Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing Like The Truth

Having watched my two favourite TV 'fixes' this evening I was once again struck, as so many times before, by the way almost every soap drama relies heavily on at least one of the main characters failing to tell the truth.

While the audience at home is silently, or in my case audibly, begging the liar to tell the truth and save the situation, the one caught up in the web of his/her own deceit gets deeper and deeper into trouble.

As a child I had what my mother described as "a very vivid imagination", which many times resulted in quite incredibly involved and elaborate tales, stories, or to be more accurate, lies.

At this great distance in time I can easily see why I found it necessary to invent and embroider situations to make them (me), more interesting, but at the time, I found myself caught up in a world of make-believe which  bore almost no relation to my real life.

It was only in my teens when, embarrassed by being found out yet again, that I finally managed to get a grip on my tale-telling propensities and started to live a real, ordinary, every-day life.

The trouble with lies is that they develop their own momentum, involving more and more people in ever-widening circles.  The first lie having to be backed up with more and more of the same until only someone with a memory like a computer could possibly remember the whole sequence.

The older I became, the less inclined to fabricate and the more I relished the (for me) unique feeling of being absolutely honest, and for the past 30 or so years I have found it totally impossible to look someone in the eye and tell a lie.

If the truth is likely to hurt, then it  is sometimes possible to avoid a direct untruth and to circumnavigate the question but, if pushed, I now always answer a direct question honestly.

It has never seemed a good idea to me to squash a child's flights of fancy, but it is certainly necessary to make some sort of differentiation between fact and fiction.

Oddly I have always blushed easily, and even when giving a painfully honest and open answer look 'guilty' from sheer embarrassment.

"Tell the truth and shame the devil", may sound like good advice, but it may be necessary to wear a mask!


  1. Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

    You are so right, Ray. I had a vivid imagination as a child, too. In my late middle age, I'm practicing being kind, in which I strive to find a way to be honest without being brutal. Which reminds me of another saying:

    I know there is a middle way. I've seen it as I swing by on my pendulum.

    1. Perhaps kindness is the answer to the "how do I answer that" question. Certainly think first, then reply carefully is better than a reply delivered thorn and all.

  2. It wasn't until I became a Christian in my early 20's that I managed to quash the 'lies' that would daily roll out of my mouth about anything and nothing. Thank God for that - life is so much fuller when you live in the now and not the imaginary world you think is more exciting.

    1. I think Jane, it was perhaps partly insecurity as well as a feeling of being, nothing and no-one in particular, which led to the web of fabrications.
      Better these days!

  3. Another blusher here, Ray, and I can identify with your childhood flights of fancy too. Were you an avid reader like me, for whom the world of fiction was SO much more interesting and appealing than real life? Like Penny, I've been trying to be honest but kind, having had a few too many painful encounters with brutal truth in the past to want to inflict any on others.

    1. Yes Perpetua I was always glued to a book, sitting standing or even walking, and yes, I do think that played its part.
      It isn't always possible to give people the answers they would like, but it is possible to smooth the rough corners, or sometimes even remain silent rather than utter hurtful words,