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Ethics means doing what is right even though it is difficult or not advantageous (MacKinnon and Andrew 89). In this respect, it is unethical for a person to lie in order to impress others and make himself/herself happier. MacKinnon and Andrew stress the importance of avoiding selfishness and other "virtues that limit human happiness" (89).
A deception restricts other people's autonomy by leading them to assume things that are counter to the facts they have, only to discover the truth later. The reality is revealed after the damage has been done. Furthermore, a person requires more lies to protect previous lies, interfering with his or her happiness. For example, Hughes found it difficult to maintain lies after he saw her aunt happy about salvation that never existed. Hughes cried because he lied. He says, “I couldn’t bear to tell that I had lied” (Hughes 264). The fear Hughes has reveals that he not only hurt his aunt, but also himself because he suffers the consequences of his lies.
It is unethical to lie to please others since it is a means using other people to achieve individual’s purpose. Lying does not reach a valuable end for the society, rather the speaker aims at fulfilling his/her wishes. It is wrong to treat people as the means to achieve a given end (Mizzoni 104). For example, the fact that Hughes was left on the mourner’s bench alone, he resorted to lies to convince her aunt that he saw Jesus. Hughes also wanted to please other about his “salvation”. He says he wanted “something to happen” (Hughes 263). In some circumstances, the people we, please contribute little to our success. For example, salvation benefits an individual; thus there is no need of lying about it. People should ask the moral question such as what is the impact of lying to others and me.
It is unethical to lie to please others since it is wrong in the long-run. In the short-run, people believe in lies especially if the information relates to issues of cohesion of the society. MacKinnon and Andrew provide that a moral behavior should ensure that a person “achieve self-satisfaction” (56). In other words, a person should please his/her soul before pleasing others. For example, it was wrong to please Auntie Reed about the salvation before realizing the benefits of salvation. Therefore, people should not lie based on long-term consequences such as emotional disturbance.
It is not okay to compromise your values to conform to other beliefs since it is a sign of weaknesses. A person should be confidence that his/her values are correct. In most cases, compromising values to conform to other values have reduced the achievement of human right across the world. In fact, people engage in activities violating their own principles and others. Hughes says, “I began to be ashamed of myself” since every person was behaving differently (263). Hughes wanted to compromise his values and act like others thinking it was right. However, this demonstrated the sign of weakness since he could not withhold his values and principles.
Hughes thinks that lying is against the morals and ethics. The author argues that lying makes a person suffer emotionally and psychologically (264). He discourages people to stop lying and speak the truth since it demonstrates the power of decision making. In this regard, it is vital to stick to values and belief a person holds about life. Although circumstances might persuade a person to dishonor his/her values, it is prudent to employ the virtues that promote self-satisfaction.
Hughes, Langston. Autobiography: The Big Sea. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2002. Print
MacKinnon, Barbara and Andrew Fiala.Ethics: Theory and contemporary issues. New York: Nelson Education, 2014. Print.
Mizzoni, John. “Ethics: The Basics.” Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.
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