Thank you, and for that highly pertinant question.
My vision suggests that in such a society, whose modus operendi was truth in word and deed, the thought processes would be naturally very different from what we are used to here, in this society at this time.
I imagine a society of persons accomstomed to dealing with reality in all of its apsects including the profundity and mystery of death, the challenges of disease, pestilence, accident , natural disaster, etc, as well as the awesomeness of all life, health and consciousness. They have faced these threats and enjoyed life’s fullness without resorting to deceit to accomplish their ends; above all they have not lied to themselves, have not shielded themselves from realities both terrible and wonderful, they do not live in denial, they have no use for secrets kept hidden from themselves.
But to shield the vulnerable from reality – done in compassion, the only honorable motive that I can see – I suppose that there might be understanding and forgiveness in those cases, and I certainly envision this society as rooted in compassion – the source of the Golden Rule, which is really what my catopia is about. I would think that if there was ever a question, a person’s intent would certainly be given a great deal of weight, as well as the understanding that we can all make mistakes and and have many limitations.
But at the very least, lying becomes a slippery slope. To refrain from delivering the truth of a harsh reality to an interested party is one thing – Is that a lie? – I can’t say I’m clear on that – but to deceive – such as when my Mom asks where my brother is, and I have to give her an answer, and I choose to shield her. I would say that in any case where the truth is going to be compromised in word or deed a person devoted to living truthfully would not do anything like that without a great deal of thought, and what some would call prayer, and consultation with elders and wisdom keepers, and if there were not time or opportunity for that I think that if I were that person I would opt in favor of a gentle and compassionate delivery of the truth, with all the encouragement and support that would rise from the heart of one so connected in truth and in reality to all of my beloved family members.
But I suspect that the situation you proposed could also been seen in a very different light – such as:
What if the desire to care for her son was the impetus that my mother needed to pull herself willfully and mindfully through a time where she otherwise might have languished and given up on herself?
Or perhaps, because my mother is a person who is confident in knowing truth, and practiced in handling truth, she would prefer to be told the truth? In many ways it is disrespectful to deny a person their capacity to perceive and handle the challenges that we face in this existence.
What could seem cruel to us in this society – because we pamper ouselves with great comforts, and very shallow versions of reality (a reality that is indeed harsh enough to take us down and do us in at the whim of circumstance), or because we shield ourselves from the relentless death and rebirth of all in the natural three dimensional universe – what seems cruel to us now can be seen in many different lights and from many different perspectives.
What is cruel to one society can be seen as honorable in another. For instance, I have read that in certain indigenous societies there was a practice of torturing a captured enemy, and of making that torture public. It was said that for these warriors, to bear this torture well was looked on as an opportunity to prove their courage, their inner invincibility, and their worth in the physical and spiritual realms, to themselves as well as to their enemy, and also to the one they knew as Creator.
Now the last thing that I want to condone is torture, because I think that in this society it is used in an altogether cowardly way that arises from an extreme and hidden impotence, and a failure of honor.
But what I’m getting at is that these scenarios can be seen in many different lights, and the light that would reign in a society that is dedicated to truth would be, I’m sure, unimaginable to probably any of us in this society, in this time. It would literally change everything. What an incredible challenge it would be, to create such a society.