I'm a little early tonight, but we're going to watch a movie and I won't have time to get online again before my coach turns back into a pumpkin. Hah.
One of my fellow Sparklers has a couple of 'off-Spark' blogsites she posts to - she usually puts the links in the WeBlog forum. Since Carley invites others to view her blog, I don't think she'll mind my posting the link:
Her discussion has been on my mind most of the day. I will repost here what I said in response to it - but I'm still thinking about what she said, so you know it's working on me, lol.
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I think I've probably quoted this here before; I quote it often, and think it a lot: Abraham Lincoln once said 'When I do good, I feel good; and when I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion.'
'Kindness' is my wellspring of morality. Is doing such-and-such kind, or will it result in harm of one sort or another? If I say thus-and-so, is my motivation kindness? or hurt?
After that, I don't need to label or categorize. A lie, in its most basic form, is an untruth perpetrated for ill-gotten gains - stealing and cheating, of whatever type they may be.
Courtesy and politeness are often in themselves 'lies,' but these untruths are only used in an effort to comfort, to be pleasant, to help someone, to instill warmth and cheer.
I say 'How do you do?' when I meet someone. I may never have met them and don't genuinely care how they're 'doing'; nor do I expect chapter-and-verse of their latest aches and pains. But I know that couched in the standard phrase is a civil 'Hello! I'm pleased to meet you and perhaps get to know you better.'
Is it a lie?
When someone has died, whether I know the family well or not, I will offer my condolences and tell them I'm sorry for their loss... and I am, up to a point. But it's a societal tradition, to sympathize with someone bereaved. I don't generally have the emotional connection that these phrases of comfort may imply.
Is it a lie?
If a friend has bought a new suit and had her hair done in preparation for a job interview, and the day before models the outfit and asks 'What d'you think? How do I look?' - is she asking for a critique? Or is she seeking a bit of bolstering for her self-confidence in light of what can be a nerve-wracking situation?
She's committed - the haircut is what it is, the suit has been paid for and tags were removed... Her appointment is at 10 AM the next day. There's no turning back. I say 'You look sensational! You'll knock 'em out, hon!'
Is it a lie?
My motivation isn't to see her blow the interview so *I* can get that job, or to keep her somehow unemployed. My motivation is to stoke her enthusiasm, her confidence, her self-assurance, so she feels and looks her best. My words have been generated by kindness.
So no, I don't categorize statements and responses and comments according to whether or not they may be lies of greater or lesser degrees. I try to look beyond that to find my own motivation, and to hone my instincts for reaching out to others and being as kind as possible.
Every civilization, every religion, every society, has some version of The Golden Rule. If what we did unto others stemmed from sincere efforts to be kind, the world would be a better place. IMHO
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I think I will stand by what I've written, but... like the grain of sand that irritates the oyster until it produces a pearl, so Carley's blog keeps coming back to me. Dunno that my thinking will produce any pearls ('pearl of wisdom' - as if I would produce any!) but I love it when someone's thoughts resonate with me.
Thanks for posting it, Carley - and goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!