Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Editor's Note   
This originally appeared at Gaian Corps under "Lying to Children",
thus the occasional mention about lying to children.
  Lying: Detailed Definition  

  quote small left If a man could be described as a zoological type,
       he would be described as a lying animal.[1]
 quote small right

lies psychologyPeople pretend that they know all sorts of things:
     ■ about God,
     ■ about the future life,
     ■ about the universe,
     ■ about the origin of man,
     ■ about evolution,
     ■ about everything;
     ■ but in reality they do not know anything, even about themselves.

And every time they speak about something they do not know as though they knew it, they lie. [2]

[1] Gurdjieff in The Fourth Way, p. 38

[2]The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution p. 31

WIkipedia: Lie

Click for Contents   

1 Types
1.1 Bad faith
1.2 Barefaced lie
1.3 Big lie
1.4 Bluffing
1.5 Bullshit
1.6 Butler lie
1.7 Contextual lie
1.8 Cover-up
1.9 Deflecting
1.10 Delusions
1.11 Dismissal
1.12 Economical with the truth   
1.13 Exaggeration
1.14 Fabrication
1.15 Fib
1.16 Fraud
1.17 Half-truth
1.18 Haystack answer
1.19 Honest lie
1.20 Jocose lie
1.21 Lie-to-children
1.22 Lying by omission
1.23 Lying in trade
1.24 Minimisation
1.25 Misleading and dissembling
1.26 Noble lie
1.27 Omission
1.28 Pathological lie
1.29 Perjury
1.30 Polite lie
1.31 Puffery
1.32 Speaking with forked tongue
1.33 Weasel word
1.34 White lie
2 Consequences
3 Detection
4 Ethics
5 In other species
6 In culture

     6.1 Cultural references
     6.2 Fiction
     6.3 Literature

7 Paradoxes
8 Psychology
9 Religious perspectives

     9.1 Augustine's taxonomy
     9.2 In the Bible
     9.3 In Paganism
     9.4 In Zoroastrianism

10 Notes
■ See also
■ References
■ Further reading

lie is an intentionally false statement to a person or group made by another person or group who knows it is not the truth.[1] The practice of communicating lies is called lying, and a person who communicates a lie may be termed a liar.

Lies may be employed to serve a variety of instrumental, interpersonal, or psychological functions for the individuals who use them.

Generally, the term "lie" carries a negative connotation, and depending on the context a person who communicates a lie may be subject to social, legal, religious, or criminal sanctions.

In certain situations, however lying is permitted, expected, or even encouraged.

Because believing and acting on false information can have serious consequences, scientists and others have attempted to develop reliable methods for distinguishing lies from true statements.


Bad faith
Main articles: Bad faith (existentialism) and Bad faith
As defined by Sartre, "bad faith" is lying to oneself. Specifically, it is failing to acknowledge one's own ability to act and determine one's possibilities, falling back on the determinations of the various historical and current totalisations which have produced one as if they relieved one of one's freedom to do so.

Barefaced lie
A barefaced (or bald-faced) lie is one that is obviously a lie to those hearing it. The phrase comes from 17th-century British usage referring to those without facial hair as being seen as acting in an unconcealed or open way. A variation that has been in use almost as long is bold-faced lie, referring to a lie told with a straight and confident face (hence "bold-faced"), usually with the corresponding tone of voice and emphatic body language of one confidently speaking the truth. Bold-faced lie can also refer to misleading or inaccurate newspaper headlines, but this usage appears to be a more recent appropriation of the term.[2]

Big lie
Main article: Big lie
A lie which attempts to trick the victim into believing something major which will likely be contradicted by some information the victim already possesses, or by their common sense. When the lie is of sufficient magnitude it may succeed, due to the victim's reluctance to believe that an untruth on such a grand scale would indeed be concocted.

To bluff is to pretend to have a capability or intention one does not actually possess. Bluffing is an act of deception that is rarely seen as immoral when it takes place in the context of a game, such as poker, where this kind of deception is consented to in advance by the players. For instance, a gambler who deceives other players into thinking he has different cards to those he really holds, or an athlete who hints he will move left and then dodges right is not considered to be lying (also known as a feint or juke). In these situations, deception is acceptable and is commonly expected as a tactic.

Main article: Bullshit
Bullshit does not necessarily have to be a complete fabrication. While a lie is related by a speaker who believes what is said is false, bullshit is offered by a speaker who does not care whether what is said is true because the speaker is more concerned with giving the hearer some impression. Thus bullshit may be either true or false, but demonstrates a lack of concern for the truth which is likely to lead to falsehoods.[3]

Butler lie
A term coined by researchers in Cornell University's Social Media Lab that describes small/innate lies which are usually sent electronically, and are used to terminate conversations or to save face. For example sending an SMS to someone reading "I have to go, the waiter is here," when you are not at a restaurant is an example of a butler lie. A closely related concept is the "polite lie" (described below).[4]

Contextual lie
One can state part of the truth out of context, knowing that without complete information, it gives a false impression. Likewise, one can actually state accurate facts, yet deceive with them. To say "Yeah, that's right, I ate all the white chocolate, by myself," using sarcasm, a form of assertion by ridiculing the fact(s) implying the liar believes it to be preposterous.

See also: Streisand effect
A cover-up may be used to deny, defend or obfuscate one's own (or one's allies or group's) errors, one's embarrassing actions or lifestyle, and/or one's lie(s) that they made previously. One may deny a lie made on a previous occasion, or one may alternatively claim that a previous lie was not as egregious as it actually was. For example, to claim that a premeditated lie was really "only" an emergency lie, or to claim that a self-serving lie was really "only" a white lie or noble lie. Not to be confused with confirmation bias in which the deceiver is deceiving themselves.

Avoiding the subject that the lie is about, not giving attention to the lie. When attention is given to the subject the lie is based around deflectors ignore or refuse to respond. Skillful deflectors are passive-aggressive people, who when confronted with subject choose to ignore and not respond.[5]

Delusions are very similar to Deflections. Delusions are the tendency to see excuses as facts. This type of lie is very strong because it filters out the information that contradicts with what we choose to believe in. This type of lie is a way that we train our minds to see things the way that would make the most sense to react to our behavior to make oneself believe that the actions are acceptable.[6]

A dismissal lie can be one of the trickiest ones. Dismissing feelings, perceptions, raw facts of a situation as a kind of lie that can do damage to a person just as much as any other lie. Many mental disorders are linked to dismissal lies because they are dismissing their reality. A Psychologist R. D. Laing believes that this time of lie is common with in families of schizophrenics. Many children start out with a clear sense of reality, but then slowly start to loose their grasp due to meticulous and methodical dismissal. While some may not realize that just dismissing something can be considered a lie, if you dismiss something to often you are trying to change reality into something it is not causing your attention to be focused elsewhere and could be hurting others as more or more than a simple white lie.[7]

Economical with the truth
Main article: Economical with the truth
Economy with the truth is popularly used as a euphemism for deceit, whether by volunteering false information (i.e., lying) or by deliberately holding back relevant facts. More literally, it describes a careful use of facts so as not to reveal too much information, as in "speaking carefully".

