Friday, May 7, 2010

The Art of Lying

The secret to a good lie, not like the ones you throw out at your parents as a child, where you blame the broken vase on 'Emily', your invisible friend, is truth.

I think we all know this, but maybe we don't really think about it all that much. A liar, someone who is good at it, who can convince people of things that are not real, make them do things that they wouldn't normally do, knows that a lie cannot be made up entirely. There must be pieces of the truth woven through it. That's what gives the lie weight and form and stability.

And the *more* truth that you can weave into your lie, the more realistic and stable it becomes. It is a skill, to lie well. Some liars even fall into the trap where they begin to believe their own lies to be true, and they become delusional. But most, most just live in a carefully constructed world where reality is just a step or two to the side of what they tell everyone it is.

So, I can hear you saying, what does that have to do with anything?

Well. Look at it this way. I'm talking about *human* liars. We're (however clever we may be), limited by our very humanness. I've (and this is not an admission I take any pride in), convinced people of many, many things that were blatantly not true. I'm *good* at weaving reality and fiction together so that other people can't tell them apart. It's a skill that I don't use anymore, of course, but it's one that I possess. It's *fun*, and it makes you feel clever and powerful, and you get what you want. But that's all human stuff.

What about the Father of Lies?

Do you think that he doesn't know all of that, and more? The best lie, the most self-sustaining lie, is the one that contains truth. It makes it harder to distinguish from truth. It makes it take on a life of it's own, because then it's so easy to point to the ones who think just that *fraction* differently (of course most of the time it's a much larger difference), and say that *they're* the ones who've been lied to. Or that they're perpetuating a lie, knowingly.

And who benefits from all this? It's certainly not us. It's not God.

Just because something *seems* to be good, to point you toward God and the truth, doesn't necessarily mean that it does. You have to look at everything connected to it.

I maintain what I consider to be a healthy level of skepticism about miracles, and revelations. It *must* continue what was laid down before. It cannot just be a wind blowing from any direction. If it is not the same, it must be rejected.


  1. This is a very well written post.

    It does get hard to distinguish a lie from truth. A lie can seem so uplifting, positive, wonderful, but its still a lie. So how do you know the difference? Its a very relative question to myself at least. I have no idea how to tell the difference. And that is a big problem when you are in between religions.

  2. Loved this! Very thought-provoking!

  3. LK,


    'So how do you know the difference?'

    That would be the 64 dollar question, wouldn't it?

    I know my answer. For me, at least, it involves more thinking than feeling. Emotions can lead us down the wrong path. While they can be a useful tool, they shouldn't lead us about by the nose.

  4. Good points. :) It is important to be careful and not swayed just by what feels right/good.

  5. I may well post something about this in the near future. For the moment:

    BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: I have now begun posting on my own blog! I invite you all to stop by :)

  6. Sanil,

    Yeah, and that's the hard part most of the time. Because we want to do what feels good. But sometimes, I think, our first impulses aren't the right ones. We have to stop and think.

  7. I have linked to this post here:


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