Let’s All Lie Together

I don’t know when, or if there was a specific time, we all came to accept a low degree of honesty in politics. Across the board, in all ages that we have records for, people in power have lied to the people they rule. And the people they rule, in the majority, don’t seem to care.

Maybe we would all lie in the same situation. Maybe we feel if you have political enemies you cannot tell the whole truth because that would give them power over you. Gandhi always told the facts as he saw them and we respect his name above many, many others.

The fact is politicians were liars long before they went into politics and they were lied to by everyone all their lives, as we all are. Human beings are not truthful animals and that, sadly, is the foundation on all the problems we face in the world. It underpins our economics, our politics, are society for what you see around you – that is what you get when millions of people lie to each other every day.

Lying Is An Art

There is a long discussion going on at Linked-In, The economist group about an article on lying in which the demarcation line seems to be drawn by many people that lying is bad, telling the truth good and we always have a choice which to choose. Indeed I now read human beings do not need to lie in order to survive.

This is such a narrow view of what we should term ‘falsehood’ to get rid of pejorative values and the incessant concentration on what one person says to another. The reason for the narrowness of the discussion is the way in which we are condition to make moral judgments, and how we lie to ourselves as to our own estimation of our individual ethical codes.

Lets be straight forward here, human beings could not have survived without lying. To hunt and trap animals you must be able to hide your intentions and you must be able to fool the animal. To win a war you must be able to set ambushes and out-think the enemy and part of that is to mislead the enemy. To do business you must often hide your intentions and always hide the true cost of goods to yourself so you can make a profit without asking the buyer if they think the profit margin is fair.

Our history is one of lying ‘for a cause’. Humanity is full to bursting with such causes.


The terror in Western history is associated with the time in the French Revolution when the guillotine was used to murder around a thousand people. But terror has a far longer and more unsavoury history in human society. It has been a determinate for change and one of the factors behind our need for Community.

To be a naked human being alone in this world is to be one of the most vulnerable animals on the face of the Earth with no sharp teeth, no claws and no skills that give us mastery of one particular environment. It’s a strange place for any animal to have evolved into, unless early on to protect itself it had other avenues available to it, and we had each other and brains that were slowly manipulating the world around us.

But a vast amount of the those tools we made are, were and will be, weapons. It is testament to the difficult Universe in which we live that we can be killed so easily. Even many clothes are merely protection from the elements, and shoes protect one of the most vulnerable and yet useful parts of our motive system. To be so weak in the face of such strength from other life, must have instilled wariness, caution and justifiable fear into all of us.

And yet we have become the most fearsome animal of all, and our terror today lies in the fear we have for each other. Fear that become hatred. In the past we have dealt with animals we do not like by taking them to extinction. We would do well to remember that is our default position, when considering with whom we are enemies.

Hamlet And The Lars Larson Show

I remember when we were studying Hamlet at school our master asking us to list all the people who died in the play and then asking us if it would have been better if Hamlet had said and done nothing. It was a hard question because we could all see from the plot it is Hamlet’s indecisiveness that causes one death after another, but when he does act peremptorily he kills the wrong man and he perpetrates an act of pure cruelty towards Ophelia in rejecting her because she is a woman.

I remember at college saying (the way only idiot nineteen years olds can) that it is not always necessary to be victorious or have a name in one’s own lifetime, if one says something that strikes a chord with another human being in a thousand years time then one has been successful. Ideas after all, live for as long as they can pass from one mind to another and all my ideas are in my books, which live until they turn to dust.

I have now been asked to appear on the Lars Larson Show next week. It is a big break. He has many listeners. He is syndicated across America. And yet I wonder if my book about lying will change anything or anyone or if I am just talking to people who will not be born for another nine hundred and fifty years.

I am Just Delighted


The Most Brilliant Book Ever Written!
By Daniel Nanavati
106 pp. CreateSpace $8

I expected A Brief History of Lies to be whimsical, and it is—and funny, too, with delightful British humor. But it’s also, philosophical and … surprisingly wise. If it appears simple at first glance, that’s deceptive.

Nanavati lives in Cornwall, UK, where he writes children’s books, novels, plays, film scripts, and poetry. Impressive! I find all that hard to believe, but would an author who writes about liars, lie on his own book cover? Probably not.

Nanavati astutely assesses the lies we tell and why. Yes, we, as in you, too. If you say you don’t lie, you’re lying to yourself. We all lie to ourselves, says Nanavati. If you’re honest, you’ll acknowledge that you lie—many times daily, even to those we love most. And sometimes we want to be lied to, as well.

The book provides a lengthy list of the various types of lies, which are legion. You’ll recognize them all, and that you’ve committed most. I’ve committed all but perjury, pathological and vindictive lies … well, possibly a vindictive lie once in childhood.

