I was catching up in person with some of my close friends the other day and the topic veered around truth and lies. I decided to go for it and at one point words flew from my mouth that I follow 80% truth and 20% Lies. Just the application of Pareto’s principle. All eyes were on me to justify what is in 80% and in 20%. I wiggled out of that conversation with some absurd stories but stared at that stat. I recollected one article I had read in ” The speaking tree ” some days back which was backed by a story from my wife as well.

In the “degrees of truth” article by Acharya Mahaprajna, he starts by saying that, ” Truth is infinite. No single word or language can express even a part of it. We are advised to speak neither truth, that is likely to hurt others, nor untruth”. I was not able to follow it until this particular story hit home…

Once a one-eyed king invited a few painters. He said to them, “The portrait you make of me should be beautiful and true but only barely true.” The three painters agreed. One took his painting to the king, who said, “The portrait is beautiful, but not true because it shows both eyes normal.” To the other painter, he said, “Your portrait is beautiful, but it portrays the bare truth by showing me one-eyed.” The third depicted the king stringing the bow so that one eye got hidden behind the raised hand. The king rewarded him. The third portrait was neither untrue nor bare, but partly true.

Over the phone, a couple of weeks back we were talking about how many lies we have said in the past and my wife recollected another story of a king. The story goes like this…

A Middle Eastern king had a frightening dream. He dreamt that all his teeth fell out, one after the other. Very upset about this, he summoned his dream interpreter. The man listened with great concern to the king’s account of his dream and said to him, “Your Majesty, I have bad news for you. Just as you lost all your teeth, you will lose all of your family, one after the other.” This sad interpretation kindled the king’s rage. The dream interpreter, who had nothing better to say, was thrown in jail at the king’s command. Then the king summoned a different dream interpreter. This one heard him tell the dream and then said, “Your Majesty, I have good news for you. You will become older than all of your family. You will outlive them all.” The king rejoiced and rewarded the man richly for saying this. But the courtiers were very surprised. “Your words were really no different from your poor predecessor’s. But why was he punished, while you received a reward?” they asked. The lucky dream interpreter replied, “You are right. We both interpreted the dream in the same way. But it is not a question of what you say, but also how you say it.

From the above two stories I pulled out two interpretations of the RICH lies

1, By hiding the truth (bare truth) which is going to hurt the other person at that moment.

2. By telling the truth you can decide to go through the emotional upheaval and it’s a choice, there are moments where you can delay it.

There is a lot of research on this topic of lying and I did come across and I liked the one scenario which was close to RICH lies which is “If you have someone’s best interests at heart

There are classic examples of lying being detrimental, and the most damaging kinds of lies tend to be those that promote your own self-interests at the expense of others. But “prosocial” lies—fibs intended to benefit others—can actually build trust between people, according to research.

They say nothing is farther from the truth and so 80/20 could be an illusion of the truth. The only truth that matters is “don’t lie to yourself.” RICH lies to me is about if your heart says it you say it “. I rest my case on all others…

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