This week in class, we focused on lies, lying, and memories. The Montaigne, Bacon, and Hampl readings were focused on these things. Montaigne was very critical of liars and the act of lying. In his work, he says “If we recognized the horror and the gravity of lying, we would persecute it with fire more justly than other crimes…Only lying, and a little below it obstinacy, seem to me to be the actions whose birth and progress one should combat insistently…And once the tongue has been put on the wrong track, it cannot be called back with amazing difficulty.”
Montaigne assumes that everyone who lies has bad intentions…which is simply not true.
In class, one of the students mentioned that her mother has Alzheimer’s. She lies to bring her mother comfort, how is that wrong? If there is no malicious intent in her lie, I don’t see a problem with it. I too believe that lies can be a good thing in certain circumstances. Sometimes they bring comfort. Sometimes people lie because the truth would be offensive, or create unnecessary tension.
My favorite part of the Hampl reading was when she said “A careful first draft is a failed first draft.” In most other styles of writing, this wouldn’t necessarily be true at all. However, when it comes to writing personal essays, this is definitely accurate. I don’t know if other people can tell, but I can tell when someone is being too careful with their personal essay. When they’re trying to make themselves seem different from who they really are. It’s so obvious when people use words that they normally wouldn’t. Personal essays are so much more fluid and organic when they go straight from a person’s mind onto paper.