The book is about politicians and lies, lovers and lies, kids learning to lie, lies told in war and business—of which Nanavati says, “Without lying there would be no war and business would always be good. Business is war without the bloodshed…” Nanavati makes no judgment toward us lying humans—it’s evolutionary, he says. Survival based.

His list of behaviors of liars is telling. Have you noticed someone “mirroring” your words to answer your question? Be suspicious.

“Did you eat the last cookie?”
“No, I did not eat the last cookie.”
I’d love to quote examples of Nanvati’s take on human nature and the rationale he gives for lying—especially the politicians—but they’d suffer out of the larger context. You’ll enjoy it better following Nanavati’s irreverent, satirical, logical, thought-provoking, albeit homespun path on your own. (Reviewed by Ruth Douillette)

Lie for Votes

Politics is a best lie game. The reasons for this are many but stem mainly from the very business of leadership.

Leadership requires either you have a dictatorial relationship with those you lead or you rule through  consensus. If dictatorial you don’t mind what you do or say, your aim is to maintain your leadership. If you did not mind whether or not you maintained your leadership you would not be a dictatorial leader.

If you rule through consensus then you will have competing opponents wanting your position, and they will stop at nothing to get it. Only in crises have there ever been unity Governments and they do not usually last that long. This level of infighting produces the need to lie because the truth would destabilise one’s position.

The lies though are not just given to one’s opponents but to everyone. Even those to whom you have no real reason to lie, the voters. The only time you have to lie to them is about your intentions at election times.  The adversarial nature of politics in the Western world makes people lean more to lying than not. But as with all lying this means they lie to themselves as well, as seen in the greatest lie given by leaders today; that capitalism can continue unabated to swallow up the resources of the world in ever increasing quantities.

They are so terrified of losing power, they are allowing people to go headless into chaos.

If We Lie To

our children they will grow up to lie to us.

It is a curious fact about people who habitually lie that they expect to always be told the truth. I am not sure if this is because their lies are never thought out, it is just the way they are and they are so used to being that way they have long since ceased to think about themselves as liars; or because they are pig-headed enough to believe no one sees through their lies. What is obvious is that they have learned to get by in life by lying.

And their children hear them and are quite able to separate the truth from the lies and that becomes part of their education. Why then should liars not expect their children to lie to them? Why should it be a surprise?

Added to this we all lie to our children thinking we are not lying but creating some kind of childhood for them. It is always a shock to know Santa Claus does not exist whatever age it is we learn it. There is something wonderful in our childhood imaginations that good overcomes evil and there are recognizably good and evil people. Nothing is farther from the truth. The simplistic world we teach to our children is not the real world at all.

But maybe it is the world we all long to be living in?

To Lie Out Of Love

Why do we lie to those are love the most?

There are long lists of what we will not say to those we love stretching from lying about liking their family members to lying about who we find sexy.

Are we scared? Embarrassed? Unsure? Or do we shy away from those things where we know conflict will arise and it is better to have a steady, calm relationship instead of one where certain topics can never be mentioned.  Do we worry that if we say anything forever-and-a-day after, anything broaching the subject will illicit a response from our partner such as ‘well we know not to go there’, or even worse the snatched look of worry.

Do any or all of these lies amount to much? If they are to keep the peace and ensure we do not hurt our partner what is the harm? Probably none, unless your partner is well aware you are hiding something. Lies after all, leave their mark on our faces and in our manner and after years together if your partner does not notice the tiniest changes in your mien then they are simply not paying attention. And if they love you they should be paying attention.

This is the person with whom you should be able to talk about anything. With whom you should be vulnerable and yet safe. But in the back of your mind is the uncertainty that they will not love you enough to understand.  The uncertainty that to speak of these things is to take trust onto a new level, a level you have not tested before and you do not know if the love will hold.

It is so much easier to lie than to take a chance.

A Brief History Of Lies:

Paperback black and white, 100 pages with 8 cartoons. $8.00
ISBN 1449963277
EAN-13 9781449963279

Published 14th February 2010.


Long Ago And Close By

Have you ever wondered when the first lie might have been given? Several religions have exactly this moment in their myths and many, many stories about the paradigm of a liar, or the waywardness of a lie itself.

Human beings may be evolved to lie. Although not all experts are convinced of the research carried out in 2005 and the additional research done on this subject by the same team in 2009. There is a division of opinion as to whether this research shows anything that overturns the strongly held understanding that we are habituated to lie. It is something we learn young and reinforce throughout our growth to adulthood by which time it is second nature.

Though in some studies done with apes researches did notice that even they will try to transfer the blame for something onto someone else. Although I am not sure stealing food is a good or useful aspect of living to draw conclusions from as the urge to eat is very, very strong. Even my dogs will steal some food and when found out hang their heads and ‘scoot real quick’. There may well come the day when they evolve to look up and not scoot and pretend it wasn’t them at all.

There is probably a dual answer here in that we are evolved to be able to lie and we use that ability and habituate ourselves to lying.  So much so that we lie without conscience.

