A man named Dan Ariely dedicated his career to understanding human behavior, including why we lie. He conducted a series of experiments with this premise: A group of people takes a mathematical exam. When the time is up, each person declares how many answers they got right, and they got paid for each correct answer. They shred the exam paper themselves, thinking no one would catch them if they lied. What they don't know was that the shredder doesn't shred all the way through. The experiment then is able to determine if people lied. The results showed that 100% of the test subjects lied. The only difference was in how much each person lied. A few lied big time, with a big variance between what they declared and how many answers they actually got right. Most people, though, lied but with little variance. Most people lied "just a little bit".
We may be quick to judge that the big liars are the "bad people", the corrupt politicians, those whose indiscretions are unforgivable to us. We think our own "small" lies are harmless-- omitting certain truths, misleading just a little slightly, telling an insignificant lie here and there. It is all too easy to point fingers at others and blame them for their dishonesty, all the while thinking our own dishonesty is excusable and "not as bad". But in the experiment, this point is made: The monetary loss from the few people who lied a lot is far less than the net loss coming from most people who lied only a little. It brings us back to the point that the world we live in is created by small actions of the majority. And in the subject of truth, the culture of dishonesty is not made by the few big liars, but by the normalcy of the majority of small liars.
In the pursuit of satya or truth, in unraveling the layers to reveal what is behind the facade, it is necessary that we take ownership of the words that we speak. If I continue to be dishonest, how can I expect others to be honest? If I distort the truth for my benefit, how can I expect the truth to be accessible? If I speak the truth but in a way that is unkind, then how can I expect the world to be truthful and compassionate at the same time?