OUTLOOK — By Arwa Al Hinaia — Honesty is a word that has many noble meanings. It is the act of being truthful in speech and action. The attribute of honesty is looked at with great pride and respect. Honesty is a crucial element in our lives. To make it simple, it is the key to making life easy and, ultimately, happiness. Yes, I am sure, we are all aware of this. We have been taught from a very young age about the importance of being honest.
Of always listening to the “voice of our conscience”. During the earliest elementary level, perhaps even at kindergarten level, I recall a famous hadith by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) that said: “He who cheats belongs not to us”. Throughout our school years, this hadith repeatedly echoed in our ears since everyone from the teachers, to the students always took advantage of any situation to say it.
Yet, even though we know this all by heart, how often do we apply the rule of “honesty is always the best policy?” In our day to day life, we encounter numerous occasions in which we decide on whether to resort to deceit? Or follow the voice of our conscience and face the consequences of our actions? Although honesty is a very easy thing to define, it is one of the hardest things to put into action.
What makes people resort to lies instead of telling the truth? My “honest” answer could be: fear. This sense of fear can stem from many reasons: fear of losing someone’s interest, fear of being judged by others which can lead to losing the respect of people, fear of feeling threatened by someone, fear of hurting someone’s feeling.
All these can be reasons why a person can turn to lying. Therefore, to avoid problems and to keep the peace people choose to lie. I believe that as humans, we always aim for perfection and achieving the contentment of the people around us. The ability to lie can at times fill us with that sense of excellence. More often than not, whenever anyone is asked a question, the answer would be a positive one. A white lie is the term to use when trying to protect someone’s feelings; although this “white lie” has the ability to change into many different shades of grey. As these white lies evolve, the urge to lie becomes bigger. Sadly, lies have become part of our speech and our existence.
An example of how lies have been transformed from a negative thing to a blameless thing is how the lawyers seek to protect their reputation by lying. It is not my intention to attack any lawyer, for I hold great respect towards them, but there are some cases which require the lawyer to defend his client who might be a serial murderer. Even though the lawyer is aware that his client has committed hideous crimes — bluntly speaking — by lying and twisting the truth, the lawyer, be it a man or a woman, magically and with the power of wittiness manages to reduce the sentence and sometimes even wipes off any trace of the crime committed. It’s a win win situation for the lawyers and their clients. The lawyer creates a good reputation for him/herself and the defendant gets the best gift he/she could dream of: freedom.
On a less serious note, in the fashion world, we are manipulated every day by fashion designers from around the world who make us think that a certain trend suits us and looks good on us. Because we seek perfection, we believe these deceptions.
Even though deep down it is obvious that the trend is ridiculously horrid, no one would choose to be honest and confront the person by sharing their truthful opinion. It is what we face every day. The very fine line between complimenting someone and being a hypocrite is trespassed by lies.
A movie called The Invention of Lying, which I consider pure genius, depicts how simplicity in life can be achieved by honesty. However, as soon as a lie is invented, the simplicity is turned to chaos. Watching that movie made me wonder: what would our lives be like if lies never existed? I strongly believe that dishonesty branches from selfishness and that will only lead to the spread of hatred and corruption amongst people. Lack of trust can be destructive. Sometimes I ask myself maybe if the spell that was cast on Pinocchio existed, the amount of lies told would lessen? In the end it is our choice; do we want to be honest and achieve a life of simplicity or dishonesty and duplicity?