Shades of Gray

I lied.  There, I said it.  I prevaricate.  I fabricated a tale and spoke it as if it were truth.  But it was an unintentional lie.  I had planned for it to be true.  Really.  I didn’t mean to lie.  It simply happened that way.  That’s the way things go.  The way the cookie crumbles.  The way the ball bounces.

And what was this horrible lie, you might ask?  Well, first, it was not horrible.  It was just mundane.  A mundane lie?  What is that, a mundane lie?  How can something so despicable, so ruinous to trust and faith as a lie, be mundane?!  How can it be?!

Well, I’ll tell you.  But not just yet.  First, I want to ruminate on the concept of shades of gray.  Because there ARE shades of gray, you know?  Very few things are black and white.  Every truth has its fiction, and vice versa.  Let’s consider, for example, the crime of murder.  That’s about as bad as it gets, right?  I mean, killing someone is about the worst thing a person could do.  If you’re with me on that, nod your head and let’s move on.

OK, if you’ll concede that murder is about the worst crime a person can commit, you’ll agree that torturing a person by placing burning embers in the person’s mouth is not as bad as murder.  Wait! You just agreed that murder is the worst!  So you HAVE to agree that torture is not quite as bad.  It’s bad, don’t get me wrong, but just not AS bad.  And it then follows that a one-time, non-fatal blow to the head with a hammer is not as bad a torture.  Still bad, but not AS bad.  Then it follows that a slap in the face is not as bad as a blow with a hammer.  And shoving someone in the chest is not as bad as a slap in the face.  I could go on, ad infinitum, with examples because there are just so MANY crimes a person could commit, but I don’t think I need to do that to make my point. You get my drift, right?   Shades of gray.

So, back to my point about varying degrees of “badness” involved in lying.  Would it be worse to lie about intentionally taking money out of the cash drawer in a restaurant than to  lie about accidentally taking money out of the cash drawer in a restaurant?  How about this: worse to lie about accidentally taking money out of the cash box in a restaurant or to lie about accidentally deploying a nuclear device that explodes in an uninhabited area in the Pacific?  There’s an almost endless list of possibilities in this conversation!

Anyway, I lied.  In the overall scheme of things in life, and even outside life, my lie was very, very minor.  It caused no real harm.  Except, of course, to my honor and to your confidence that you can believe what I say.  Now THAT is a pretty serious issue, though, don’t you think?  I mean, if people cannot believe what you say, your word is meaningless.  You cannot be trusted. You might as well be the demon who committed the murder we talked about earlier, mightn’t you?  So, maybe this lie wasn’t so “white,” after all.  Maybe there are no white lies. Only black lies.

Why do we call some lies “white?”  And does that necessarily imply that non-white lies are black?  Or does that assumption on my part say something sinister about me?  Well, we already know I lied, so there may be something to the assumption of sinisterness (sinistericity?  sinisterism?).  But that’s probably a conversation we should have after a glass or two of Scotch, preferably single malt Scotch.  I prefer Glenmorangie 18 Years, if you’re asking.

All right, you’ve waited long enough.  I lied when I said I’d hire a professional painter to apply my gold-laden paint.  I decided to do it myself.  And I did.  I painted over the sheetrock repairs yesterday.  But, alas, now that it’s dry, the paint does not match what’s already on the wall.  So, either I’ll paint each of the rooms in their entirety (or, at least, the entire wall in said rooms) or hire someone else to do it.  Wait, I didn’t actually say I WOULD hire someone, I said I’d PROBABLY hire someone.  So I didn’t lie, after all!


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Lies/disinformation, Painting, Philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.