Why do we Lie?

What is a lie?

Someone acting to create a false belief in their victim.

Lie is something that is evolutionarily hardwired in our brains. Humans can lie more efficiently because we can verbalize our lies, Other animals lie too, for example, Once Koko the gorilla destroyed her sink then blamed it on her cat. Lying is something we all do whenever the situation arises and it’s good that we have the capability to lie otherwise we have to be honest all the time which sounds great but has severe consequences.

Types of Lying:

Lies to protect ourselves:

Lie is fundamentally a defense mechanism. When you don’t want to make someone angry at you for a mistake you have made the best escape plan is to lie so most people in their teenage do that to get away with things and we have all been there.

Lies to promote ourselves:

We lie on a daily basis about everything the might affect our ranking in the social hierarchy, We lie to elevate our ranking in the social regime. And we don’t even recognize how often we do it. Now virtually we can promote whatever we want people to think about us,
We lie about movies we haven’t seen, the literature we haven’t read, and places we haven’t visited just to be a part of the conversation.

Lies to impact others:

Lies that save or kick our friend’s asses are considered in this category, We lie to save others from conflict or promote conflict between other people, the motivation of why you would lie might vary according to the person you are affecting with your lie.

Lies to be polite (Pro-Social Behaviour):

We can hurt someone if we are too honest. So even if your friend’s dress doesn’t look good on her at a party, you still say “you look nice”. Sometimes lying is good for you as well as other people. Like giving childish answers to a small child about his mature questions is quite reasonable although it’s a lie but done for a good cause it’s justified.

Lying: An Emotional Strain

Sometimes we get away with lying but otherwise, we have to solve the complexity that we have created by lying to ourselves or to others. When one lie is connected to many other things we have to justify that lie for every single one of them. So that the whole thing looks perfectly aligned with the lie. It takes a lot of brainpower to take calculated risks in lying, you can’t lie completely or be completely honest, it should have a perfect mix of lie and truth to make people believe you.

One of the advantages of telling the truth is that you don’t have to remember what you said.

Mark Twain

People who are agreeable tend to lie more often because they can’t handle conflict with other people.

We lie every day to simple questions like
“How was your day?”
“How are you?”
“How was work/school today?”

It may be because we aren’t sure of the answers either, or we are just trying to protect our image in the social group or in family and not bother people to worry about us unnecessarily.

Pathological liars

These are people who habitually lie, manipulate and cheat other people for their benefits. They are very good at self-deception, they say conflicting statements inside their minds and believe in one statement, and completely ignore the other. Surprisingly these people have 25% more white matter in their brain than normal people (White matter is for processing in the brain and connecting neurons). But they also have 14% less grey matter which does critical thinking. So Pathological liars can find a way to cover up their lies but they will fail to justify or defend them with logic and reasoning.

When you lie, you can’t trust yourself.

Jordon B Peterson

Research Material:

Science of Lying

Personality and it’s Transformations

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

The Value of Lying

Also Read – Why do we have Religions and Gods

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