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Why not lie, just a little bit to "get ahead". If the guy next to you "games the system" aren't you leaving yourself at a disadvantage? Isn't honesty and integrity, when dealing with people only important if everyone respects those virtues?

Why play a game when the rules keep changing!

asked Sep 16 '10 at 12:16

Jo%20El%20Ducheene's gravatar image

Jo El Ducheene ♦
8813

It's a matter of your integrity. [15th century via French< Latin integritas< integer< "whole"] It's the same word integrate comes from. We each have both a logical and an emotional self, which must be integrated. If one does something he knows is wrong, his emotional self will be at odds with his logical self, not good for mental health. He has damaged himself.

(Sep 16 '10 at 21:36) adamsdad ♦ adamsdad's gravatar image

Virtues are not to be practiced or repressed in response to or for the sake of others. They are virtues because they further one's own life. To lie, a person gives up his own judgement in exchange for the judgement of others by trading your his perception of reality for a fake reality supported only by the belief of others. Ayn Rand demonstrated the results of this kind of deception most dramatically in the character of Peter Keating in The Fountainhead, who after amazing initial success found that he had achieved nothing in his life that mattered to him.

**Note that there are times according to Objectivism when it is acceptable to lie.

answered Sep 17 '10 at 09:05

dennis's gravatar image

dennis ♦
27814

"Why not lie, just a little bit to 'get ahead'."?

Because it doesn't work.

You get caught, you have to keep track of which version of the "facts" you told to whom, you have to try not evade the feeling of guilt, you have to accept that you're the enemy of every person you've lied to, etc., etc., etc... all side-effects of the fact that you can't fake reality ... faking it in someone else's mind doesn't, in fact, change anything ... ultimately, reality always wins, and if you're faking it, you lose.

"If the guy next to you "games the system" aren't you leaving yourself at a disadvantage?

Only if that's a "game" that can be won. Ultimately, it can't. If society ever becomes so corrupt that the only way to win is to be corrupt, you lose. Fortunately, it's not nearly that bad yet!

Isn't honesty and integrity, when dealing with people only important if everyone respects those virtues?

No, it actually affords you all kinds of advantages, being the most honest, and you should capitalize on that fact. The better people will love you, and seek you out. Even a man of mixed moral character will come to you when he needs to actually get something done.

Why play a game when the rules keep changing!

Because it's the only game in town ... it's your life ... and it is, in fact, not a game!

Fortunately, the actual "rules" ... the actual facts of reality, which give rise to what are actually virtues, which ultimately lead to actual values ... do not, and can not change.

answered Sep 17 '10 at 17:34

Robert%20Nasir's gravatar image

Robert Nasir ♦
238113

edited Sep 17 '10 at 19:44

I answered this question in a recent edition of my Rationally Selfish Webcast.  An audio recording of my response is available as a podcast here: NoodleCast #63: Live Rationally Selfish Webcast. The discussion of this question runs from 51:37 to 58:45. 

My basic view is that life is not a Prisoner's Dilemma! The virtues are necessary to life and happiness, particularly when others are act viciously.

answered Mar 04 '11 at 14:32

Diana%20Hsieh's gravatar image

Diana Hsieh ♦
10004246

edited Mar 10 '11 at 08:57

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Asked: Sep 16 '10 at 12:16

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Last updated: Mar 10 '11 at 08:57