Main article: Exaggeration
An exaggeration (or hyperbole) occurs when the most fundamental aspects of a statement are true, but only to a certain degree. It is also seen as "stretching the truth" or making something appear more powerful, meaningful, or real than it actually is. Saying that someone devoured most of something when they only ate half would be considered an exaggeration.

See also: Fabrication (science)
A fabrication is a lie told when someone submits a statement as truth, without knowing for certain whether or not it actually is true. Although the statement may be possible or plausible, it is not based on fact. Rather, it is something made up, or it is a misrepresentation of the truth. Examples of fabrication: A person giving directions to a tourist when the person doesn't actually know the directions. Often propaganda is fabrication.

A fib is a lie told with no malicious intent and little consequence. Unlike a white lie, fibs rarely include those lies or omissions that are meant to do good.

Main article: Fraud
Fraud refers to the act of inducing another person or people to believe a lie in order to secure material or financial gain for the liar. Depending on the context, fraud may subject the liar to civil or criminal penalties.

Main article: Half-truth
A half-truth is a deceptive statement that includes some element of truth. The statement might be partly true, the statement may be totally true but only part of the whole truth, or it may employ some deceptive element, such as improper punctuation, or double meaning, especially if the intent is to deceive, evade, blame or misrepresent the truth.[8]

Haystack answer
A haystack answer (or statement) is a volume of false or irrelevant information, possibly containing a true fact (the needle in the "haystack"). Even if the truth is included, it is difficult or impossible to detect and identify. In this way, the legendary Leprechaun hid his pot of gold,[9] even after it had been found.

Honest lie
Main article: Honest lie
An honest lie (or confabulation) can be identified by verbal statements or actions that inaccurately describe history, background, and present situations. There is generally no intent to misinform and the individual is unaware that their information is false. Because of this, it is not technically a lie at all since by definition, there must be an intent to deceive for the statement to be considered a lie.[10]

Jocose lie
Jocose (cf. jocular) lies are lies meant in jest, intended to be understood as such by all present parties. Teasing and irony are examples. A more elaborate instance is seen in some storytelling traditions, where the storyteller's insistence that the story is the absolute truth, despite all evidence to the contrary (i.e., tall tale), is considered humorous. There is debate about whether these are "real" lies, and different philosophers hold different views (see below).

The Crick Crack Club in London arrange a yearly "Grand Lying Contest" with the winner being awarded the coveted "Hodja Cup" (named for the Mulla Nasreddin: "The truth is something I have never spoken."). The winner in 2010 was Hugh Lupton. In the USA, the Burlington Liars' Club awards an annual title to the "World Champion Liar".

Main article: Lie-to-children
A lie-to-children is a lie, often a platitude, which may use euphemism(s), which is told to make an adult subject acceptable to children. Common examples include "The stork brought you" (in reference to childbirth) and the existence of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny.

Lying by omission
Also known as a continuing misrepresentation, a lie by omission occurs when an important fact is left out in order to foster a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. When the seller of a car declares it has been serviced regularly but does not tell that a fault was reported at the last service, the seller lies by omission. It can be compared to dissimulation.

Lying in trade
The seller of a product or service may advertise untrue facts about the product or service in order to gain sales, especially by competitive advantage. Many countries and states have enacted consumer protection laws intended to combat such fraud. An example is the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act that holds a seller liable for omission of any material fact that the buyer relies upon.

Main article: Minimisation (psychology)
Minimisation is the opposite of exaggeration. It is a type of deception[11] involving denial coupled with rationalization in situations where complete denial is implausible.

Misleading and dissembling
Main article: Misleading
A misleading statement is one where there is no outright lie, but still retains the purpose of getting someone to believe in an untruth. "Dissembling" likewise describes the presentation of facts in a way that is literally true, but intentionally misleading.

Noble lie
Main article: Noble lie
A noble lie is one that would normally cause discord if uncovered, but offers some benefit to the liar and assists in an orderly society, therefore, potentially beneficial to others. It is often told to maintain law, order and safety.

An Omission is when a person tells most of the truth, but leaves out a few key facts that therefore completely change the story.[12]

Pathological lie
Main article: Pathological lying
In psychiatry, pathological lying (also called compulsive lying, pseudologia fantastica and mythomania) is a behavior of habitual or compulsive lying.[13] [14] It was first described in the medical literature in 1891 by Anton Delbrueck.[14] Although it is a controversial topic,[14] pathological lying has been defined as "falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime".[13] The individual may be aware they are lying, or may believe they are telling the truth, being unaware that they are relating fantasies.

Main article: Perjury
Perjury is the act of lying or making verifiably false statements on a material matter under oath or affirmation in a court of law, or in any of various sworn statements in writing. Perjury is a crime, because the witness has sworn to tell the truth and, for the credibility of the court to remain intact, witness testimony must be relied on as truthful.

Polite lie
Main article: Polite lie
A polite lie is a lie that a politeness standard requires, and which is usually known to be untrue by both parties. Whether such lies are acceptable is heavily dependent on culture. A common polite lie in international etiquette is to decline invitations because of "scheduling difficulties."

Main article: Puffery
Puffery is an exaggerated claim typically found in advertising and publicity announcements, such as "the highest quality at the lowest price," or "always votes in the best interest of all the people." Such statements are unlikely to be true - but cannot be proven false and so do not violate trade laws, especially as the consumer is expected to be able to tell that it is not the absolute truth.

Speaking with forked tongue
The phrase "speaking with a forked tongue" means to deliberately say one thing and mean another or, to be hypocritical, or act in a duplicitous manner. In the longstanding tradition of many Native American tribes, "speaking with a forked tongue" has meant lying, and a person was no longer considered worthy of trust, once he had been shown to "speak with a forked tongue". This phrase was also adopted by Americans around the time of the Revolution, and may be found in abundant references from the early 19th century — often reporting on American officers who sought to convince the tribal leaders with whom they negotiated that they "spoke with a straight and not with a forked tongue" (as for example, President Andrew Jackson told the Creek Nation in 1829[15]) According to one 1859 account, the native proverb that the "white man spoke with a forked tongue" originated as a result of the French tactic of the 1690s, in their war with the Iroquois, of inviting their enemies to attend a Peace Conference, only to be slaughtered or captured.[16]

Weasel word
Main article: Weasel word
A weasel word is an informal term[17] for words and phrases aimed at creating an impression that a specific and/or meaningful statement has been made, when in fact only a vague or ambiguous claim has been communicated, enabling the specific meaning to be denied if the statement is challenged. A more formal term is equivocation.

White lie
White lies are minor lies which could be considered to be harmless, or even beneficial, in the long term. White lies are also considered to be used for greater good. A common version of a white lie is to tell only part of the truth, therefore not be suspected of lying, yet also conceal something else, to avoid awkward questions. White lies are also often used to shield someone from a hurtful or emotionally damaging truth, especially when not knowing the truth is completely harmless.


