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The Lies We Live

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Photo by Ruby Glimmer from Flickr

Photo by Ruby Glimmer from Flickr

Lies are woven into our lives from early childhood to the end of our lives.  They are so pervasive that many go unnoticed and barely cause a flutter.  Certain lies are so common, as a matter of fact,  that we may not even classify them as lies.

Here are the most common culprits:

Oxymorons–a combination of contradictory or incongruous words

My son swears that military intellgence fits this category. The more cynical among us would also add business ethics and personal computer. But most people would more readily place pairs like white darkness, silent scream and jumbo shrimp on this list.

Euphemisms–an agreeable word used in place of an offensive one sometime to spare feelings, other times to deceive.

rest room for toilet
working girl for prostitute
pass on for die
Nazis termed relocation camp for concentration camp

Weasel words–words used to evade or retreat from a direct statement

Saying the Corvette is virtually handmade means it’s not handmade, since virtually means not in fact.

Doublespeak–a type of euphemism that is uttered in bad faith, deliberately constructed for political purposes, thus usually being used by the government or politicians

Predawn vertical insertion –used by the Bush administration to refer to the invasion of Granada by parachutists

Wastewater conveyance facility — sewage plant

Ethnic cleansing–Serbian government’s term for forcibly removing and massacring Serbia’s Muslim population

This week we’ve explored deception in many forms and situations. It’s clear that lying at all levels is a prevalent part of our lives and that all of us are culprits as well as victims of it.

The good thing about knowing better is it’s the first step toward doing better. Perhaps the knowledge you gained this week about lies can help you avoid deception in all of its forms. Let me know what you think.

First published 2-15-08

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