The intention makes the lie, not the words. A lie would have no sense unless the truth was felt dangerous. Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it is outraged by silence. The cruelest lies are often told in silence. The simple act of any ordinary courageous man is not to take part, not to support lies! Speak the truth and shame the devil.
The great enemy of truth is often not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth -persistent, persuasive, and realistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. The history of the race, and each individual’s experiences, are thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and a lie told well is immortal.
An unexciting truth may be eclipsed by a thrilling lie. There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies, and statistics. When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest. In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king. Lies – there you have the religion of slaves and taskmasters. Truth is the god of the free man. The world wants to be betrayed.
What hope is there when people, even in front of the evidence, turn their head?
Lying is an elementary means of self-defense. But there are other things which a man is afraid to tell even himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind … a man’s true autobiography is almost an impossibility…man is bound to lie about himself. No one can tell the whole truth about himself. It is not only vanity that has prevented those who have tried to reveal themselves to the world from telling the whole truth, it is the direction of interest; their disappointment with themselves, their surprise that they can do things that seem to them abnormal, make them place too great an emphasis on occurrences that are more common than they suppose. The easiest person to deceive is one’s self. If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people. You can deceive those better than you but not your peers.