Once a lie has been told, there can be two alternative consequences: it may be discovered or remain undiscovered.

Under some circumstances, discovery of a lie may discredit other statements by the same speaker and can lead to social or legal sanctions against the speaker, such as ostracizing or conviction for perjury. When a lie is discovered, the state of mind and behavior of the lie teller (liar) is no longer predictable.

The discoverer of a lie may also be convinced or coerced to collaborate with the liar, becoming part of a conspiracy. They may actively propagate the lie to other parties, actively prevent the lie's discovery by other parties, or simply omit publicizing the lie (a secondary lie of omission).


     Main article: Lie detection

Some people may be better "lie detectors" than others, better able to distinguish a lie by facial expression, cadence of speech, certain movements, and other methods. According to David J. Lieberman, PhD, in Never Be Lied to Again: How to Get the Truth in Five Minutes or Less in Any Conversation or Situation, these methods can be learned. Some methods of questioning may be more likely to elicit the truth, for instance: "When was the last time you smoked marijuana?" (a leading question) is more likely to get a truthful answer than "Do you smoke pot?" Asking the question most likely to get the information you want is a skill and can be learned. Avoiding vague questioning will help avoid lies of omission or vagueness.

The question of whether lies can reliably be detected through nonverbal means is a subject of some controversy.

  • Polygraph "lie detector" machines measure the physiological stress a subject endures in a number of measures while he/she gives statements or answers questions. Spikes in stress are purported to indicate lying. The accuracy of this method is widely disputed, and in several well-known cases it was proven to have been deceived. Nonetheless, it remains in use in many areas, primarily as a method for eliciting confessions or employment screening. Polygraph results are not admissible as court evidence and are generally perceived to be pseudoscience.
  • Various truth drugs have been proposed and used anecdotally, though none are considered very reliable. The CIA attempted to find a universal "truth serum" in the MK-ULTRA project, but it was an overall failure.
  • A recent study found that lying takes longer than telling the truth, and thus the time to answer a question may be used as a method of lie detection. However, it has also been shown that instant-answers can be proof of a prepared lie. The only compromise is to try to surprise the victim and find a midway answer, not too quick, nor too long.[18]

Dr. Paul Ekman and Dr. Maureen O'Sullivan spent several decades studying people's ability to spot deception in a study called the Wizards Project. They studied police officers, psychologists, judges, lawyers, the CIA, FBI and the Secret Service. After studying nearly 20,000 people, they identified just over 50 people who can spot deception with great accuracy.

Dr. Freitas-Magalhaes developed the ForensicPsy and the Psy7Faces to read lies by facial expressions.


Aristotle believed no general rule on lying was possible, because anybody who advocated lying could never be believed, he said.[19] The philosophers St. Augustine, as well as St. Thomas Aquinas and Immanuel Kant, condemned all lying.[20] However, Thomas Aquinas also had an argument for lying. According to all three, there are no circumstances in which one may ethically lie. Even if the only way to protect oneself is to lie, it is never ethically permissible to lie even in the face of murder, torture, or any other hardship. Each of these philosophers gave several arguments against lying, all compatible with each other. Among the more important arguments are:

  1. Lying is a perversion of the natural faculty of speech, the natural end of which is to communicate the thoughts of the speaker.
  2. When one lies, one undermines trust in society.

Meanwhile, Utilitarian philosophers have supported lies which achieve good outcomes—white lies.[20] In his 2008 book How to Make Good Decisions and Be Right All the Time, Iain King suggested a credible rule on lying was possible, and defined it as: "Deceive only if you can change behaviour in a way worth more than the trust you would lose, were the deception discovered (whether the deception actually is exposed or not)."[21]

In Human, All Too Human, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche suggested that those who refrain from lying may do so only because of the difficulty involved in maintaining the lie. This is consistent with his general philosophy that divides (or ranks) people according to strength and ability; thus, some people tell the truth only out of weakness.

In other species

The capacity to lie has also been claimed to be possessed by non-humans in language studies with great apes. In one instance, gorilla Koko, when asked who tore a sink from the wall, pointed to one of her handlers and then laughed.[22] Deceptive body language, such as feints that mislead as to the intended direction of attack or flight, is observed in many species including wolves. A mother bird deceives when it pretends to have a broken wing to divert the attention of a perceived predator — including unwitting humans — from the eggs in its nest to itself, most notably the killdeer.[23]

In culture

Cultural references

  • Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio was a wooden puppet often led into trouble by his propensity to lie. His nose grew with every lie; hence, long noses have become a caricature of liars.
  • A famous anecdote by Parson Weems claims that George Washington once cut a cherry tree over when he was a small child. His father asked him who cut the cherry tree and Washington confessed his crime with the words: "I'm sorry, father, I cannot tell a lie." The anecdote has been proven to be a completely fictional story.
  • The Boy Who Cried Wolf, a fable attributed to Aesop about a boy who continually lies a wolf is coming. When a wolf does appear nobody believes him anymore.
  • The Sky Is Falling, similar to The Boy Who Cried Wolf, is the story of Chicken Little, an alarmist little chicken who claims that the sky is falling. This differs from The Boy Who Cried Wolf in that Chicken Little's fabrication is the result of a misinterpretation of the facts which he believes to be true.
  • To Tell the Truth was the originator of a genre of game shows with 3 contestants claiming to be a person only one of them is.
  • Glenn Kessler, a journalist at The Washington Post, awards one to four Pinocchios to politicians in his Washington Post Fact Checker blog.[24]

The cliché "All is fair in love and war"[25] [26] finds justification for lies used to gain advantage in these situations. Sun Tzu declared that "All warfare is based on deception." Machiavelli advised in The Prince "never to attempt to win by force what can be won by deception," and Thomas Hobbes wrote in Leviathan: "In war, force and fraud are the two cardinal virtues."


  • In the film Big Fat Liar, the story producer Marty Wolf (a notorious and proud liar himself) steals from student Jason Shepard, tells of a character whose lies become out of control to the point where each lie he tells causes him to grow in size.
  • In the film Liar Liar, the lawyer Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey) cannot lie for 24 hours, due to a wish of his son that magically came true.
  • In the 1985 film Max Headroom, the title character comments that one can always tell when a politician lies because "their lips move." The joke has been widely repeated and rephrased.
  • Larry-Boy! And the Fib from Outer Space! was a story of a crime Fighting Super-Hero with Super-Suction ears, having to stop an alien calling himself "Fib" from destroying the town of Bumblyburg due to the lies which caused Fib to grow. Telling The Truth is the moral to this story.
  • Lie to Me, a TV series based on behavior analysts who read lies through facial expressions and body language. The protagonists, Dr. Cal Lightman and Dr. Gillian Foster are based on the above-mentioned Dr. Paul Ekman and Dr. Maureen O'Sullivan.
  • The Invention of Lying is a 2009 movie depicting the fictitious invention of the first lie, starring Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, and Tina Fey.
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen tell the story about an 18th-century baron who tells outrageous, unbelievable stories, which he claims are all true.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O has Urataros who claims that "one lie is better than ten thousand truths."


