Lies For The Greater Good
Updated: Mar 15, 2022
“When is it okay to lie?”
His face and body language immediately got animated. The type of animation that only comes after 5 or 6 drinks. His cheeks were pink and he was slurring his words.
He leaned closer to me and his voice got louder than it had been previously.
“What if it’s for the greater good?!”
“What’s ‘the greater good?’” I asked him calmly.
“Well, it’s what is best for everyone, isn’t it??”
“And what’s ‘the best’ for everyone?”
“Oh c’mon, you know, uhhh… peace and love and charity and all that…”
His eyes followed the lady who had been sitting across from us, as she got up to use the bathroom. His head turned around, as she walked away from us.
“So a lie can help bring peace, love and charity to everyone?”
He snapped his head back to me and he said,
“In the right situation, yeah, I think so.”
“What type of situation would that be?”
“One for the greater good!” He was getting more and more frustrated with me.
“Some of the worst things ever done were done under the belief that it was for “the greater good.” I took a sip from a beer and dipped a fry in my mountain of ketchup.
“We know better now!” he was practically yelling at me. Heads started to turn and eyes started to stare at us.
“Do we?” I asked him.
“Obviously! Look at how far we’ve come!”
“How far have we come?”
“Well we’re a lot more civilized now…” He waved down our waitress and ordered another drink.
“You think we’ve evolved past the point of what? Ignorance? Naivety? Cruelty?”
“Well… no… I guess not. We haven’t evolved past those things, but we have made progress! People know what the greater good is now!”
“Dammit! Stop questioning everything I say! You’re one arrogant asshole Chester! You think you know everything.”
His drink was spilling over the edge of his glass cup, as his hand gestures got more and more intense.
“I’ll stop asking questions in order to prove my point. And I think that I know almost nothing. I definitely don't think I know what ‘the greater good’ is. No one really knows that. And that’s my point. People do what they think is the best under their ideologies that they believe in. People have their biases and they can get wrapped up in the momentum of change that an ideology can bring. People are also products of their culture, and they have a tough time being able to see the world past their ideologies, biases and culture. They conform to fit in. If the masses believe that a certain change is for ‘the greater good’, then the individual will feel the pressure to go along with whatever that is, without putting much thought into what it actually is.”
He wasn’t listening.
“Uh huh, sure Chester.” He was looking at the lady across from us again. Her tits were halfway out and he was practically drooling over her.
“I’m going to go talk to her.” He started to get up from his chair.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
The fuck Chester?? Why not??”
“You’re too drunk.”
“Are you going over there for ‘the greater good’ or for your personal pleasure?”
He chugged the rest of his drink.
“You think too much, man. Wish me luck!”
He came back a few seconds later.
“Let’s get out of here man. This place sucks.”
“Sure, whatever you want.”
When we got outside, he lit a cigarette and took a long inhale.
He turned to me and said, “So, it’s really never okay to lie?”
“Yeah man, it’s really never okay.”
“Well that sucks.”
“Fucking stop that!”
I laughed and apologized to him.
“Can I ask you one more question, just for my own curiosity, then I promise, I’ll stop.”
“You’re going to ask it anyway, so might as well go ahead.”
I laughed again. Trevor could be loud sometimes but I always thought he was a genuine guy. We had been friends for years. Usually, we just meet up for food and drinks once a month, just to catch up.
I turned to him and asked him, “Do you think someone can tell a lie without lying to themselves?”
He took another puff of his cigarette and looked down at his shoes. He let out the smoke from his lungs and looked up to the sky.
He said, without moving his eyes from the sky, “No. It’s not possible.”
I smiled at him and punched his shoulder.
“Look at you man, you’re learning a few things.”
He rubbed his shoulder and said,
“Fuck you dude.”
We walked to the next bar.