As it was in Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and Othello, so it is in life. Most forms of private vice and public evil are kindled and sustained by lies. Acts of adultery and other personal betrayals, financial fraud, government corruption--even murder and genocide--generally require an additional moral defect: a willingness to lie.
In Lying, best-selling author and neuroscientist Sam Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie. He focuses on "white" lies--those lies we tell for the purpose of sparing people discomfort--for these are the lies that most often tempt us. And they tend to be the only lies that good people tell while imagining that they are being good in the process.
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While a bit speculative in the severity of deceitful behavior being the predominant cause of social ills, the premise of merely being honest as a cure for most of human suffering insightfully rings a moral truth. In being truthful, or avoiding the temptation to lie, we open up the path to the intrinsic good of life, presenting the world as it is to others rather than how we would sometimes prefer to present it.