Sir Walter Scott's famous couplet "Oh, what a tangled web we weave / When first we practise to deceive!" describes the often difficult procedure of covering up a lie so that it is not detected in the future.


Within any scenario where only "yes" or "no" answers are accepted, a person who we know is consistently lying would "paradoxically" be a source of truth if "yes" is sometimes the correct answer. There are many such paradoxes, the most famous being known as the liar paradox, commonly expressed as "This sentence is a lie," or "This sentence is false." The so-called Epimenides paradox ("All Cretans are liars," as stated by Epimenides the Cretan) is a forerunner of this, though its status as a paradox is disputed. A class of related logic puzzles are known as knights and knaves, in which the goal is to determine who, in a group of people, is lying and who is telling the truth.


The capacity to lie is noted early and nearly universally in human development. Social psychology and developmental psychology are concerned with the theory of mind, which people employ to simulate another's reaction to their story and determine if a lie will be believable. The most commonly cited milestone, what is known as Machiavellian intelligence, is at the age of about four and a half years, when children begin to be able to lie convincingly. Before this, they seem simply unable to comprehend why others do not see the same view of events that they do — and seem to assume that there is only one point of view, which is their own.

Young children learn from experience that stating an untruth can avoid punishment for misdeeds, before they develop the theory of mind necessary to understand why it works. In this stage of development, children will sometimes tell outrageous and unbelievable lies, because they lack the conceptual framework to judge whether a statement is believable, or even to understand the concept of believability.

When children first learn how lying works, they lack the moral understanding of when to refrain from doing it. This takes years of watching people tell lies, and the results of these lies, to develop a proper understanding. Propensity to lie varies greatly between children, some doing so habitually and others being habitually honest. Habits in this regard are likely to change in early adulthood.

Those with Parkinson's disease show difficulties in deceiving others, difficulties that link to prefrontal hypometabolism. This suggests a link between the capacity for dishonesty and integrity of prefrontal functioning.[27] Pseudologia fantastica is a term applied by psychiatrists to the behavior of habitual or compulsive lying. Mythomania is the condition where there is an excessive or abnormal propensity for lying and exaggerating.[28] A recent study found that lying takes longer than telling the truth.[18] Or, as Chief Joseph succinctly put it, "It does not require many words to speak the truth." [29] Some biologists have argued that lying is an unavoidable feature of human behavior.[30]

Religious perspectives

It is alleged[31] that some belief systems may find lying to be justified. Leo Tolstoy is cited[32] as describing religious institutions as "the product of deception [and] lies for a good purpose".

Augustine's taxonomy

Augustine of Hippo wrote two books about lying: On Lying (De Mendacio) and Against Lying (Contra Mendacio).[33] [34] He describes each book in his later work, Retractions. Based on the location of De Mendacio in Retractions, it appears to have been written about 395 AD. The first work, On Lying, begins: "Magna quæstio est de Mendacio" ("There is a great question about Lying"). From his text, it can be derived that St. Augustine divided lies into eight categories, listed in order of descending severity:

  • Lies in religious teaching
  • Lies that harm others and help no one
  • Lies that harm others and help someone
  • Lies told for the pleasure of lying
  • Lies told to "please others in smooth discourse"
  • Lies that harm no one and that help someone materially
  • Lies that harm no one and that help someone spiritually
  • Lies that harm no one and that protect someone from "bodily defilement"

Despite distinguishing between lies according to their external severity, Augustine maintains in both treatises that all lies, defined precisely as the external communication of what one does not hold to be internally true, are categorically sinful and therefore ethically impermissible.[35]

Augustine wrote that lies told in jest, or by someone who believes or opines the lie to be true are not, in fact, lies.[36]

In the Bible

The Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible both contain statements that God cannot lie and that lying is immoral (Num. 23:19,[37] Hab. 2:3,[38] Heb. 6:13–18).[39] Nevertheless, there are examples of God deliberately causing enemies to become disorientated and confused, in order to provide victory (2 Thess. 2:11;[40] [41] 1 Kings 22:23;[42] Ezek. 14:9);[43]

  • "And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie" (2 Thess. 2:11 NKJV)[44]

Various passages of the Bible feature exchanges that assert lying is immoral and wrong (Prov. 6:16–19; Ps. 5:6), (Lev. 19:11; Prov. 14:5; Prov. 30:6; Zeph. 3:13), (Isa. 28:15; Dan. 11:27), most famously, in the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not bear false witness" (Ex. 20:2–17; Deut. 5:6–21); Ex. 23:1; Matt. 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20 a specific reference to perjury.

Other passages feature descriptive (not prescriptive) exchanges where lying was committed in extreme circumstances involving life and death. However, most Christian philosophers would argue that lying is never acceptable, but that even those who are righteous in God's eyes sin sometimes. Old Testament accounts of lying include:[45]

  • The midwives lied about their inability to kill the Israelite children. (Ex. 1:15-21).
  • Rahab lied to the king of Jericho about hiding the Hebrew spies (Josh. 2:4–5) and was not killed with those who were disobedient because of her faith (Heb. 11:31).
  • Abraham instructed his wife, Sarah, to mislead the Egyptians and say that she is his sister (Gen. 12:10). Abraham's story was strictly true — Sarah was his half sister — but intentionally misleading because it was designed to lead the Egyptians to believe that Sarah was not Abraham's wife for Abraham feared that they would kill him in order to take her, for she was very beautiful.[46]

In the New Testament, Jesus refers to the Devil as the father of lies (John 8:44) and Paul commands Christians "Do not lie to one another" (Col. 3:9; cf. Lev. 19:11).

  • In the Day of Judgement, unrepentant liars will be punished in the lake of fire. (Rev. 21:8; 21:27).

In Paganism

In Gestaþáttr, one of the sections within the Eddaic poem Hávamál, Odin states that it is advisable, when dealing with "a false foe who lies," to tell lies oneself.[47]

In Zoroastrianism

Zoroaster teaches that there are two powers in the universe; Asha, which is truth, order and that which is real, and Druj, which is "the Lie". Later on the Lie became personified as Angra Mainyu, a figure similar to the Christian Devil, who was portrayed as the eternal opponent of Ahura Mazda (God).

