COLUMN: We must admit mistakes if we want a secure world says Rosemary Westwell of Ely

COLUMN: Rosemary Westwell asks ‘are we really in the Christmas spirit this year?’

COLUMN: Rosemary Westwell asks ‘are we really in the Christmas spirit this year?’ - Credit: Archant

Why do so many people tell lies?

I don’t mean ‘white lies’ when we try not to hurt people’s feelings by saying that they don’t look fat when they do, or when we don’t tell the whole truth because we know that it will upset everyone, but when we tell an outright lie, something that we know is not true, and, more often than not, when the listener also knows that it is false.

There is no doubt we will soon be found out and then what? People have been jailed before now for telling lies in court.

Many years ago when I was teaching, there was a boy who told lies. Even when he was caught out in them, he would still blatantly lie and say, for example, that he had attended a lesson that we all knew he had missed.

I had been in the very classroom he was due to come to, and he had not come at anytime. Yet, even though he knew this, he still insisted that he had attended the lesson.

Why? Another teacher suggested an explanation: perhaps the boy thought that the truth was what you could get away with. He had no idea of what ‘truth’ is.

An alternative reason for lying may be that the perpetrators feel insecure; they do not have the moral backbone to admit their fault; they can never afford to lose face or appear to have done wrong.

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They would rather be caught out in a lie than be found to be human and make mistakes.

In our recent political climate we can’t help feeling that lies are being told and perhaps the reasons I have given are true for the countries concerned.

When they are found out, this will only engender mistrust and anything they say in the future will not be believed, no matter how strongly they protest.

In the National Health Service, one local was fighting for continuing care for her husband.

During discussions an individual said that her husband had never been in a certain ward – the ward did not exist. The wife had taken a photo of the ward but still she was not believed.

The atmosphere of distrust that developed consequently prevented any reasonable, cheaper solution being found to the problem of her husband’s care. These problems I am told are still occurring.

It is time we all stopped being so defensive and paranoid. I recently experienced a situation in which all parties involved were open and truthful.

As a consequence, we were reassured that matters would improve. It is only with frank and open discussions, even when we have to admit our mistakes, that our world can become more secure.