Things Before the New Year 3: Truth and Lies


We are reminded lately how many lies fill the air. This is no different, of course, except they can be spread faster, and in greater volume, than used to be the case. But the fact of a constant barrage of lies from outside, and to that person in the mirror, is nothing new. I’m looking at the new year as a time to wrestle with the issue of truth, lies and personal improvement.

What is your favorite thought about truth and lies? If you wish to share, please leave it in a comment. Please include the source. 

“It is much harder to lie to someone’s face.
It is also much harder to tell the truth to someone’s face.”
― David Levithan, Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”
–Flannery O’Conor

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”
― Virginia Woolf

“Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction.”
― Criss Jami

“Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is.”
― Barbara Bush

“Sarcasm is when you tell someone the truth by lying on purpose.”
― Chuck Klosterman, Downtown Owl

“Because instant and credible information has to be given, it becomes necessary to resort to guesswork, rumors and suppositions to fill in the voids, and none of them will ever be rectified, they will stay on in the readers’ memory. How many hasty, immature, superficial and misleading judgments are expressed every day, confusing readers, without any verification. The press can both simulate public opinion and miseducate it. Thus we may see terrorists heroized, or secret matters, pertaining to one’s nation’s defense, publicly revealed, or we may witness shameless intrusion on the privacy of well-known people under the slogan: “everyone is entitled to know everything.” But this is a false slogan, characteristic of a false era: people also have the right not to know, and it is a much more valuable one. The right not to have their divine souls stuffed with gossip, nonsense, vain talk. A person who works and leads a meaningful life does not need this excessive burdening flow of information.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“It’s not enough to be able to lie with a straight face; anybody with enough gall to raise on a busted flush can do that. The first way to lie artistically is to tell the truth — but not all of it. The second way involves telling the truth, too, but is harder: Tell the exact truth and maybe all of it…but tell it so unconvincingly that your listener is sure you are lying.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

“The biggest lie women tell themselves about men: When I get what I want, I will be happy.”
― Shannon L. Alder

“Was it necessary to tell me that you wanted nothing in the world but me?’

The corners of his mouth drooped peevishly.

Oh, my dear, it’s rather hard to take quite literally the things a man says when he’s in love with you.’

Didn’t you mean them?’

At the moment.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil

“Most people gaze neither into the past nor the future; they explore neither truth nor lies. They gaze at the television.”
― Radiohead

“Because we’ve been lied to and lied to, and it hurts to be lied to. It’s ultimately just about that complicated: it hurts. It denies you respect for yourself, for the liar, for the world. Especially if the lies are chronic, systemic, if hard experience seems to teach that everything you’re supposed to believe in’s really a game based on lies. Young Voters have been taught well and thoroughly. You may not personally remember Vietnam or Watergate, but it’s a good bet you remember ‘No new taxes’ and ‘Out of the loop’ and ‘No direct knowledge of any impropriety at this time’ and Did not inhale’ and ‘Did not have sex with that woman’ and etc. etc. It’s depressing and painful to believe that the would-be ‘public servants’ you’re forced to choose between are all phonies whose only real concern is their own care and feeding and who will lie so outrageously with such a straight face that you just know they have to believe you’re an idiot. So who wouldn’t fall all over themselves for a top politician who actually seemed to talk to you like you were a person, an intelligent adult worthy of respect?”
― David Foster Wallace, The Best American Essays 2007

2 Replies to “Things Before the New Year 3: Truth and Lies”

  1. Why lie at all, even the smallest lie can hurt deeply forever. I have always been told my eyes would give me away I could never tell a lie, also you have to have a good memory if you lie. Maybe the truth hurts at times but its the truth that you can cope with.

    Liked by 1 person

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