See Also
   ■ Confabulation
   ■ Deception
   ■ Disinformation
   ■ Ethics
   ■ Fabrication (science)     
   ■ Falsifiability
■ Honesty
   ■ Mental reservation
   ■ Narcissistic defence sequences
   ■ Optimism bias
   ■ Polite fiction
   ■ Prisoner's dilemma
   ■ Psychological manipulation
   ■ Truth
   ■ Wizards Project



1 Freitas-Magalhães, A. (2013). The Face of Lies. Porto: FEELab Science Books. ISBN 978-989-98524-0-2.

2 "Worldwidewords.org". Worldwidewords.org. 2009-06-13. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

3 On Bullshit. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-691-12294-6. link

4 "Butler Lie term coined at Cornell University". News.cornell.edu. 2010-12-20. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

5 Ericsson, Stephanie (2010). Patterns for College Writing (11th ed.). St. martins: Bedford. p. 487. ISBN 978-0-312-60152-2.

6 Ericsson, Stephanie (2010). Patterns for College Writing (11th ed.). St. martins: Bedford. p. 487. ISBN 978-0-312-60152-2.

7 Ericsson, Stephanie (2010). Patterns for College Writing (11th ed.). St. martins: Bedford. p. 490. ISBN 978-0-312-60152-2.

8 "Merriam Webster Definition of Half-truth, August 1, 2007". M-w.com. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

9 "The Pot O' Gold and The Leprechaun (Irish Folk Tale)". Colours-of-the-rainbow.com. 2013-04-23. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

10 Freitas-Magalhães, A. (2013). The Face of Lies. Porto: FEELab Science Books. ISBN 978-989-98524-0-2.

11 Guerrero, L., Anderson, P., Afifi, W. (2007). Close Encounters: Communication in Relationships (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

12 Ericsson, Stephanie (2010). Patterns for College Writing (11th ed.). St. martins: Bedford. p. 487. ISBN 978-0-312-60152-2.

13 Dike CC, Baranoski M, Griffith EE (2005). "Pathological lying revisited". The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 33 (3): 342–9. PMID 16186198.

14 Dike, Charles C. (June 1, 2008). "Pathological Lying: Symptom or Disease?" 25 (7).

15 Niles' Register, June 13, 1829

16 Transactions of the New York State Agricultural Society, Vol 19, 1859, p. 230.

17 Microsoft Encarta, "weasel words"

18 Roy Britt, "Lies Take Longer Than Truths," LiveScience.com, January 26, 2009, found at [1]. Accessed November 27, 2011.

19 How to Make Good Decisions and Be Right All the Time, (2008), Iain King, p. 147.

20 http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2012/02/05/imp06.asp | Sri Lanka's Sunday Observer article on lying, Feb 2012

21 How to Make Good Decisions and Be Right All the Time, (2008), Iain King, p. 148.

22 Hanley, Elizabeth (4 July 2004). "Listening to Koko". Commonweal Magazine: 16. Retrieved 7 July 2014.

23 "Killdeer". Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-3-1.

24 "Guide to Washington Post Fact Checker Rating Scale". Voices.washingtonpost.com. December 29, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2012.

25 1620 T. Shelton tr. Cervantes' Don Quixote ii. xxi. Love and warre are all one. It is lawfull to use sleights and stratagems to attaine the wished end.

26 1578 Lyly Euphues I. 236 Anye impietie may lawfully be committed in loue, which is lawlesse.

27 Abe, N.; Fujii, T.; Hirayama, K.; Takeda, A.; Hosokai, Y.; Ishioka, T.; Nishio, Y.; Suzuki, K.; Itoyama, Y.; Takahashi, S.; Fukuda, H.; Mori, E. (2009). "Do parkinsonian patients have trouble telling lies? The neurobiological basis of deceptive behaviour". Brain 132 (5): 1386–1395. doi:10.1093/brain/awp052. PMC 2677797. PMID 19339257. edit

28 "Merriam–Webster.com". Merriam-webster.com. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

29 "People.tribe.net". People.tribe.net. 2007-08-19. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

30 Why do People Lie?. In The Book of Real Answers to Everything!, Griffith J. 2011. ISBN 9781741290073. From http://www.worldtransformation.com/why-do-people-lie/ Accessed November 14, 2012

31 "Lying For a Good Purpose: Book of Mormon Apologetics Over the Years" by Clyde R. Forsberg, Jr., paper at The 2008 International Conference Twenty Years and More: Research into Minority Religions, New Religious Movements and "the New Spirituality" at London School of Economics, 16–20 April 2008

32 Gordon K. Thomas, "The Book of Mormon in the English Literary Context of 1837," Brigham Young University Studies, Vol. XXCII, No. 1 (Winter 1987), 21

33 Saint Augustine, translated by Mary Sarah Muldowney [et al.] (2002). Deferrari, Roy J., ed. Treatises on various subjects (1st pbk. reprint. ed.). New York: Catholic University of America Press. ISBN 978-0-8132-1320-0.

34 Schaff, Philip (1887). A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church: St. Augustin: On the Holy Trinity. Doctrinal treatises. Moral treatises. The Christian Literature Company.

35 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1312.htm

36 Imre, Robert; Mooney, T. Brian; Clarke, Benjamin (2008). Responding to terrorism : political, philosophical and legal perspectives ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-7277-7.

37 "Num. 23:19". Biblegateway.com. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

38 "Hab. 2:3". Bible.cc. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

39 "Heb 6:13–18". Soundofgrace.com. 1996-11-10. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

40 "2 Thess. 2:11". Biblegateway.com. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

41 "2 Thess. 2:11". Biblegateway.com. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

42 "1 Kings 22:23". Bible.cc. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

43 "Ezek. 14:9". Bible.cc. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

44 "2 Thessalonians 2 NKJV". Blue Letter Bible. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

45 See also: O'Neill, Barry. (2003). "A Formal System for Understanding Lies and Deceit." Revision of a talk for the Jerusalem Conference on Biblical Economics, June 2000.

46 "Genesis 12:11 - ESVBible.org - When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, "I know that you are a woman". ESVBible.org. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

47 "VTA.gamall-steinn.org". VTA.gamall-steinn.org. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

Further reading

Adler, J.E. "Lying, deceiving, or falsely implicating," Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 94 (1997), 435–52.

Aquinas, T., St. "Question 110: Lying," in Summa Theologiae (II.II), Vol. 41, Virtues of Justice in the Human Community (London, 1972).

Augustine, St. "On Lying" and "Against Lying," in R.J. Deferrari, ed., Treatises on Various Subjects (New York, 1952).

Bok, S. Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life, 2d ed. (New York, 1989).

Carson, Thomas L. (2006). "The Definition of Lying". Nous 40 (2): 284–306. doi:10.1111/j.0029-4624.2006.00610.x.

Chisholm, R.M.; Feehan, T.D. (1977). "The intent to deceive". Journal of Philosophy 74 (3): 143–59. doi:10.2307/2025605. JSTOR 2025605.

Davids, P.H.; Bruce, F.F.; Brauch, M.T. & W.C. Kaiser, Hard Sayings of the Bible (InterVarsity Press, 1996).

Denery II, Dallas G. The Devil Wins: A History of Lying From the Garden of Eden to the Enlightenment (Princeton University Press; 2014) 352 pages; Uses religious, philosophical, literary and other sources in a study of lying from the perspectives of God, the Devil, theologians, courtiers, and women.

