White lies can be described as minor lies that are considered harmless, or beneficial, in the end. These are lies which are considered to be for greater good of a group of people. It is an intentional violation of the truth. On an individual level, some lies can be justifiable. An individual can tell a white lie on an occasion for his or her own reason. There are some white lies that are aimed at saving relationships, easing a hectic situation, or just to buy time. It is looked at as an easy way out since stretching the truth is a human instinct; it comes out naturally. If the truth were only to be told, then the world would be so much different from now.
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In my opinion, these can be innocent lies which make life better and more interesting. However, they should not harm others or break the law. As we interact with each other on a daily basis, they can absorb any friction that may be between the different personalities and moods out there. It is important to note that, most of the white lies should only stretch an interpretation of what the truth is. I think white lies help us to cushion from ourselves given the rigid optimism to each individual to lead a tailored ideal life.
The ability to lie is notably very early and universal in the process of human development. There are theories which state that individuals could employ lies so as to simulate someone else's reaction to their version of story, and also determine if a lie can be believed. It is amazing to note that children could start the practice of lying at an early age of four.
On the other hand, there are some individuals who do not condone lying in of any form. Philosophers, such as Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, condemned lying. They believed that there were no circumstances possible for an individual to lie (Augustine, 45). Moreover, people should rather endure various forms of hardship, for example torture, than tell a lie. They all argue against lying even if it is the only way to save a life. They look at lying to be a perversion of the natural part of speech, the end of which is to pass across the thoughts and feelings of the speaker. They also think that, when an individual lies, then trust will be undermined in the society.
However, it is notable that some belief systems find lying to be a justifiable act. Philosophers, like Leo Tolstoy, are quoted as describing religion and religious institutions to be the product of deception or lies for a good purpose. There are some instances in the bible where lies have been used to save people lives. However, most Christians do not condone any type of lie.
It should be noted that, the most important thing about a white lie is that, it is never directed at harming the individual being lied to. More often than not, it is supposed to benefit them by avoiding their feelings to be hurt. For example, if one is at a dinner party, the food tastes horrible, and the host asks of how the food tastes? It is logic that one would not hurt his or her feeling by answering that the food was great. This is an example of a white lie.
White lies only do trivial harm since the lie is only about something that is morally trivial. Moreover, they are not told so often because they will devalue the message being passed across. However, those who do not condone white lies argue that they weaken the general feeling that lying is wrong. The individual being lied to may be deprived of useful information. Moreover, those who lie may easily lie in the future.
So, the question that can now be asked is whether governments can be allowed to perform white lies. Recently in the United States, there have been various debates relating to national security and the war on terror. The war on terror, as brought out by the Bush administration, has been seen as a white lie. People see it as a reason to invade the Arab nations for its economic advantages. For example, when Iraq was invaded, there was no trace of the massive weapons of destruction that were perpetuated by the Bush administration. Some politicians have also been caught performing white lies, for example, Rick Crawford, who lied to Arkansas seniors on his pledge to let private accounts be for Social Security. This was viewed as just an action to get votes.
In my own opinion, I believe white lies are very important in every society. This is because there are numerous tensions that can arise where the application of a white lie is guaranteed. This will ease tensions, or any conflict that may arise. While people may say that white lies are wrong, I believe it is not. There is no moral justification for them, but there are various situations that lying can be applied. For example, I would justify a lie if it is directed at saving the life or lives of people. Instances like during the Nazi era can be a god example. There were numerous individuals who hid Jews during the Holocaust. They lied to the Nazi soldiers when they were asked of any Jew living in their homes (Augustine, 19).
Moreover, the late Pope John XXIII, as a papal nuncio, had a reputation of issuing baptismal certificates to Jews, which were fraudulent, so as to rescue them from any possible extermination. In addition to these instances, Jewish tradition would have condoned these heroic acts, despite the fact that they involved deceit. It is also notable that for one to save a life in Judaism, nearly all the commandments of Torah had to be violated.
Most of people would sympathize with lying if it is supposed to cover a terrible situation. It is acceptable if they prevent a greater harm from occurring. It can be equated to actions to justified self-defense. More often than not, such lies are told in emergencies, and there is no time to think of an alternative course of action. In addition to all these, threatening situations can have long-term impact, in which lying can be the only greater chance of survival.
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