I had a question about how to determine whether you’ve lied or not. I know that lying is intentionally giving someone false information, but sometimes we can deceive ourselves, too.
Consider this situation, which I’ve remastered to maintain some privacy:
I wanted to buy a Mini Cooper; I’d wanted one for a long time, in fact. When considering buying one, I had convinced myself that I wanted to buy it for the gas mileage. Therefore, when pitching the idea to my wife, that’s what I told her: We could save so much more on gas, and that’s what I want to get it.
After a getting the car, about a month later, I finally came to terms with my actual intentions. I had to admit to myself that I just wanted a Mini Cooper because I wanted a newer car. It wasn’t about the gas mileage at all.
When I spoke with my wife a month earlier, though, I wasn’t intending to deceive her. It’s just that at the time I wasn’t being honest enough with myself. Although something did tell me that maybe my heart was somewhere else, I ignored it. I was convinced that I was really just trying to save money.
At the end of the day, then, when the dust settles, did I lie? I ask because it’s not so black and white. I wasn’t plotting and scheming about how best to fool my wife. I was just convicted about something that, as I admitted to myself later, I really wasn’t all that convicted about after all.