Fallis, Don (2009). "What is Lying?". Journal of Philosophy 106 (1): 29–56. SSRN 1601034.

Frankfurt, H.G. "The Faintest Passion," in Necessity, Volition and Love (Cambridge, MA: CUP, 1999).

Frankfurt, Harry, On Bullshit (Princeton University Press, 2005).

Hausman, Carl, "Lies We Live By," (New York: Routledge, 2000).

Kant, I. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, The Metaphysics of Morals and "On a supposed right to lie from philanthropy," in Immanuel Kant, Practical Philosophy, eds. Mary Gregor and Allen W. Wood (Cambridge: CUP, 1986).

Lakoff, George, Don't Think of an Elephant, (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2004).

Leslie I. Born Liars: Why We Can't Live Without Deceit (2011)

Mahon, J.E. (2003). "Kant on Lies, Candour and Reticence," Kantian Review, Vol. 7, 101–33.

Mahon, J.E. (2008). "The Definition of Lying and Deception," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Mahon, J. E., "Lying," Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd ed., Vol. 5 (Farmington Hills, Mich.: Macmillan Reference, 2006), pp. 618–9.

Mahon, J.E. "Kant and the Perfect Duty to Others Not to Lie," British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Vol. 14, No. 4 (2006), 653–85.

Mahon, J.E. "Kant and Maria von Herbert: Reticence vs. Deception," Philosophy, Vol. 81, No. 3 (2006), 417–44.

Mannison, D.S. "Lying and Lies," Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 47 (1969), 132–44.

O'Neill, Barry. (2003). "A Formal System for Understanding Lies and Deceit." Revision of a talk for the Jerusalem Conference on Biblical Economics, June 2000.

Siegler, F.A. "Lying," American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 3 (1966), 128–36.

Sorensen, Roy (2007). "Bald-Faced Lies! Lying Without the Intent to Deceive". Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (2): 251–64. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0114.2007.00290.x.

Margaret Talbot (2007). Duped. Can brain scans uncover lies?. The New Yorker, July 2, 2007.

What is a Lie From Lying by Sam Harris
What is a Lie by Sam Harris

Included here is an excerpt from Lying by Sam Harris

He is probably about as mainstream as there is. I don't see anything about parents teaching brainwashing their kids about stuff that they know little or nothing about.

What Is a Lie?    From: Lying by Sam Harris

Deception can take many forms but not all acts of deception are lies. Even the most ethical among us occasionally struggle to keep appearances and reality apart. By wearing cosmetics a woman seeks to seem younger or more beautiful than she otherwise would. Honesty does not require that she issue a continual series of disclaimers - "l see that you are looking at my face: Please be aware that I do not look this good first thing in the morning..." A person in a hurry might pretend not to notice an acquaintance passing by on the street. A polite host might not acknowledge that one of her guests has said something so stupid as to slow the rotation of the earth. When asked 'How are you?' most of us reflexively say that we are well understanding the question to be merely a greeting, rather than an invitation to discuss our career disappointments, our marital troubles or the condition of our bowels. Elisions of this kind can be forms of deception but they are not quite lies. We may skirt the truth at such moments, but we do not deliberately manufacture falsehood.

The boundary between lying and deception is often vague. In fact, it is even possible to deceive with the truth. I could, for instance, stand on the sidewalk in front of the White House and call the headquarters of Facebook on my cellphone: "Hello, this is Sam Harris. I'm caUing from the White House, and I'd like to speak to Mark Zuckerberg." My words would, in a narrow sense, be true - but the statement seems calculated to deceive. Would I be lying? Close enough.

To lie is to intentionally mislead others when they expect honest communication. This leaves stage magicians, poker players, and other harmless dissemblers off the hook, while illuminating a psychological and social landscape whose general shape is very easy to recognize. People lie so that others will form beliefs that are not true. The more consequential the beliefs - that is, the more a person's well-being depends upon a correct understanding of the world - the more consequential the lie.

As the philosopher Sissela Bok observed, however we cannot get far on this topic without first distinguishing between truth and truthfulness - for a person may be impeccably truthful while being mistaken. To speak truthfully is to accurately represent one's beliefs. But candor offers no assurance that one's beliefs about the world are true. Nor does truthfulness require that one speak the whole truth, because communicating every fact on a given topic's almost never useful or even possible.

Leaving these ambiguities aside communicating what one believes to be both true and useful is surely different from concealing or distorting those beliefs. The intent to communicate honestly is the measure of truthfulness. And most people do not require a degree in philosophy to distinguish this attitude from its counterfeits.

People tell lies for many reasons. They lie to avoid embarrassment, to exaggerate their accomplishments and to disguise wrongdoing. They make promises they do not intend to keep. They conceal defects in their products or services. They mislead competitors to gain advantage. Many of us lie to our friends and family members to spare their feelings. Whatever our purpose in telling them, lies can be gross or subtle. Some entail elaborate ruses or forged documents. Others consist merely of euphemisms or tactical silences. But it is in believing one thing while intending to communicate another that every lie is born.

We have all stood on either side of the divide between what someone believes and what h,e intends others to understand-and the gap generally looks quite different depending on wheth,er one is the liar or the dupe. Of course, the liar often imagines that he does no harm as long as his lies go undetected. But the one lied to almost never shares this view. The moment we consider our dishonesty from the point of view of those we lie to we recognize that we would feel betrayed if the roles were reversed.


The opportunity to deceive others is ever present and often tempting and each instance casts us onto some of the steepest ethical terrain we ever cross. Few of us are murderers or thieves, but we have all been liars. And many of us will be unable to get safely into our beds tonight without having told several lies over the course of the day.

What does this say about us and about the life we are making with one another?

Fourth Way
Excerpts from Fourth Way material

Included here are a few excerpts from Fourth Way material about lying. These excerpts come close to defining lying, however ...

Again, nothing specific about how parents lie to their children, and the effect that has.

The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution p. 31 & p 37

31 - What is lying?

As it is understood in ordinary language, lying means distorting or in some cases, hiding the truth, or what people believe to be the truth. This lying plays a very important part in life, but there are much worse forms of lying, when people do not know that they lie. I said in the last lecture that we cannot know the truth in our present state, and can only know the truth in the state of objective consciousness. How then can we lie? There seems to be a contradiction here, but in reality there is none. We cannot know the truth but we can pretend that we know. And this is lying. Lying fills all our life.

People pretend that they know all sorts of things: about God, about the future life, about the universe, about the origin of man, about evolution, about everything; but in reality they do not know anything, even about themselves. And every time they speak about something they do not know as though they knew it, they lie. Consequently the study of lying becomes of the first importance in psychology

And it may lead even to the third definition of psychology which is: the study of lying.

