"People like to say that the conflict is between good and evil. The real conflict is between truth and lies." ~ Miguel Angel Ruiz
People lie because we can control what we create. Lies can be controlled because we create them. The truth is not created by us and cannot. People fear a lack of control.
Happiness and unhappiness are produced entirely by the truth of our reality. Not the other way around. Therefore, the conflict cannot be between happiness and unhappiness, they are not fundamental, but are just by products. Now as to the liar, the liar is a strange and sad creature, who wants to make the world appear to the lied to in a certain way so as to control.
You can't control someone with the truth. You can't offer someone the truth then tell them to ignore it and follow you instead. Unless they are stupid or brainwashed and have no will of their own. In order to control, you have to take their choices away from them. You can do that with a lie, but not with the truth. Even if the truth only provides one choice, it is still a choice given to them.
What about a lie that prevents hurt? Nothing prevents hurt. Only delays it. Best to get the band-aid ripped off in one go instead of peeling it off slowly.
Happiness is the goal, we pick our way through dualities in pursuit of happiness, we lie or tell the truth in pursuit of happiness. Our conflicts come in trying to steer our way towards happiness—the route being sometimes difficult to recognize so we often take a miss-step and hurt ourselves.
Everything we do is to avoid fear and suffering. It is assumed happiness will lie at the end of that path, but it is not guaranteed. Happiness is solely an individual pursuit. There is no such thing as society sharing one unified happiness. But society can share in lies and truths. The happiness conflict is an internal which one may or may not have. The lie/truth conflict is ongoing and universal to the species. We don’t get a say in whether we are truly happy or not. We hope and work for the best, but in the end, it’s the universe’s decision. We get to live to the outcome. The world may take our wishes into account, but bet all your hopes on that.
Truth and lies are concepts totally moralized when it goes beyond to serve our purposes. Happiness and sadness are even more subjective than good and evil because no one can make a value judgement on what is happy and what is sad except the individual; this conflict is completely internalized.
Happiness has never been my prime motivator in any sense. Survival, achievement, contentment, satisfaction, maybe. But these don’t automatically equate to happiness. The pursuit of happiness is a human-centric notion that only serves as a form of mental masturbation in my opinion. You are either happy or you are not. Actively seeking happiness just means you are UNHAPPY. It's doesn't mean you will ever GET happy.
If look at nature you find a lot of animals that pretend (lie) to be something else in order to catch their preys. Why should man be different from that? In the long run, no one else cares if you are happy or not besides your immediate friends or family. Maybe. But everyone wants the truth. Any truth.