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Friday, February 26, 2016

The Grace of Deception

Is covert action okay? Should honest alternatives take priority over complex plots and deceptive means? (Serendipity Bible, Fourth Edition, page 539).

A parent asks a child: What do you want to do first–dress for Sunday school or straighten your room?  Such in-miniature complex plots and deceptive means are familiar to all of us–the parent suggests that the child has multiple options and choices when in fact there are none.  A good boss says to a subordinate: Please put this in your schedule for today, we need to accomplish xyz.   This little ploy suggests the subordinate has great freedom in scheduling their day, when in fact they do not.  Yet these ploys are profoundly human in that they come across as more polite and considerate than flat-out demands.  Both suggest that we have some meaningful control over our lives.  Everyone prefers the option to pay a bill sometime this month rather than at this very minute.

What I’m saying is that complex plots and deceptive means can embody respect and goodwill and not just be an indicator of menacing exploitation and manipulation.  The person or organization so plotting and deceiving can in fact be faithful to their obligations and accountability while bestowing the same compliment to others.  That is, plots and deception can be indispensable tools that help endow our lives with grace and dignity.

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