Psychology is particularly concerned with the lies a man says and thinks about himself. These lies make the study of man very difficult. Man, as he is, is not a genuine article. He is an imitation of something, and a very bad imitation.

p. 37

Lying is unavoidable in mechanical life. No one can escape it and the more one thinks that one is free from lying, the more one is in it. Life, as it is could not exist without lying. But from the psychological side, lying has a different meaning. It means speaking about things one does not know, and even cannot know, as though one knows and can know.

In Search of the Miraculous p. 29

"Then one must learn to speak the truth. This also appears strange to you. You do not realize that one has to learn to speak the truth.

  • It seems to you that it is enough to wish or to decide to do so.
  • And I tell you that people comparatively rarely tell a deliberate lie. In most cases they think they speak the truth.

And yet they lie all the time, both when they wish to lie and when they wish to speak the truth.

  • They lie all the time, both to themselves and to others.

Therefore nobody ever understands either himself or anyone else.

  • Think — could there be such discord, such deep misunderstanding, and such hatred towards the views and opinions of others, if people were able to understand one another?

But they cannot understand because they cannot help lying.

  • To speak the truth is the most difficult thing in the world; and one must study a great deal and for a long time in order to be able to speak the truth.
  • The wish alone is not enough.
  • To speak the truth one must know what the truth is and what a lie is, and first of all in oneself. And this nobody wants to know."
The Fourth Way, p. 14

Studying man in his present state of sleep, absence of unity, mechanicalness and lack of control, we find several other wrong functions which are the result of his state — in particular, lying to himself and to other people all the time.

  • The psychology of ordinary man could even be called the study of lying, because man lies more than anything else; and as a matter of fact, he cannot speak the truth.
  • It is not so simple to speak the truth; one has to learn how to do it, and sometimes it takes a very long time.

Q. Would you mind explaining what you mean by lying?

A. Lying is thinking or speaking about things that one does not know; this is the beginning of lying.

  • It does not mean intentional lying — telling stories, as for instance that there is a bear in the other room. You can go to the other room and see that there is no bear in it.
  • But if you collect all the theories that people put forward on any given subject, without knowing anything about it, you will see where lying begins.
  • Man does not know himself, he does not know anything, yet he has theories about everything. Most of these theories are lying.

Q. I want to know the truth that it is good for me to know in my present state. How can I discover whether it is a lie?
A. For almost everything you know you have methods for verifying. But first you must know what you can know and what you cannot. That helps verifying. If you start with that you will soon hear lies, even without thinking. Lies have a different sound, particularly lies about things we cannot know.

Fourth Way, p. 38-39

The chief obstacle to the attainment of self-consciousness is that we think we have it.

  • One will never get self-consciousness so long as one believes that one has it.

There are many other things we think we have, and because of this we cannot have them.

  • There is individuality or oneness — we think we are one, indivisible.
  • We think we have will, or that if we do not have it always, we can have it, and other things.

There are many aspects to this, for if we do not have one thing, we cannot have another. We think that we have these things, and this happens because we do not know the meaning of the words we use.

There is a definite obstacle, a definite reason why we cannot have consciousness as we are. This chief obstacle in the way of development is lying.

  • I have already mentioned lying, but we must speak more about it, for we do not know what lying means because we have never studied this question seriously. Yet the psychology of lying is really the most important part of the study of the human being.
  • If a man could be described as a zoological type, he would be described as a lying animal.

I shall leave out all external lying and take only a man's lying to himself about himself.

  • This is the reason why we are in the state in which we are now, and why we cannot come to a better, a higher, a more powerful, more effective state of consciousness.
  • According to the system we are now studying we cannot know truth, because truth can be reached only in objective consciousness.
  • So we cannot define what truth is; but if we take it that lying is the opposite of truth, we can define lying.

The most serious lying is when we know perfectly well that we do not and cannot know the truth about things and yet never act accordingly.

  • We always think and act as though we knew the truth. This is lying.
  • When I know that I do not know something, and at the same time say that I know, or act as though I knew it, it is lying.

For instance, we know nothing about ourselves, and we really know that we know nothing, yet we never recognize or admit the fact; we never confess it even to ourselves, we act and think and speak as though we knew who we are.

  • This is the origin, the beginning of lying.

When we understand this and follow this line, and when we try to connect this idea with everything we think, everything we say, everything we do, we will begin to remove the obstacles which lie on the way to consciousness.

  • But the psychology of lying is much more difficult than we think, because there are many different kinds of lying and many very subtle forms hard to discover in ourselves.
  • In others we see them comparatively easily, but not in ourselves.

Q. If we do not know what truth is, how do we know when we lie?

A. You know that you cannot know the truth, and if you say you do know, or can know it, it would be a lie, because no one can know the truth in the state in which we are.

  • Do not think philosophically, take it in relation to facts.
  • People speak about everything as though they knew.
  • If you ask a man whether there are people on the moon, he will have an opinion about it. And so with everything else.

We have opinions about everything, and all these opinions are lying, particularly about ourselves.

  • We do not know about states of consciousness, or the different functions, or the speed of functions, or their relation to one another.
  • We do not know about how functions are divided.
  • We know nothing, yet we think we know about ourselves.

All we have is opinions, and they are all lies.

Q. If all opinions are lies, should we avoid opinions?

A. You must know their value. The first lie we tell ourselves is when we say 'I'.

  • It is a lie because in saying 'I' we presume certain things: we presume a certain unity and a certain power.

And if I say 'I' today and say 'I' tomorrow, it is supposed to be the same 'I', when in reality there is no connection between them.

  • We are in this present state because of certain obstacles or certain facts in ourselves, and the most important fact that we do not understand is that we have no right to say 'I', for it will be a lie.

When you begin to observe yourself you will see that it is really so: there are 'I's in you which do not know one another and never come into contact.

  • For instance, begin to study your likes and dislikes and you will see that you can like one thing one moment and like another thing another moment, and the two are so opposed to one another that you will realize at once that those 'I's never meet.
  • If you observe your decisions you will see that one 'I' decides and another has to carry out the decision, and this one is either unwilling to do it or never heard about it.
  • If you find one thing one does not lie to oneself about you will be very exceptional.

Being surrounded by these lies, born and educated in these lies, we cannot be any different from what we are; we are just the result, the product of this lying.

Excerpt from the book of children by Osho

Osho does not tackle the issue about parents lying to children, either.

About the only mention it gets is in relation to talking about sex with their children, however even here the subject of the harm of misinformation given to children is barely touched upon.

the book of children, p. 104

Teenagers are in a very difficult situation. They are changing; they are leaving childhood behind and they are becoming youngsters. Every day new dimensions of life are opening for them. They are in a transformation. They need immense help from the parents. But right now the situation is that they don't meet the parents at all. They live in the same house but they don't talk with each other because they cannot understand each other's language, they cannot understand each other's viewpoints. They meet only when the boy or the girl needs money; otherwise there is no meeting. The gap goes on becoming bigger; they become as much strangers as one can imagine. This is really a calamity.

Teenagers should be encouraged to say everything to their parents without any fear. This is not only going to help the children, it is going to help the parents too.

