With the dominate stories last week being Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o, our culture is doing some serious thinking about honesty.
On the one hand we have a man who lied to us for years and controlled a system of deception. Admittedly, to the unfaithful he always HAD to be lying, but he sure was good at not telegraphing his lies. Pathological perhaps?
Then there is the whole con-job someone apparently pulled on Te’o for years. That is what makes us wonder about Manti’s involvement. How do you believe you are in a committed relationship with someone whom you never meet? He had to have played a part at some point. But this story highlights the way honesty has suffered with the internet. As we define what it means to relate to people through technology it appears as though we have decided we get to decide for ourselves what the truth is.
Normally we view people who routinely embellish the truth as being sick. I knew several people like this in college. That seems to be a point where these sorts of sicknesses emerge a lot. There was one guy who was a part of the club where I was president. He had an amazing life that he would tell us all about but that we were never allowed to see. His first downfall happened when he began to tell us about his High School football exploits. We knew people who had been in school with him who revealed to us that it was all fiction. Once we knew that, many of us placed all he said in doubt. Sure enough, some of his “innocent” embellishments ended up in the theft of thousands of dollars worth of product from the store where he worked. He was “sick” though, so they never pressed charges from what I understand.
The Jimmy Kimmel Show has a series of videos that demonstrates the way that truth goes right out the window when a TV camera shows up. People are pathological all over! It doesn’t do to excuse our dishonesty as something we can’t control. As a culture we need to rediscover reality and govern the way we speak about it!