Thursday, January 17, 2013

Significant Lies

I use the word significance often here on this blog. Unfortunately auto-correct doesn't catch the may ways I misspell it when I get to typing too fast. Alas, the topic intrigues me.

I think it should be fairly clear I have no problem with my own insignificance when compared to the uber and only significant God. That's philosophical. Of course, accepting that in real life is a totally different matter, which is why many stories are told here of my search for insignificance.

Having said that, what isn't insignificant is truth. I believe that without truth, we have nothing solid with which to compare...well....anything. Which is why I am not as pleased with recent survey revealing a drop in lying by teenagers.

You can view the report right here. Here's just a glimpse of the larger report.

LOS ANGELES, CA (November 20, 2012) -- A continual parade of headline-grabbing incidents of dishonest and unethical behavior from political leaders, business executives and prominent athletes suggests that we are in a moral recession. But a new report — the 2012 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth — suggests that a robust recovery is underway.
The survey of 23,000 high school students, which was conducted by the Los Angeles-based Josephson Institute of Ethics, reveals that for the fi rst time in a decade students are cheating, lying and stealing less than in previous years. The Institute conducts the national survey every two years.

CHEATING: In 2010, 59 percent of students admitted they had cheated on an exam in the past year; in
2012 that rate dropped to 51 percent. Students who copied an Internet document for an assignment dropped 2 percent, from 34 percent in 2010 to 32 percent this year. Other good news:

LYING: Students who said they lied to a teacher in the past year about something significant dropped
from 61 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2012. Those who lied to their parents about something signifi cant
also dropped from 80 percent to 76 percent. In 2012, 38 percent of the students said they sometimes lie to save money; that is a drop of 3 percent from 2010.

STEALING: In 2010, 27 percent of the students said they had stolen something from a store in the past
year. In 2012 that number dropped to 20 percent. In 2010, 17 percent said they stole something from a
friend in the past year compared to 14 percent in 2012. The percentage who said they stole something from a parent or other relative in the past year also decreased (from 21 to 18 percent).
if you tell a lie big enough...

I'm not convinced these are good figures. The lying section is most troubling to me. First of all, I think we need to define what 'significant' means. Significant to the teens? Or to the one being lied to? One is trying to stay out of trouble while the other is a victim.

Secondly, how do we know that teens perspective on what is significant hasn't dropped? If they have adjusted to certain levels of lying on a habitual basis, then they will begin to lose their concept of what should be viewed as 'significant'.

Of course, depending on how we view the lying stats, it brings into question every other answer the teens are giving. After all, what if they don't find the surveys to be of significance? 

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