I have written about my thoughts on lying. Are lies, and the act of deceiving itself, necessarily a bad thing for the person you are lying to? Or, should people know the truth at all times? Yes, that would involve them knowing about the time that you gave their dog psychedelic mushrooms and it flipped out and ate the cat, asshole. There are certainly advantages to hiding the truth when a negative impact will be felt by the deceiver. However, there can be advantages to the person being deceived as well – they just may not be founded in morality.
I believe it is true that presenting falsehood is, by and large, immoral. People want to believe, and do by default in most cases, that the person they are interacting with is being forthright and honest. Trust and confidence in the actions of another cannot be built if one (or both) parties are deceiving. But, an unwise feeling of such can be built if one is not discovered to be lying. I do not have the moral quandaries that most have when it comes to deceiving. I lie because, if successful, it brings great advantage to the situation I’m in. Running late for work? There was an accident. Unable to make an engagement? Sorry, I double-booked. Unable to recall the number of that date that totally creeped you out because of her over-attachment to Beanie Babies and her mural to Hanson? Sorry, a boa constrictor ate my child who had swallowed that note you gave me with your number on it. So on and so forth. In the absence of being found out, does this really harm the person being duped? Clearly, the person must believe you to be honest for this to work.
It certainly can vary. Con men lie to get into seniors’ life savings. People fill out misleading expense sheets to embezzle from a company. Valets take your car on a joyride down to the red light district, spill cocaine in your back seat, and then vacuum it all up, hoping that you don’t notice your odometer flip. However, what about fake feelings of empathy and compassion? What about making a person feel loved when no one else will, even if the feeling is not sincere? What about telling someone everything will be okay when everything is clearly going to hell? What about writing Shia LeBouf to let him know that his movies were film classics? All of these examples are still filled with immorality, but some of these examples actually may benefit the entity being lied to. Immorality may be generally be regarded as a blight, but its effects need not break another person. I caution, however, that every person must choose where to draw the line between performing immoral actions as a balancing act between one’s self-interest and the feelings of another and committing immoral actions that creates, undoubtedly, victims. It is possible for a victim to feel good about a situation even as their world comes crashing down because of it. Many books on psychopathy refer to the elderly victim of a con artist as feeling as though the artist cared for them beyond what anyone else could.
It can be even more fuzzy, though. What about the transgenderist that passes? Even if the intent is not to do ‘wrong’, the actions of such a person may greatly hurt those he or she encounters. If I create a great, and respect-based, friendship with someone and never reveal that I am transgender, will they be hurt when they find out that I did not yield such? Will they be hurt that they really did not get to know me as well as they thought they could? What about when I use gender expression as a way to get what I want? Am I deceiving my date by appearing overly masculine when I am far more feminine in my natural state? Am I pulling their emotions into a web of lies that ensure that I have control over their feelings? Am I pulling in friends at the cosmetics club by appearing and acting hyperfeminine when all I want is more fleshbags to talk to? All of these actions, without gauging my intent, could be perceived as merely a defense mechanism or an embodiment of being the person I want to be. However, they are all still deception.
Deception is deception regardless of intent and harm to the other person. That time you mixed citrus soda, that red shit in the back of your fridge – that looks like it might be moldy, oh god is that mold but maybe that is just the lighting, eh fuck it -, and Everclear and called it punch because you had to bring something to the party? That was deception, my friend even if everyone else thought it was the most amazing, although musky, thing they have ever drank. Many, though, are troubled by ever deceiving and they consciously try not to. Some deceive without a care in the world, seeking only to get an outcome that they want. I fall into the latter category, but I do not delude myself for a moment that my deception is anything but immoral and that it can create victims. I just do not care.