Lies are classified in very man ways. A lie is defined as a falsehood with the intent to deceive; this is what I have concluded from the many descriptions in the texts I have read. We can admit that we all lie, we all exaggerate, and we avoid difficult situations. Stephanie Ericsson said in her essay, “I once tried going a whole week without telling a lie, and it was paralyzing. I discovered that telling the truth all the time is nearly impossible” (159).
My opinion on lying is that there is a fine line between acceptable forms and hurtful forms of lying. Sometimes lying is uncalled for and unjust, but occasionally a lie is told just to pass the time, or to spare someone’s feelings. It is fair and adequate to say that the topic of lying is extremely subjective.
The most common and “most trivial” form of lying would be called “harmless lying” as described by Sissela Bok. It is most commonly known as a white lie. Ericsson and Bok can both agree that white lies are used to spare feelings; Ericsson writes, “The white lie assumes that the truth will cause more damage than a simple, harmless untruth” (160).
An example of a white lie would be to tell your friend that you like her outfit in order to save time and to spare her feelings, when really you feel the complete opposite, disregarding your true opinion. This lie is considered harmless.
White lies are usually accepted as excusable so long as they do not become excessive. Bok writes, “Such are the lies told to boast or exaggerate, or on the contrary to depreciate and understate; the many lies told or repeated in gossip…” (92), the many lies told throughout gossip give examples of white lies. The next quote that I use will help us perfectly understand why we even tell white lies.
“Why take the time to weigh the minute pros and cons in telling someone that his tie is attractive when it is an abomination, or of saying to a quest that a broken vase was worthless? Why bother even to define such insignificant...