One-minute review: Lying to fit the circumstances of the moment.
“But although the devil be the father of lies, he seems, like other great inventors, to have lost much of his reputation to continuous improvements that have been made upon him.”
“There is one essential point wherein a political liar differs from others of the faculty, that he ought to have but a short memory, which is necessary according to the various occasions he meets with every hour of differing from himself and swearing to both sides of a contradiction.”
“He never yet considered whether any proposition were true or false, but whether it were convenient for the present minute or company to affirm or deny it….”
“Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived it is too late…like a man who has thought of a good repartee when the discourse is changed or the company parted; or like a physician who has found out an infallible medicine after the patient is dead.”
“Considering that natural disposition in many men to lie, and in multitudes to believe, I have been perplexed what to do with that maxim so frequent in everybody’s mouth, that truth will at last prevail.”
Great Essays. Ed. Houston Peterson.
What is an essay? “They are all prefaces. A preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they [essays] do nothing else.” Charles Lamb.