Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 26 seconds
I've often wondered the following: Is it moral to lie in order to preserve a secret, in a situation where refusing to answer cannot preserve the secret? I think there exist a continuum on whether someone is blatantly lying to you or simply withholding information in order to preserve the integrity of a secret they may have or even something that is simply none of your business. There does not exist a finite answer on this subject and each situation has to be carefully analyzed.
One really has to analyze the kind of relationship they have with the person they suspect is lying or withholding information. Are you friends where the information they are "withholding" is simply just not any of your business? Is the information they are withholding contrary to your personal belief system which in turn effects (in their opinion) your relationship with the person. Is this information vital to your personal well being or the well being of people you care about? Are you business partners where the information is vital to the success or failure of your business, which in turn may directly affect your personal endeavors?
I mention this after being a victim of the latter.... but it was much more than that and I'm deeply involved with the person on a personal level as well. I was always warned, perhaps rightly so, not to mix friends and business... friends do not make good business partners I was told... Being warned a countless number of times, I have done just that. I do not have any regrets and it has worked out to everyone's advantage thus far. Each one of us has brought something to the table that the others clearly lack. I was just made aware of some vital information that was unknown to me for over a month. I was led to believe a situation existed that in fact did not exist. I was allowed to worry over things that, if I had known the information, would have freed my mind much easier of the burdens we are facing. Honestly, I can not say that I was lied to, because I was not. Information was withheld from me that I should have been made aware of.
When can you claim to be an honest person if you are withholding information from important people in your life? Is there a continuum of honesty, or is a lie a lie? Is your resistance to telling people what they need to know considered a lie in itself? I continue to remain uncertain about the answers to these questions, there are too many variables to consider. My advice to anyone who may be engaging in this activity to ask yourself: Does this person really need to know, would you tell them the truth if they knew the questions to ask? Think carefully when you speak and when you act, people effect others more than they realize.