False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil. – Socrates
What does that mean?
This quote is about the slippery slope of lies. First, false words, as the quote calls them, are evil and destructive in their own right. Saying them causes harm to others, and often to oneself.
The quote continues by saying that this damage continues. As the residue of the lies, of the evil committed by thought and deed remain within you, it attacks you from within. The same lies, the same evil begins to permeate your very being. In this manner, you become infected.
Once a lies has been told, more lies must be told to protect the initial lie. And so it goes, until that one lie has completely turned your heart and good intentions to ash. And, as you may have noticed at some point in your life, once you start lying, it only seems to get easier.
Why is honesty important?
Lying is a habit. The more you practice, the better at it you become. And in general, that is not a good thing. That habit is the core of the infection mentioned in the quote. That it gets easier with practice and over time only makes it worse.
Honesty, is just the same, but in the opposite direction. The more often you tell the truth, the more ingrained the habit becomes. And with practice, it gets easier and easier. As you tell the truth over and over, you become filled with the antidote, the cure, for the evil of lies.
There are degrees of lies and the withholding of the truth. We can justify to ourselves almost any lie, if we want to badly enough. But the truth and lies do not mix well, as you may have experienced. Doing one repeatedly will eventually drive the other out. Which do you wish to be filled with, truth or lies?
Where can I apply this in my life?
As an interesting aside, as I was writing the prior section, the song Dogs by Pink Floyd came on Pandora (my music-for-writing source). It contains a line “You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to.” Synchronicity is such an interesting concept, isn’t it?
Meanwhile, back at the quote, the question is where in our lives can we apply honesty? My preference is pretty much everywhere, with a few exceptions. What exceptions? When a little kid asks what the dogs are doing in the yard over there. If my wife asks if an outfit makes her look fat. Sometimes, honesty more closely resembles a grenade than the best policy.
But it basically comes down to where in your life you are willing to be known as an habitual liar, as someone who cannot be trusted. Certainly you will be known in that one area of your life, but the distrust will bleed into other aspects of your life.
If you knew that a person regularly lied about where they had been or with whom they had been spending their time, would you trust them to repay you anything more than a trivial loan of money? Are you willing to be known as that person, a known and repeated liar?
That doesn’t sound like fun to me, what about you? I’ll presume you are at least mostly in agreement with me (if not, please leave your name in the comment section, so we know who you are, OK?). How do you make it easier to be honest, and avoid lying?
We tend to move towards pleasure and away from pain. If you’re serious about making a significant change, you might want to consider telling someone to whom you have lied that you lied, and what the truth really was. Also explain to them why you lied, and what you gained from that lie.
Suddenly you aren’t as sure you want to do this, are you? That is a LOT of pain, isn’t it? But if you know that is what is waiting for you in each and every future lie, how likely are you to stretch the truth ever again? That might be something to think about, wouldn’t it?
What about rewarding yourself for doing the tough thing, and telling the truth even though it cost you much more than a lie would have (at least in the short run)? Give yourself some credit for doing the right thing every once in a while just might help make it a little easier to do the right thing.
It’s up to you. Habits are made one action at a time. You will become what you do repeatedly. Chose carefully, and get to know yourself a little better along the way. Or risk being labeled the biggest liar in the world.
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/socrates118207.html
Photo by Alan Cleaver