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When we tell a lie

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  • When we tell a lie

    When we tell a lie…

    Human beings have learnt a special art not found in the animal kingdom—The Art of telling Lies! It is one of the greatest conquests of the human consciousness. To tell a lie involves these two things; the speaker knows that what he says is not true; all the same he wants the listener to believe it to be true.

    Most children begin to lie when are two or three years old. A simple denial with a mono syllable “no” is the first lie they learn to tell. But the children betray themselves by laughing nervously, when they tell a lie.

    Three or four year old children place a hand in front of their mouth while telling a lie. The mouth speaks a lie and it should be hidden from the others. Five year old’s are smarter and don’t cover their mouths. But they look down or look away and avoid eye contacts. By the time the child is 8 years old, he would have become a cool and confident liar!

    Even adults use body language while telling a lie. They look to the left or to the right of their feet. False facial expressions are forced and asymmetrical while natural expressions are symmetrical and pleasant. In fact facial expressions are as reliable as the lie-detectors.

    Lie detectors measure a number of physical indicators of stress like blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration, skin conductivity etc. Random questions are put to the suspect and the stress level generated in each, is recorded. A skilled interpreter can read the polygraphs. But a skilled liar can cheat the lie detector by not feeling stressed while lying.

    Some types of lies are not venomous or damaging. “Jocose Lies” are told in good humor and wit and are enjoyed by the listeners. “White Lies” offer some benefits to both the liar and the listener. They are harmless lies, told to avoid harmful and devastating truths.

    A “Noble Lie” may cause unrest if it were discovered. It is the “Official lie” told by the government, in order to maintain law and order, during a crisis. It helps the elite to remain in power–in spite of the existing crisis.

    The main advantage of not telling a lie is that we don’t have to remember what we had told and to whom, where and when!

    Visalakshi Ramani