Yeah, another misconception about a common human thing:
The act, any act, cannot be immoral by itself until it is merged with intent. That is why we don’t apply moral standards to animals.
Wikipedia is so wrong here. Lying can be done without the intention to deceit.
In brief, lying is a form of manipulation and manipulation is always a two player game. They say manipulation is always done with the agreement of the victim. Agreement, not consent.
Deceit on the other hand removes this agreement as it presents an alternate reality, the deceiving one, the illusion inside the illusion.
The act of lying is about manipulating through distorting reality. But it is important to discern which reality: the visceral reality or the shared reality. The border between the visceral reality and the shared reality is called privacy.
Where does lying stop and deceit begin?
Deceit begins where intimacy ends.
Honesty is possible only after you communicate clearly where your privacy line is drawn, that is where your intimacy begins.
Sincerity is scalpel sharp because it is revealing by brute force what privacy keeps cloaked and intimacy pampers. That is why it should be used just like a scalpel: to cut off the diseased soul or open up pathways for caring.
Each person has their own scale and scope of their intimacy. That is why privacy is so complicated, but not complex. Privacy is a moving line and it depends on so many things.
Trauma creates a web of privacy lines and hence a fibrosis of intimacy, which is why psychoanalysis is a lifelong procedure, not process. Repeated trauma, intimacy cirrhosis.
Because most of people are sane and want social acceptance, and exceptions found in the mentally ill or sociopaths rarely influence averages, I can even go as far as to make a list of probability split between probably deceitful, and probably not deceitful lies.
Probably not deceitful lies: Bad faith, Economical with the truth, Exaggeration, Fib, Half-truth, Honest lie, Jocose lie, Lie-to-children, Minimization, Noble lie, Pathological lie, Polite lie and butler lie, White lie.
Probably deceitful lies: Barefaced lie, Big lie, Bluffing, Bullshit, Contextual lie, Defamation, Deflecting, Fabrication, Fraud, Lying by omission, Lying in trade, Memory hole, Misleading and dissembling, Perjury, Puffery, Speaking with forked tongue, Weasel word.
I would be curious if this idea holds in the future: sociopathy is a personality type not a personality disorder. A sociopath simply has nutshell sized intimacy.
Accepting our averageness and stepping away from the stupid inoculation with perfection and ideal, from beauty to brains, from courage to love, will allow a wider embracing of lies as actions and make us all more receptive to intent. But as we are in general locked into expecting perfection and ideal, days, people, experiences, weather, whatever, we’re numb to intent and rough in our attempts to classify interaction.
So, coming back to the main idea, lying is moral, deceit isn’t. As long as we’re in the realm of intimacy and resist privacy breaking incursions we’re on moral ground. Sure, like anything there are exceptions to the rule to document, but averages are what will always survive and move the story forward.