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Re^2: How should Perlmonks deal with Plagiarism?by planetscape (Chancellor)
|on Oct 08, 2006 at 00:33 UTC||Need Help??|
Is lying condoned in Indian/Asian cultures?
Given the context of his post, that of being a reply in a thread discussing the probable wrongdoings of certain PerlMonks members from one particular geographic region, wherein there is a degree of uncertainty regarding cultural norms and mores between that geographic region and another from which the "majority" of members hail, it is hard to say how members from that geographic region would respond when asked: "So, do you think the actions of your fellow countrymen, which we have been condemning in this thread, are wrong?"
It's akin to the Catch-22 or "Damned if you do, damned if you don't" sort of question that is "Have you stopped beating your wife?"
Clearly, that last question is of the form demanding a yes or no answer. But if you answer "Yes," then it implies you were beating your wife at some point and were therefore in the wrong at that time.
If you say "No," you may well mean, "No, I have never beaten my wife," but the questioner has set it up in such a way that for them, "No" means, "No, I haven't stopped beating my wife." Or in other words, you are wrong now.
So, you are in effect wrong no matter how you answer, whether or not you ever were in fact guilty of spousal abuse.
The word "lying," generally, in English, already carries connotations of wrongdoing. Therefore, to say, "Yes, lying is condoned," is in effect saying, "Yeah, we know it's wrong, and we do it anyway."
Or at least the one giving an afirmative answer may be concerned that that is how an affirmative answer will sound to the questioner.
OTOH, it is entirely possible that an affirmative answer to that question: "Is lying condoned?" might well mean more along the lines of: "Under certain circumstances, when telling the truth may cause more pain, damage, or acrimony, it may instead be better to tell a small untruth, a 'white lie,' in the interests of the greater good."
In the current context of this thread, it would be very difficult IMHO for a person, from the same geographic region as the two Monks being discussed above, perhaps lacking a facility with the English language, and being probably equally as perplexed by the finer points of Western culture and custom as Westerners are of Indian or Hindu culture, to adequately articulate an answer that sounds a great deal like, and may be artificially simplified to mean, "Yes, we condone wrongful behaviour."
I believe it was precisely this careful distinction that syphilis was attempting to make.