War and Business

We all know lies in War are almost a necessity and certainly a very useful weapon in their own right. It also makes a lot more money than the straight truth would for business people. Just think if you proposed a law that everything sold to you had to carry two prices, the price the seller paid for it and the price they want from you. Making it up to you to decide if the profit is acceptable.

Not going to happen is it? Wonder what business people are afraid of? You knowing too much.

That’s why lies in War are so useful, because you need to camouflage everything to get the better of your enemy. To make money you have to ‘never give a sucker an even break’. So good are business people at fooling us Governments have to pass Laws to keep them in check. And in War there have been long discussions about ‘Just’ ways to pursue a war.

Money is not an ethical system nor is war but we are ethical animals and we try to instill ethics in both and we fail. War is ritualised murder and money is the converting of the ‘free’ resources of the planet into the owned assets of the few. Completely ignoring the facts that no one owns anything, we are all stewards of the planet and will pass it on to the next generation, and that in fighting each other, as DNA now shows, we are fighting our cousins. All wars have been civil wars. All money is ignorant exploitation.

Why Do We Lie

So many reasons so few worthy of us. But maybe they are all worthy of us because this is our nature. To lie to cover up our true intentions; our embarrassment; our mistakes; purposely to mislead; to make money; to keep lovers; to maintain others’ views of us; to protect someone else.

Lies are our own camouflage every bit as useful as those used in war. Better than clothes which wear out, the facade we create with lies even fools us. For with every lie we give,we lie to ourselves as well. With every lie we try to redraw the Universe to our own version of it and we fail, but we often fool.

As a wise person said, you can go anywhere with lies but you can never go back.

A Brief History Of Lies will be published on 14th February 2010.

The Software Is There

. . .  if you have the will to use it. Having spent a day, less than two weeks before publication, completely changing how the software deals with the typography of A Brief History Of Lies but aiming for same finished result, pressure of time and getting it right coalesce. This is the point where determination takes over from the time available to finish the book.

Not only would these changes make the book a more effective piece of changeable data, it will also eradicate small errors one can miss even with repeated edits. But it means a whole new version and everything to be redone.

That said it is the way to learn and it will make all the other books to be published in the next two years better and it is essential to get the first book one is publishing right because it will be a mark of the printed-standard, those invisible decisions on the ‘look’ and ‘style’  that readers only notice when they are not there, are vital.

But Oh! the work!

And, after all, what is a lie? ‘Tis but the truth in masquerade. Lord Byron

A Brief History Of Lies

A survey of a wicked, irreverent, serious, harmful, cruel and enjoyable (for some) side of human civilisation.
Including quotes on lies and lying (good, bad and indifferent) from famous people who should know better.

I wrote this book because of the new research carried out in 2005 and now improved by new results in 2009, about how our brains are naturally evolved to permit us to lie.


I decided a while back that the perfect way to complete A Brief History Of Lies would be to add some cartoons to the book. Nothing complicated simple black and white drawings – but humorous. Since one of my friends told me the book was ‘ a bit dark’ when talking about how we lie to ourselves I realized the quotes by the famous were not a light enough touch.

Not being able to draw I found it difficult to find anyone who could and wanted to, much less to do six or seven drawings for no up-front payment.  Just a share of the book sales. I wonder if that is because they have no faith in me at all to sell any just sitting here at my computer.

Anyway this week I hope finally to see some work, with this month as the month I wish to publish in and a ten day delivery time for any proofs I am hoping they are good. If they are not I have to start again because it is of no value to me or readers to publish something I am unhappy with to the smallest degree.

This is why if you self-publish you should have multiple skills. I am glad to be able to comprehend web page creation and typography but I wish I could draw…finding first rate artists to work on my children’s books is not going to be easy.  I have found a few excellent people on linked-in but they are all professionals and work for a good children’s fantasy could take as long as a year.

So a lot rides on A Brief Of Lies – and my acumen at marketing myself.

A Brief History Of Lies

This book started as an idea in December 2008. I thought at the time it would be a popularist book and that someone must have written something like it, but when I researched I found a lot of books on lies in particular areas and a few seriously academic books but nothing light-hearted, easy read with a punch. Why do we lie to others seems simple but why do we lie to ourselves? I finished the book in March 2009, Penguin kept it for four months before turning it down saying they could not publish enough copies to make it a viable project. So I am doing it myself through createspace, Amazon’s publish on demand outlet.

Whilst I can see this is useful as a way of being published I do not lose sight of the fact that the work must stand on its own two-feet, be of a standard, proof read and well edited and have a strong conceptual basis. POD is not a magic wand that will get one noticed, but it is a way of circumventing the wholly business orientated world of publishers and agents and the deeply corrupt way they do business. The last thing I need to do is edit in the cartoons.

I shall post for information in the coming days.

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