, telephone service in hotel rooms. Anyone who travels frequently knows they are set up to screw people who don't read the rules first. Don't use a calling card? Expect to pay 1000% more than you'd pay at home. Stay on your computer for more than an hour? Oh, we start charging by the minute after that. Now there's nothing illegal about any of this, but let's face it, it's meant to take advantage of people who might not know better. How about credit card companies making policies that state that checks received after 10AM count as the next day, enabling them to hit people with $30 late fees? Corporate officers encouraging employees to buy stock when they know it's tanking? (ok, that one is probably not legal, but it certainly happens) All of these things are designed to increase profits (at least short-term)for the businesses, which is what they are tasked to do, but they have to have an affect on consumers. People see others or themselves as cheated by this behavior, so perhaps they become desensitized to it. Or perhaps I have it backwards? This is backlash to customers taking advantage of generous return policies? Just some food for thought. Please don't think I'm saying this is the only cause, or even a big one. It just happens to be the one I've been thinking about lately so I thought I'd share it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,200 Posts
Ah Boris, what a great topic! I can't resist. I have to bite (philosophy major). :lol:

Okay, first of all, when discussing things like truth, its first necessary to talk about context dependence Much of what we say is dependent upon the context in which we say it. If this weren't true, then there would be no basis for determining truth. For example, one of my favorites is the word "time". You can truthfully say that time is measurable, i.e. the amount of time between 1:30 and 2:30 is one hour. Hence, time is measurable. But, you can also say that time is the sum of the Past, the Present, and the Future. Since the Past, the Present, and the Future aren't measurable, time isn't measurable. So now we have a logical contradiction. Fun, huh? The only way out is to understand the context in which these statements are made. The simple answer is that time means many many different things. Okay, so much for context.

Next, absolute truth vs situational truth. This is a big subject. absolute truth falls into the realm of an Ideal, which by definition means its not empirically demonstrable. Nevertheless, many of us believe in absolute truth, and use this belief as the basis for how we behave.

I have a rule of thumb where truth is concerned. Again, it has to do with something I learned in College. It went like this: There are three aspects of "the self". There is the Objective self, i.e., the self that IS. There is the Subjective self, which is the self that we perceive ourselves to be. Lastly, there is the self that is perceived by "the other". This simply means how others perceive us. Anyway, this rule of thumb simply states that if one wishes to pursue "wholeness" or more importantly, "sanity", then one must strive to make these three aspects of the self ONE SELF. Truthfullness, or the pursuit of truthfulness, is then, the pursuit of sanity and peace within oneself.

That's it! Simple enough so that even a simpleton like me can understand it.

Regards,

Kenny
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,051 Posts
Spirare said:
If puffery is not a statement that contrasts reality as a WILLFUL distortion than I would say it is not a lie. Should politicans sell ideas to us? I guess that's the real question. We know that they do but should they? Should truth not be self evident and our actions in regard to truth be judicious fair and ethical? Our leaders sell us social engineering projects (Bush hetero marriage endorsement for example to the tune of 1.5 billion) and geo-politcal power plays. Should what they propose to us require no puffery?
If their goal and aim is to help us I would think that puffery wouldn't be needed. So when it used it begs the question. What are they really selling us?

If the truth needs to be manipulated and distorted to convince us to act as desired we are in big trouble... I tell you people we are in big trouble. Willful distortion and 'puffery' are the tools of the political trade.
I'm not so sure I agree. Politicians are elected representatives who aren't expected to follow the whims of their electorate all the time. Otherwise we would be a true democracy rather then a representational one. The electorate is not always educated enough to understand issues. I can see were puffery would be beneficial under these circumstances. Most people don't even have a basic understanding of statistics. Puffery is almost mandatory when using statistics to validate points to the general public, yet it's not used amongst professional organizations. Media use puffery all the time. It's their way of attracting viewers.
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
About this Discussion
27 Replies
12 Participants
linux-works
Volkswagen Passat Forum
Passatworld is a forum dedicated to Volkswagen Passat enthusiasts to discuss mods, Quattro, Turbo Diesel, reviews and more!
Full Forum Listing
Top