Truth has a beauty of its own; honesty has a beauty of its own. When teenagers approach their parents with honesty, truth, sincerity, and just open their hearts, it triggers something in the parents to open their hearts also, because they are also burdened 'with many things which they want to say but cannot. The society prohibits, the religion prohibits, the tradition prohibits. But if they see the teenagers being completely open and clean it will help them also to be open and clean. And the so-called, much discussed generation gap can simply be dropped; it can evaporate on its own accord.

The most troublesome problem is about sex. The children should be able to say exactly what is going on in their minds; there is no need to hide anything, because whatsoever is going on in their minds is natural. They should ask the advice of the parents - What can be done? - they are in a troubled state, and they need help. And to whom can they go except their parents?

If any problem was there, I simply told my parents. And that's my suggestion: the teenagers should not hide anything from the parents, from the teachers they should be absolutely sincere, and the gap will evaporate. And we need the gap to evaporate, because what kind of society is this? There is a gap between parents and children, there is a gap between husband and wife, there is a gap between teachers and the taught. There are only gaps and gaps all around.

Everybody is surrounded with all kinds of gaps as if all communication has broken down. This is not a society, this is not a commune - because there is no communication. Nobody can say the right thing, everybody is repressed. Everybody is suppressing his desires, and everybody is angry, and everybody is feeling lonely, frustrated. We have created an angry generation; we have created philosophies of meaninglessness. And the whole reason for all this is that children have lost contact with the parents. Children can do a tremendous job, and they have the courage to do it. Perhaps parents may not be able to do it; they are much too conditioned. The teenagers are young and fresh; just teach them to be sincere with their parents.

I made a contract with my father. I told him, "I want to make a contract."

He said, "About what?"

I said, "The contract is that if I say the truth you have to reward me, not to punish me. Because if you punish me, then next time I'll not say the truth."

And that's how it is happening all over the world: truth is being punished, so then the person stops saying it. Then he starts lying because lying is rewarded.

So I said to him, "You can decide. If you want me to lie, I can lie ... if that is what you are going to reward. But if you are ready to reward the truth, then I'll say the truth - but you cannot punish me for it."

He said, "I accept the contract." It is a simple method. If you cannot expose yourself to your own father and mother ... in this whole world everybody is more of a stranger than them. Your father and mother are also strangers, but they are the closest strangers, the most intimate strangers. Expose yourself to them so no gap exists. This will help them also to be sincere with you. This is something to be remembered: that sincerity, honesty, truth, trigger in the other person also the same qualities.

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Entropy and the Laws of World-creation a…

  Entropy and the Laws of World-creation and World-maintenance    Source “In the beginning, when nothing yet existed and when the whole of our Universe was empty endless space ... our Most Great and Most Most Holy Sun Absolute existed alone in all this empty space. . . It was just during this period...

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4th Way ♦ Soul References

  4th Way ♦ "Soul" References   Below aer excerpts from: The Fourth Way  —  (9) instances of the word soul. In Search of the Miraculous  —  (1) instance of the word soul Beelzebub's Tales  —  (85) instances of the word soul. in which "soul" is found in context.

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Structure and Function of the Human Mach…

  Structure and Function of the Human Machine   The human machine has seven different functions.Five ordinarily and two potential. Four lower functions• Instinctive  • Moving  • Emotional  • Intellectual (also known as: centers = brains = minds) Sex centre Potential connection with two higher centers (soul & spirit)

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Confluence and waking sleep

  Confluence and waking sleep     From:  Cassiopaea Glossary Moravieff uses the term confluence to designate a peculiar hypnotic state in man where he is identified with the mental currents that flow through him and mistaking the thoughts that are engendered from this current as his own thoughts. Man's submersion into this mental current is what...

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4th Way ♦ Sex Center References

  4th Way ♦ "Sex Center" References   Below are excerpts from: In Search of the Miraculous Sexuality and the Evolution of Consciousness in which "Sex Center" is found in context.

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4th Way ♦ Organic Life on Earth Referenc…

  4th Way ♦ "Organic Life on Earth" References   Below are excerpts from: The Fourth Way and In Search of the Miraculous in which "Organic Life on Earth" is found in context.

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The Five Strivings

  The Five Strivings   All the beings of this planet then began to work in order to have in their consciousness this Divine function of genuine conscience, and for this purpose, as everywhere in the Universe, they transubstantiated in themselves what are called the ‘being-obligolnian-strivings’ which consist of the following five… - Beelzebub's...

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Seven primary obstacles to self-awarenes…

  Seven primary obstacles to self-awareness   Identification – One of the characteristics of our psychology is that we lose ourselves by becoming absorbed into events, thoughts, and emotions. Negative Emotions – One of the chief obstacles to awakening is losing energy through the expression of negative and unpleasant emotions. Imagination – Our imagining that we already...

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Remember Yourself

  Remember Yourself     From: gapingvoid “Remember yourself always and everywhere.” These words were inscribed on the walls of the study house of the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at the Château Le Prieuré, Fontainebleau-Avon, the home of the esoteric teacher George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff. They summarised the essence of his teaching and were...

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Implications for counseling

  The psychology of George Gurdjieff: Implications for counseling   Abstract  From: Counselling, Psychotherapy and Health This paper examines aspects of the teaching of G. I. Gurdjieff in the light of the current knowledge base of contemporary applied psychology, and in particular, that of current counselling theory and practice. It focusses on enunciating relevant aspects...

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Unusual Assemblage of Syllables

Unusual Assemblage of Syllables A deliberate and rigorous obscurity …   of confusing terms and tangential    associations in interminable sentences Jargon-ridden and intentionally obtuse For several reasons, including the unique difficulties presented by Gurdjieff’s writing style, little commentary has been written on Beelzebub’s Tales. Without a determined decision on the part of the reader to...

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Gurdjieff at Lascaux August 1949

  Gurdjieff at Lascaux August 1949   Soon after posting How I began "the Work", I began thinking about that title, and the fact that few people would have any idea as to what "the Work" is and means. So, I set about looking for a web page that I could copy which provided a brief and easy...

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What is "the Work"?

What is the Work? Gurdjieff strongly condemned masturbation, contraception and homosexuality as affronts to the proper order of nature. (LINK) Perhaps that helps to explain why he was such a prolific procreater. According to Mark Pilkington, "He was highly charismatic and a notorious womaniser, said to have fathered over 100 children." Much has been written about what...

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The Sly Man and the Devil

The Sly Man and the Devil The Sly Man and the Devil — Something Different? Previous Introduction    Limited Hangout Is it possible the Fourth Way is but another limited hangout? It undoubtedly was a release of previously hidden information, but was it done in order to prevent a greater exposure of more important details? If so, what are the missing details? Could there...

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Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography A rich and multifaceted literature has been created over the years from the pens of Gurdjieff, his direct students (first generation), pupils of his students (second generation), scholars and researchers, journalists and critics, and biographers. At best these writings (Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, In Search of the Miraculous)...

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