Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Lying

"The beauty of man is in his faithfulness, and his hatefulness is the lying of his lips." - Ahikar or Ahiqar NULL

"Give a child the habit of sacredly regarding the truth - of carefully respecting the property of others - of scrupulously abstaining from all acts of improvidence which can involve him in distress, and he will just as likely think of rushing into the element in which he cannot breathe, as of lying or cheating or stealing." -

"He who sees his heir in his own child, carries his eye over hopes and possessions lying far beyond his gravestone, viewing his life, even here, as a period but closed with a comma. He who sees his heir in another man’s child sees the full stop at the end of the sentence." -

"Vanity is a strong temptation to lying; it makes people magnify their merit, over flourish their family, and tell strange stories of their interest and acquaintance." - Jeremy Collier

"Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others." - Fyodor Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski

"The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himsefl without love he gives away his passions and coarse pleasuures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himsefl. The man wholies to himself can be more easily offended than anyone." - Fyodor Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski

"Self-knowledge leading to self-hatred and humility, is the condition of the love and knowledge of God. Spiritual exercises that make use of distractions have this great merit, that they increase self-knowledge. Every soul that approaches God must be aware of who and what it is. To practice a form of mental or vocal prayer that is, so to speak, above one’s moral station is to act a lie: and the consequences of such lying are wrong notions about God, idolatrous worship of private and unrealistic phantasies and (for lack of the humility of self-knowledge) spiritual pride." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"I do myself a greater injury in lying than I do him of whom I tell a lie." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Lying is an ugly vice... Since mutual understanding is brought about solely by way of words, he who breaks his word betrays human society. It is the only instrument by means of which our wills and thoughts communicate, it is the interpreter of our soul. If it fails us, we have no more hold on each other, no more knowledge of each other. If it deceives us, it breaks up all our relations and dissolves all the bonds of our society." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"The most common lie is the lie one tells oneself; lying to others is relatively the exception." -

"Leave your bed upon the first desertion of sleep it being ill for the eyes to read lying, and worse for the mind to be idle; since the head during that laziness is commonly a cage for unclean thoughts." - Francis Osborn

"It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. " - Thomas Paine

"For he who has acquired the habit of lying or deceiving his father, will do the same with less remorse to others. I believe that it is better to bind your children to you by a feeling of respect, and by gentleness, then by fear." -

"All sin is a form of lying...Total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation." - Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

"The lie of fear is the refuge of cowardice, and the lie of fraud, the device of the cheat. The inequalities of men and the lust of acquisition are a constant premium of lying." - Edward Bellamy

"He who sees his heir in his own child, carries his eye over hopes and possessions lying far beyond his gravestone, viewing his life, even here, as a period but closed with a comma. He who sees his heir in another man’s child sees the full stop at the end of the sentence." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"God made sin possible just as he made all lying wonders possible, but he never made it a fact, never set anything in his plan to harmonize with it. Therefore it enters the world as a forbidden fact against everything that God has ordained." - Horace Bushnell

"Vanity is a strong temptation to lying; it makes people magnify their merit, over-flourish their family, and tell strange stories of their interest and acquaintance." - Jeremy Collier

"To love God truly, one must first love man. And if anyone tells you that he loves God and does not love his fellowman, you will know that he is lying." -

"Wit lying most in the assemblage of Ideas, and putting those together with quickness and variety wherein can be found any resemblance or congruity." - John Locke

"When thou are obliged to speak, be sure to speak the truth; for equivocation is half-way to lying, and lying is the whole way to hell." - William Penn

"Funerals are always occasions for pious lying. A deep vein of superstition and a sudden touch of kindness always lead people to give the departed credit for more virtues than he possessed." - I. F. Stone, fully Isidor Feinstein Stone, born Isidor Feinstein

"I never varied from the managerial rule that the worst possible thing we could do was to lie dead in the water of any problem. Solve it. Solve it quickly, solve it right or wrong. If you solved it wrong, it would come back and slap you in the face and then you could solve it right. Lying dead in the water and doing nothing is a comfortable alternative because it is without risk, but it is an absolutely fatal way to manage a business." -

"Faith is sensitiveness to what transcends nature, knowledge and will, awareness of the ultimate, alertness to the holy dimension of all reality. Faith is a force in man, lying deeper than the stratum of reason and its nature cannot be defined in abstract, static terms. To have faith is not to infer the beyond from the wretched here, but to perceive the wonder that is here and to be stirred by the desire to integrate the self into the holy order of living. It is not a deduction but an intuition, not a form of knowledge, of being convinced without proof, but the attitude of mind toward ideas whose scope is wider than its own capacity to grasp." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"The aim and end of war is murder; the weapons employed in war are espionage, treachery and the encouragement of treachery, the ruining of a country, the plundering and robbing of its inhabitants for the maintenance of the army, and trickery and lying which all appear under the heading of the art of war. The military world is characterized by the absence of freedom – in other words, a rigorous discipline – enforced inactivity, ignorance, cruelty, debauchery, and drunkenness." - Leo Tolstoy, aka Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy or Tolstoi

