Is honesty really the best policy? It is for anyone that wishes to be socially inept, financially unstable and generally unsuccessful at life in general.
To be clear, this is not a truth I have discovered through my own personal, empirical experience. Well, it is, but there is science to back it up! According to ongoing research at the University of Toronto, “Kids with juvenile delinquencies tend to be poor liars,” says Kang Lee, the director of the Child Development Research Group at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. “Kids who lie early, who lie better, are the kids who are going to develop normally.”
Though this research is entirely geared towards what lying does for children, there is no reason why honesty-prone adults can’t arrive fashionably late to the party and derive virtue from lying pathologically.
“Pathological liar” is a dirty character descriptor to many, but it shouldn’t be. Pathological liars are painted as untrustworthy, people that we must keep at arm’s length, but that’s only because too few people have questioned honesty’s virtuousness.
If you were to give a pathological liar a chance, I guarantee that not only would you find them to be extremely charming, as their embellishments and make-’em-ups often result in most entertaining cocktail-hour conversation, but that they are better protectors of egos than a person sworn to honesty thanks to their willingness to omit and misrepresent information and opinion that could be damaging to our thin skin.
Lying is merely a social lubricant. And like all lubricants, it is an ugly, uncomfortable truth that we need it, but the spoils it allows one to reap are worth it. For anyone feeling unfulfilled by their social abilities, I must implore you to falsify every word that passes your lips…to an extent.
The key to finding virtue–or social gain–in pathological lying is not simply disproportionately falsifying but telling lies effectively. Now, how can this be done? One of television’s most prolific liars George Costanza once advised that “it is not a lie if you believe it.” And while this does remain good advice–particularly for those of us wishing to contract False Memory Syndrome–the real key to telling an effective lie is as follows:
DO NOT GIVE A FUCK.
Lying isn’t much different than basketball. Imagine, if you will, that it is crunch time, 7.8 seconds left in the game, only enough time left for one last shot to take the lead and the ball is in your hands. There are five people trying to stop you from getting the shot off but you jack it up anyway because there are one of two options: 1) it swishes in and you are lauded for being cool under pressure or 2) it rims out and everyone hates you because you violated their trust. Just like with lying, not giving a fuck is what enables you to take the shot and achieve greatness, regardless of what the consequences may be.
And that, dear friends, is the virtue of lying pathologically. It takes time and practice to turn your lies into a reliable jump shot, but if you keep at it every day, eventually you’ll be able to knock down the lie that takes you straight to the top.