Posted by: zhak39 | May 2, 2009


You know I hate, detest, and can’t bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me. There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies – which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world – what I want to forget. It makes me miserable and sick, like biting something rotten would do.” (Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness)

Deception makes me sad.  When I  decide that someone is credible, that someone is my friend and we have built up trust, having less than a truthful relationship really disturbs me.  It’s the vulnerability, the idea that ‘finally, I don’t have to be ever vigilant, we are on common ground’ then that ground crumbles.  Yes, I know there are a lot of reasons that people fudge the truth and there are any number of ways of dancing around an issue.  Certainly some people would not count it as a lie when a piece of the truth is edited, a defining point suppressed.  Perhaps this is done as a kindness, to save face or avoid a confrontation.  The motivation may be out of caring and protectiveness.  I get that.

Perhaps I am more sensitive to lies of omission because of the years I have been playing out a lifestyle which I chose based on half-truths and insinuations.  Later  I learned that everyone else involved knew that the information forming the foundation of my choices was rotten. Every one of them sat by listening to a tale made of bare thread and thin air and gave no indication that the emperor (or empress) was going to be buck naked. It wasn’t their business, it wasn’t in their interest to intercede.  Their inaction gave substance to the deception.  They were not my friends; I was mistaken in thinking they would volunteer to act in my support out of fairness. I was foolish.  I  don’t like to be the fool.

Today I stopped at a friend’s house to drop off a book.  She wasn’t there so I spoke with her husband.  We chatted about this and that, kids, hobbies, the like.  Then it happened.  He said something to me that was not a lie specifically.  It was just the truth omitting a salient detail.  And he did it so easily.  He was relaxed, not a hitch in his voice, looking straight in my eyes.

I left feeling terribly foolish.

I had a talk with my sister some weeks ago about the nature of our existence.  I do believe that our lives are largely an illusion and we create much of what we perceive.  It is always a shock to me though to see how thin reality is.  I can build it up and make it seem solid, I can interact with it and it reacts in predictable ways.  But really, is it waves or particles?  Or is it particles that think as waves?

It is no wonder that I dream of sidewinders and copperheads.  It is not surprising that in my dreams I enter houses, beautiful mansions or shacks, Bauhaus style apartments, luxurious rooms then snakes come up through the floor boards, strike through windows, drop from chandeliers.   This no longer fazes me, these nocturnal meanderings among flagstones and dusty paths with lean and writhing hissing reptiles looking at me with their glittering eyes.  After all, the greatest deception is that there is such thing as Truth; in truth, it is just smoke with no warming fire.


  1. I so know this feeling! I detest liars!

  2. There are so many differences in intent and I believe the motivation is central. Vile liars wish to harm while fudgers may want to self-protect or avoid hurt feelings short term. The gut feeling though when the veneer is peeled has a domino effect. How long has the charade been going on and who else is in on the joke? How can I be so stupid, how deep does it go? It is diminishing.

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