I should make this clear, before we go any further that the act of lying, which we will be discussing here, is not an act of making fraudulent lies, lying about facts, lying to back stab etc, all those big Shakespearean lies are excluded here, with due respect. The lies in question are humble, harmless, non-abrasive and innocent(?). Its a thin line, but to proceed any further, you should know the basic difference. For example, to lie to your smoke-buddy because you don't want him to accompany you to the smoking area. There can be two hidden reasons, one is - you have two cigarettes and you want to smoke both, second is you want to smoke alone today. The second one is perfectly justified, but not the first one. One more example, you don't want to discuss a new film with a friend to avoid any unnecessary tension, one reason might be that you know that s/he has very different taste, the second reason might be that you feel s/he has no taste at all. To me, both the reasons are justified. The thicker the friendship, the more they are justified, and in case of love interests, it immoral and even illegal not to lie.
I generally consider myself a truthful person, but I know I have lied more than anybody else I know, with more perfection and in the things that matter. If someone asks me, have you seen/read 'Da Vinci Code', I have developed a unique power to say yes with a blank dummy face and a confident half-smile that doesn't convey a thing but it has the capacity to stop any more discussion on 'Da Vinci Code' not only then but in future too. The complex facial expression is a victorious mixture of I-am-not-scared-a-bit, of-course-we-can-discuss, we-know-we-will-agree, I-know-what-you-know and whats-the-use-then/life-is-beautiful. The whole point is to miss the point of 'Da Vinci Code', the point that the other person wants to discuss for few more minutes. Art of lying helps us leap in time and space, it can be applied to evade, elude, to escape and jump over fences, to minimize unpleasant social times and spaces. It helps in mandatory socializing even if you have an anti-social bent of mind. Prompt lies aid to quickly 'snail in' with smile, the only refuge of confused modern man.
I vividly remember, in the late night bout of guilt reduction and being candid, I admitted to a good friend of mine about my lying powers and my liberal views about it. He felt extremely betrayed and instantaneously lost faith in me, and asked me, have I ever read 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad'. It was a horrible moment with such distrust in the room. I still lament that night. Its like even little hope has deserted me. I have heard people saying that lying is a only hope for a married man. That night, I realized that even for a lonely bachelor, its quite a thing. Also, that night I learned not to confess such things to anyone. They will not understand. Mixing two moralities always result in guilt and useless justifications.
After that night, the seed of guilt was set in my conscience. He accused me of snobbery and arrogance, which due to the condition I was in, I duly accepted. Every time my phone rang and I spoke of being busy in a meeting, my heart quivered and the clear soul of my late-night ex-friend hovered up in perfect circles. I almost lost my innocence. In an honest effort not to lie, I became silent. When you don't speak, your mind works faster and its good enough to kill a person of lower intellect like me. Those days, when asked about 'The Fountainhead', I used to wish desperately I could lie with blank face that I have read it, that could close the discussion without fuss. But not... 'Ayn Rand' yells aloud "Money is the barometer of a society's virtue" What pain and agony !
It took me months to recover from it. The breakthrough came when I decided not to lie, pick all the calls and discuss things to death. I realized that to be a truthful person in the worldly sense, one should not lie plainly but try to give reasons and argue i.e. simply talk and eventually turn more bitter. But the problem faced by people of limited intellect is quite a dilemma. They have to eventually lie. Its also less hurtful to both the parties. Also, more interestingly, lies spoken in the beginning are more terse and simple, than the meandering, complex lie that are spoken in the end, out of frustration and urgent need of self-vindication. So I understood the wisdom of one more cliché, the sooner, the better.
So, the question remains, why I lie, other than the shut-yourself-up to shut-the-world-out explanation. I know I discuss mundane things for hours but resort to lying if someone discuss their kids or car with unwarranted seriousness. I think, lying titillates. I lie because I have a thinking inertia. I don't want to think for things, I don't care, except in satirical terms. Also, lying gives rest to the lobes, especially to the frontal one, and a little quality recreation to senses too. It gives a carefree, childish pleasure which is unknown to the over-rational, civilized world. Lying gives a dual delight of a little job accomplished and a little time salvaged. Even for things I like, I hate juvenile enthusiasm (I myself show it often though). I hate if someone says 'Kurosawa-saan is sooo great'. Inattentive, inexperienced, popular fan-boyish truths are any day more dangerous than lies. I think, everyone should pass a 'Fat Girl' or 'Weekend' or 'Naked Lunch' or 'Hour of the Wolf' test first, before saying so. My better self is extremely snobbish about truths. When there are so less well-meant, non-hurting truths, one has to fall back on harmless lies to live in peace.