forms of Truth
Oct 06, 1993 07:12 AM
One virtue that is not given due respect, even in theosophical circles,
is truthfullness, the giving personal expression to the ideal of Truth.
Television and popular literature show numberless examples of people
living their lives without regard for Truth, and few examples of people
with a genuine love of Truth.
Lies and deception are resorted to in a routine manner. We are taught
to evade, to mislead, to deceive, as a defense against the probing
questions of other people. This is wrong, but it is done all the time.
Although there are many areas of live where civilized behavior
prevails, it is missing in the area of personal communication. The
right to keep silent, to not answer a question, to only say what one
chooses, is totally ignored.
If someone asks you a question and you say you don't want to answer it,
you can expect to be badgered with questions seeking clues until the
other person has his answer, or worse, you might expect the other person
to bully you, demanding that you answer his question, that you tell him
what you know.
It is not right to resort to deception in order to avoid the probing
questions of another. The right to silence should be stood up for. You
should clearly make a statement that the other person's demand is wrong.
You have said that you won't talk about something and should stand by
We all know about and recognize a *blatent lie* as wrong. Words that are
so clearly untrue as to be beyond all possible misunderstanding are
always objectionable! "The moon is green," "I have six fingers," or
"spoiled milk is good to drink" are all examples where there is no
question about the untruth of the statement.
The second degree of untruthfullness, though, is practiced in a almost
routine fashion. Except in legal matters, where it is called fraud, it
is generally denied, in peoples' minds as they practice it, as being a
form of lying. I would call it *plausible deniability*, where one makes
a deliberate choice of words to mislead the other person, but at the
same time so carefully chooses the words that there is plausible
interpretation that could be made of the words that one really said
the truth but was only misunderstood!
This is lying, the motivation and intent was clearly to communicate
an untruth, but a cowardly form of lying, since one is at the same time
picking words that allow one at a later date, if confronted about the
lie, to deny it, to lie about having lied.
Plausible deniability is in accord with a prevalent attitude that if
you can get away with something, that you didn't really do it, because
it cannot be *proved*, so you really didn't do anything wrong. This is
wrong, because regardless of the external proof of an action, you have
changed yourself and the world for the worse, and bear the karmic
The third degree of untruthfullness is more subtle, and harder to
describe. It might be called *false consent*, where you mislead by your
silence. You know that the other person has a wrong idea as you hear him
talk. You do not say anything. By your silence, you appear to agree.
The other is mislead into thinking that you agree with what he said.
You *know* the other is wrong, but *choose* to let the other think that
you agree when you do not.
Considering how many ways we can be untruthful, how do we live our
lives in a functional manner and reamin faithful to Truth? Certainly
not by telling blatent lies. We should avoid the other forms of deceit
as well. What is needed is that we remain plainly truthful, open and
simple in what we say, not ever seeking to mislead, but always saying
what we believe or keeping our mouths shut! We must boldly stand up for
our right to remain silent and not answer questions when it is not
right to do so, and not take the easy way out and choose to trick or
mislead other people. Picture how a totally pure-at-heart Saint would
behave, someone with the innocence of pure spirituality combined with
a brilliant mind. Then be that way.
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