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WE ARE ALL LIARS BY NATURE?

September 8, 2008

We are natural-born liars,  studies seem to claim:

Deception runs like a red thread throughout all of human history. It sustains literature, from Homer’s wily Odysseus to the biggest pop novels of today. Go to a movie, and odds are that the plot will revolve around deceit in some shape or form. Perhaps we find such stories so enthralling because lying pervades human life. Lying is a skill that wells up from deep within us, and we use it with abandon. As the great American observer Mark Twain wrote more than a century ago: “Everybody lies … every day, every hour, awake, asleep, in his dreams, in his joy, in his mourning. If he keeps his tongue still his hands, his feet, his eyes, his attitude will convey deception.” Deceit is fundamental to the human condition.

I like this part about two small kids being observed as the game is played:

Mel dug furiously with her bare hands to extract the large succulent corm from the rock-hard Ethiopian ground. It was the dry season and food was scarce. Corms are edible bulbs somewhat like onions and are a staple during these long, hard months. Little Paul sat nearby and surreptitiously observed Mel’s labors. Paul’s mother was out of sight; she had left him to play in the grass, but he knew she would remain within earshot in case he needed her. Just as Mel managed, with a final pull, to yank her prize out of the earth, Paul let out an ear-splitting cry that shattered the peace of the savannah. His mother rushed to him. Heart pounding and adrenaline pumping, she burst upon the scene and quickly sized up the situation: Mel had obviously harassed her darling child. Shrieking, she stormed after the bewildered Mel, who dropped the corm and fled. Paul’s scheme was complete. After a furtive glance to make sure nobody was looking, he scurried over to the corm, picked up his prize and began to eat. The trick worked so well that he used it several more times before anyone wised up.

It’s not just in humans.  In other animals too, insects, plants.  It’s a proven passport to success, so it claims.  Now, I see.

From now on, I am changing my tack.

But wait, here’s the controversial part:

…despite appearances, it is not the conscious mind that decides to perform an action: the decision is made unconsciously. Although our consciousness likes to take the credit (so to speak), it is merely informed of unconscious decisions after the fact. This study and others like it suggest that we are systematically deluded about the role consciousness plays in our lives. Strange as it may seem, consciousness may not do any-thing except display the results of unconscious cognition.

Read more

Image from thadguy.com. Thanks.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Renato Pacifico permalink
    September 8, 2008 11:56 pm

    We are liars because no one believe the saying “The truth shall set you free”

    In real world the truth do not set us free but a good lawyer does

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