The Institute of Lying










Recently, during the Republican Convention, Paul Ryan made the customary speech of an accepting Vice Presidential candidate of GOP. Apparently it was a rousing speech and the Republican faithful got up and applauded frequently. It all went down very well, with lots of back-slapping and since the convention, even a doyen of anti-conservatism has said that he thinks Romney-Paul will win. I am speaking of none other than Michael Moore, who seems to carry the burden of American conscience.

Yet, Republican delegates came out after Paul’s speech and said ‘he was lying’. Post the speech, even the press said he was lying, the internet reports said as much, as did the bloggers and so am I telling you, “he was lying”. Now look at the polls and Romney-Paul look the favourites to win the elections, being 4 points ahead and with more money to spend!

Perturbed! Disturbed!  Democracy? Value system? Good, bad, evil? This world has changed. It seems it is now about scoring points, creating perceptions and not about right or wrong. Somewhere, someplace in the vast confines of this dimension, Iblis must be roaring his head off.

So now imagine my distress when head on heels of this report, I come across a blog by a well known personality, who interviewed the leader of the ‘Institute of Lying’. Yes you beauty! The Institute of Lying!!  We hope no institute of this kind exists, but just the whole interview made me boil over…it did not come across as a satire at all, because it seemed so real… In this interview by Barry Levinson, the so called head describes how Truth is really old fashioned, one dimensional and does not allow for creativity. Lying on the other hand is creative – naturally – and allows for many versions, is successful and adds different dimensions to life. So there I was very unhappy, but then realised that the satire was portraying an unfortunate reality on the ground.

This was like a bolt of lightning and therefore this blog.

I have seen this world move…people my age are probably unique in all the ages of written history. In a 50 year period they have gone from mainly ‘gadha garis’ to nano technology. We have more or less adjusted to that….but how do you adjust to this one. The value system is so upside down, that it is bewildering. The world today is pragmatic and accepts lying as a means to an end. Forever, the press is making allegations with no basis of proof. The politicians are doing the same to each other and the con-artists are prospering. It is also easy to get on the net and lie about people.

My own experience in work life is that in the last decade, the numbers of people who lie and the frequency have increased – this is in different countries and cultures, so is not localized. We have gone from the so-called white lie, “Tell the caller, X is busy”, to now using lying as a legitimate tool. I have come across senior people, who would lie in a negotiation, or to obtain a promotion. Executives blame others for errors to take pressure off themselves. Generally these numbers are an ever increasing minority and therefore something to worry about for the future.

So why is this happening?  Are we not being taught at home and in school not to lie? The people lying are well educated and generally rich people, so security in Maslow’s terms is not an aspect either. Compare that to the image of the British nobility stiff upper lip non-lying values of a century ago.  I think we are suffering from the MAD magazine White sheep/Black sheep syndrome. We started with one black sheep and 99 white sheep, soon enough the trends and weight and flows of numbers have forced change and today there are 99 black sheep and one white sheep.

So here and now, I would like to do my duty and tell people why it’s wrong to lie. Maybe we can start a non-lying movement. An Institute of Truth.

Firstly religious verdict. The Prophet Muhammad (saw) in a Hadith in Sahih Bukhari describes the characteristics of a Munafiq.

1.    When given a trust he betrays it.
2.    When he speaks he lies
3.    When he promises he breaks it
4.    When he argues he is unjust

Several times in the Qur’an, such as in Sura 3, the munafiqoon are described as saying with their lips what is not in their hearts – ie lying.

So all this lying signifies that the liar is a munafiq. No light matter, as people would remember Allah’s instruction in the Quran is that a funeral prayer should not be offered on a munafiq. Very serious business indeed!

Since in today’s world it is fashionable to not take the religious argument, I just want to convey the simple logic of why lying would be bad. Once one has lied, the normal barriers of good have been breached. The dyke is breached and we can go ahead and let the floods take over. Where is the next hurdle? If I can lie successfully, then what stops me committing any wrong and lying about it? That is the dangerous mentality which prevails inside the mind. I am now on the skids to being Machiavelli.

On the receiving end, a person who has lied will get caught sooner or later. The same mentality applies then. If someone is lying to me, why should I trust him/her about anything. There have been people who have lied to me in my career and I can tell you, it is impossible to trust them again. You might work with them, but trust them, no. Not a good place to be at all for anyone?

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