Saturday, March 23, 2013

"The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

Have you noticed how difficult it can be to get that precise grain of truth from some people? Your questions are either deflected, ignored, or replied to in one or more of four duplicitous ways. Here are some examples of those disingenuous methods of not telling the pure truth.

1.   Partial truth: Mitch says: "I couldn't call you last night because Jimmy came over and bent my ear with his troubles with Selena." 

It is true that Jimmy went to Mitch's house, but Mitch doesn't add that Jimmy only stayed for only 45 minutes, after which time Christi came over in her new pink sweater and they spent hours flirting with each other. Mitch has told only part of the truth of what happened last night. How many times has this happened to you?

2.    The whole truth, but with a lie slipped in: Linda tells Mitch: "I couldn't call you last night because Frank, my pilates trainer, came over for a missed session. Frank is a good instructor but he's such a bore, always talking about his bicycle collection."

It is true that Frank the pilates trainer went to Linda's house, but not at all true that he is a bore that talks about his bicycles. In fact, there wasn't much talking going on between the two of them, although there was a lot of steam. How many of you have heard the truth but been falsely reassured by a lie slipped in to out-balance the truth?

3.    And of course, the bald-faced, flat out lie. Selena tells Jimmy: "I didn't call you last night because my bathroom plumbing backed up."

And while this is a blatant lie, a lot of people get away with telling them. Have you recently believed a blatant, bald-faced lie?
And in conclusion, this has been about the Aristotelian definition of the truth: The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This definition is used in U.S. courts and it is worth remembering, because whereas there are many people who are truth tellers, there are just as many who are not. 

4.    Oh, I did say that there was a fourth way of lying, and that is the truth that comes too late — the conveniently postponed truth. The truth that comes the next morning but should have come the night before: "Uh, Amy, I should have told you.... I'm married." How many times have you been deprived of a timely truth?


1 comment:

HermanTurnip said...

Sounds suspiciously like those in the political elite who can't seem to be able to answer a simple question.

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