hodja (hodja) wrote,

What is a lie?

Nasreddin Hodja was discussing ethics and morals with one of his young disciples, Doniyor Kattaev:
"What is the difference between a malicious lie and just being wrong?" — asked Doniyor.
"What do you think?" — replied Nasreddin.
"Well, if I know that something is not true, yet tell it to someone else and believing it ends up hurting the person, it must be a malicious lie. Right?"
"Does it matter" — asked Nasreddin — "what you think or know? If you believe something, does it stop being a lie?"
"It surely does!" — responded Doniyor — "If I just don't know the whole truth — as only Allah does — I might even have the noblest of intentions and still end up misleading someone."
"So," — started Nasreddin — "you say that if you just convince yourself that what you are telling is the truth and knowing it is in the best interest of the other person, you are not telling a lie anymore? Is it not too easy to convince yourself, if you stand to gain from it?"
"You are quite right, Nasreddin! If I am telling something that is not true and believing it the other person will hurt himself and benefit me, it is a malicious lie, no matter what I think or believe." — summarized Doniyor — "You are a wise man and a great teacher, Nasreddin."
"But I didn't know this myself!" — protested Nasreddin — "I was just asking the most straightforward questions."
"Does it matter what you think or know?" — asked Doniyor.
Tags: ethics, morals, objectivism, philosophy
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