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Should we lie to people for the greater good?


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On 12/5/2020 at 12:58 PM, VenusPrincess said:

If you believed something was true, but also knew that others would be demoralized and angry at you for sharing that truth, should you stay quiet or lie about it instead?

Depend on the "something", my relationship with the person or persons I might tell it to and the affect of that truth on  their knowing it or not knowing it. I'm not always in position to judge the truth value of a datum that's come my way; nor am I confident of judging accurately the general good. 

Sometimes people are upset when told something they really need to know (Dad, I'm gay.) and later come to terms with far more easily than if they had been kept in the dark. Sometimes, OTOH, potentially upsetting knowledge is better withheld. (The grandfather you idolized thought you were a twit.) Some things that one might inadvertently discover are not in one's province to divulge. (Your big sister is really your mother.)  Sometimes they already know and being told that others know, too, only makes it more painful. Sometimes they suspect and are seeking the truth in their way, in their own time. Sometimes telling a secret arms the other person against diasappointment; at other times, blurting merely spoils a surprise

I'm not married to Truth, a truth or the truth: I have some respect for each of them, but no special reverence.  Communication has a purpose involving one or more other sentient being(s):  to educate, inform, warn, negotiate, solicit, assess, correct, convince, beguile, rebuke, control; to elicit information from them, to compare their views with mine, to collaborate on a project or form a plan, to share an experience or emotion, to entertain or amuse them, or simply to hold their attention.

This means that I don't have to tell everybody everything I know; don't have to tell anyone everything I know - just the bits that serve a particular purpose at a given time. As for opinions, I have so many, on so many subjects, attempting to share them all might well place me in jeopardy. That's not entirely facetious: in today's social climate, you never can anticipate how disgreement will be expressed.

Edited by Peterkin
left out words
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