Shots of Wit

A regular posting of witticisms, aphorisms, and general musings by Clifford Cohen.


Lies belie themselves.

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Every lie carries within it the kernel of its own undoing. The mere telling of the lie creates the conditions under which the lie itself is undermined. This applies to every lie that is uttered out of self-interest, or out of evil or immoral intent (i.e., not the “polite lie” intended to spare someone else shame, or a lie told to misdirect a mortal enemy). Because lies misrepresent and negate the essential truth of our existence, it is almost as if the universe itself mitigates against their presence, providing whatever is needed to disprove them—if we only care to look. Resolution of a lie may not occur immediately, but resolution does come eventually. It is the gap between when a lie is told and when a lie is discovered that is exploited by those seeking to benefit from a lie. Such people foolishly believe that the absence of direct and obvious consequence for telling a lie is tantamount to avoiding such consequence. In fact, they pay for their dishonesty in other ways. The purpose of this aphorism is to help those who might be tempted to lie to recognize that lying is, essentially, a futile act that is destined to ultimately fail in its purpose. When it comes to malicious lying, it is a game one can’t, in the end, win.

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