Gathering together all the ramblings and data we've gone through so far, we can now hopefully reach some useful insights on dealing with issues such as these (Note: please consider the pronoun 'you' to be a general reference term for myself and any readers): First, let's state the goals for which we performed this thought experiment:

  1. To remain honest in day to day life, and
  2. To recognize and avoid lying and liars

Second, here's the basic information we've come up with:

  • Using vague speech or silence to deliberately give a false impression is lying,

  • Speaking what you believe is the truth is not lying, even if you are mistaken, but

  • Deliberately promoting falsehood, to yourself or others, is lying.

Now to put it all together, into a useful framework for daily life. How to avoid lying and remain honest, with situations such as those mentioned in this article?

  1. When asked a question you do not want to answer, cannot answer without hurting someone, or cannot answer without lying:

    • Try stating an intention to not answer, or a truthful inability to do so
  2. When faced with an absolute belief system, try to figure out if self-deception is involved:

    • If yes, be extremely wary, as the speaker is likely to be both unpleasantly adamant, and mistaken in their beliefs,

    • If no, the speaker may still be mistaken on some subjects, but at the very least they're trying their best. Reasoned argument with them could be fascinating, regardless of whether or not anyone's mind is changed.

Finally, when given the opportunity to engage in reasoned debate about your personal beliefs with someone, take it! I know no better way to check and see if you're harboring a self-deceptive belief system.

If you find yourself constantly getting angry, sarcastic, defensive, or upset when thoughtfully questioned… you might want to take a good, long, hard look at yourself, and make some changes. Living in deception or constant fear of self-discovery is not healthy.

I so love philosophical debate… I wonder if I'm any good at it. ;-)

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