Types of Deception
408 words (1.2 double-spaced pages)
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In the article, To Do the Right Thing, Harriet Lerner writes and informs the reader about the different views and different forms of deception. I never believed or agreed with lying, however when I read this article my outlook on deception changed. Lerner discussed many different forms of lying, and how some are acceptable and some are not. I agree with the fact that there are different levels of deception and some are a lot worse than others. People lie for different reasons. Some lie for love, some for revenge and others for no reason at all. However, I also believe that no matter how you tweak it, a lie is a lie.
Lerner discusses "deliberately making untrue statements." This is the worst form of deception and the most unacceptable. When telling this type of lie, you are not fibbing or distorting the truth, you are blatantly giving false information. You are blatantly lying. Lerner uses the Anita Hill case as an example and how, Hill and Mr. Clarence Thomas told two completely different stories under oath. Therefore, one of them was deliberately making untrue statements. This form of lie is completely unacceptable.
On the other hand, not all deliberate lies are as extreme as in the Anita Hill case. Lerner writes about how one may lie to protect. I feel that this can be acceptable. If telling someone the truth could hurt them, distorting the truth could be the right thing to do. Honorable deception is lying to protect. One may want to protect someone's reputation, feelings or even to protect a relationship Some psychologists use the term "constructive lies" to refer to lying that strengthens relationships or lying out of an act of love. Although it is a form of deliberately lying, I feel that lying out of love or lying to protect is acceptable.
The second form of deception that Lerner informs us of is choosing not to reveal all unless asked directly. This is avoiding having to tell the truth, which Lerner believes is deception. Lerner argues that silence is a lie. She believes that by not saying anything and keeping the truth to yourself, you are lying. She has had her own past experiences where she has kept silence, and she felt guilty after. I disagree and feel that in order to lie you have to deliberately give false information. Keeping the truth to yourself is wrong in a way, but it is not deception.
Lastly, Lerner writes about not inquiring after the truth. This is also denial, when someone doesn't want to know the truth. Many people live in denial. They don't know the truth but in a sense they don't want to know. They are happy the way they are and are in a sense living a lie. I think that if someone wants to live like that, then that it perfectly fine. It is a form of deception, but it is one that people do to themselves, so I think that it is acceptable.
In conclusion, I agree with Lerner for the most part. Deception comes in many forms, some I find tolerable, others not. I think that it is alright to lie to protect, or to distort the truth for love. I also find it acceptable to keep the truth to yourself. However, in other cases when one lies only to protect themselves, or in an act of revenge or hatred, I feel that is unacceptable.
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