"Lying is an indispensable part of making life tolerable." -

"Vanity is the foundation of the most ridiculous and contemptible vices - the vices of affectation and common lying." - Adam Smith

"Lying is done with words, and also with silence." - Adrienne Rich, fully Adrienne Cecil Rich

"By the time I got to school, I had already read a couple hundred books. I knew in the first grade that they were lying to me because I had already been exposed to other points of view. School is basically about one point of view -- the one the teacher has or the textbooks have. They don't like the idea of having different points of view, so it was a battle. Of course I would pipe up with my five-year-old voice." - Alan Curtis Kay

"Virtue... is a state of character concerned with choice, lying in a mean, i.e. the mean relative to us, this being determined by a rational principle, and by that principle by which the man of practical wisdom would determine it." - Aristotle NULL

"Exaggeration is a branch of lying." - Baltasar Gracián

"The art of survival is the art of lying to yourself heroically, continuously, creatively. The senses lie to the mind; the mind lies to the senses. The truth-seeker is a liar; he is hunting for happiness, not truth." - Benjamin De Casseres

"There is no excuse for deceiving children. And when, as must happen in conventional families, they find that their parents have lied, they lose confidence in them and feel justified in lying to them." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"No one can deny that much of our modern advertising is essentially dishonest; and it can be maintained that to lie freely and all the time for private profit is not to abuse the right of free speech, whether it is a violation of the law or not. But again the practical question is, how much lying for private profit is to be permitted by law?" - Carl Lotus Becker

"Must love be ever treated with profaneness as a mere illusion? or with coarseness as a mere impulse? or with fear as a mere disease? or with shame as a mere weakness? or with levity as a mere accident? whereas it is a great mystery and a great necessity, lying at the foundation of human existence, morality, and happiness - mysterious, universal, inevitable as death." - Harriet Martineau

"To love God truly, one must first love man. And if anyone tells you that he loves God and does not love his fellow man, you will know that he’s lying." - Hasidic Proverbs

"There is no such thing as preaching patience into people unless the sermon is so long that they have to practice it while they hear. No man can learn patience except by going out into the hurly-burly world, and taking life just as it blows. Patience is but lying to and riding out the gale." - Henry Ward Beecher

"Time is a necessary representation, lying at the foundation of all our intuitions. With regard to phenomena in general, we cannot think away time from them, and represent them to ourselves as out of and unconnected with time, but we can quite well represent to ourselves time void of phenomena. Time is therefore given a priori. In it alone is all reality of phenomena possible. These may all be annihilated in thought, but in itself, as the universal condition of their possibility, cannot be so annulled." - Immanuel Kant

"The toddler is allowed to regulate his own exploratory behavior. What occurs as a result of this entire mechanism is that nature’s imperative to explore the world at large is overwhelmed by the greater imperative to avoid the pain of a broken relationship with the life-giving caregiver. What will be developed in the child is a capacity for deception as he tries to maintain some vestige of integrity while outwardly appearing to conform. Living a lie to survive a lying culture, the child forgets the truth of who he really is." - Joseph Chilton Pearce, aka Joe

"Man can certainly keep on lying (and does so), but he cannot make truth falsehood." - Karl Barth

"Of all the virtues, is not wisdom the one which the mass of mankind are always claiming, and which most arrouses in them a spirit of contention and lying conceit of wisdom?" - Plato NULL

"In this great society wide lying around us, a critical analysis would find very few spontaneous actions. It is almost all custom and gross sense." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The more oath-taking, the more lying." -

"The gain of lying is nothing else but not to be trusted of any, nor to be believed when we say the truth." - Walter Raleigh, fully Sir Walter Raleigh

"Slander, in the strict meaning of the term, comes under the head of lying; but it is a kind of lying which, like its antithesis flattery, ought to be set apart for special censure." - Washington Gladden

"As hypocrisy is said to be the highest compliment to virtue, the art of lying is the strongest acknowledgment of the force of truth." - William Hazlitt

"Lying is the strongest acknowledgment of the force of truth." - William Hazlitt

"Lying is like trying to hide in a fog. If you move about you are in danger of bumping your head against the truth. And as soon as the fog blows away you are gone anyhow." - William Hazlitt

"Lying is an indispensable part of making life tolerable." - Bergen Baldwin Evans