Sunday, August 12, 2012

For a Few Pennies More or Less...

I am one of those unfortunates who find it difficult to lie.  (In my defense, this, as some other small things, can be squarely blamed on the nuns at the convent school I attended.)  The inability to lie, although it sounds very virtuous, in fact, makes life difficult, because very often, we blurt out the truth when the occasion begs for a lie!   Although everyone glorifies “truth” in the abstract, no one really likes truthful persons.  We are labeled, “rude”, “blunt”, “politically incorrect” and therefore, while universally trusted, we are, nonetheless, mostly disliked.

Now,  although lawyers are widely supposed to be liars, I  happen to believe very firmly that if  success is built on the foundation of subterfuge, lies and deceit, it belittles you. Makes you small. And so, long ago, I decided that I’d rather be a shining failure than a smutty success.  That I have never really tasted failure, could be evidence, I think, to the fact that goodness (and good people) can be far more devastating and ruthless than evil!

Recently however, I received a long tutorial on the art of lying, without actually lying.

I began by pointing out that what I had written was the truth.

Yes, they agreed, it surely is.  But you know what, if you DON’T point out the truth, we'll win this.

But, what’s the point of winning on the back of lies and untruths?

It’s not lying.  It’s just hiding the truth.

But you know what the truth is and you know you’re hiding it even if the other party doesn’t. And at some point, they will know it too.

Oh, by the time they found out, we’ll have won!

But they’ll know you concealed the truth.

Too bad.

They might think you're untrustworthy.

Ha! They do it too.

Isn’t it better to fight fair?

Perhaps. But in business it's better to fight to win.

Damn. I forgot the law isn't a profession anymore. It's business.