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QUOTES ON DECEPTION

I hate deception, even where the imagination only is concerned.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Dr. John Cochran, Aug. 16, 1779

O, what a tangled web we weave;
When first we practice to deceive!

SIR WALTER SCOTT, Marmion

Deceit comes in through the ears, but usually leaves through the eyes.

BALTASAR GRACIAN, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.

THOMAS JEFFERSON, leter to Peter Carr, Aug. 19, 1785

Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them.

OBI-WAN KENOBI, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

The best way to deceive a knave is to tell him the truth.

IVAN PANIN, Thoughts

There is no killing the suspicion that deceit has once begotten.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

It is best, if possible, to deceive no one; for he that ... begins by deceiving others, will end ... by deceiving himself.

CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon

We are oftener deceived by being told some truth than no truth.

FULKE GREVILLE, Maxims, Characters and Reflections

A life of deceit is one of unmitigated torture--a living hell, which should deserve our pity for the unhappy beings who submit to it. It is surprising to what shifts and excuses those who lead so slippery a course are driven, in the vain hope to hoodwink the shrewd, with the painful necessity of laughing off exposures too glaring to be concealed--yet, when all is done, but to place themselves in the position of the stag which, thrusting its head into a thicket, believed itself to be unseen. In fact, there is very little hidden from society; and, as people of the world are generally willing to overlook much, the greater part of this maneuvering, with its attendant misery, might be spared.

CHARLES WILLIAM DAY, The Maxims, Experiences, and Observations of Agogos

If you are often deceived by those around you, you may be sure that you deserve to be deceived; and that instead of railing at the general falseness of mankind, you have first to pronounce judgment on your own jealous tyranny, or on your own weak credulity.

ARTHUR HELPS, Thoughts in the Cloister and the Crowd

The easiest person to deceive is one’s own self.

EDWARD BULWER LYTTON, The Disowned

I am convinced that human life is filled with many pure, happy, serene examples of insincerity, truly splendid of their kind--of people deceiving one another without (strangely enough) any wounds being inflicted, of people who seem unaware even that they are deceiving one another.

OSAMU DAZAI, No Longer Human

Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.

LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN, Culture and Value

The phrase, the world wants to be deceived, has become truer than had ever been intended. People are not only, as the saying goes, falling for the swindle; if it guarantees them even the most fleeting gratification they desire a deception which is nonetheless transparent to them. They force their eyes shut and voice approval, in a kind of self-loathing, for what is meted out to them, knowing fully the purpose for which it is manufactured. Without admitting it they sense that their lives would be completely intolerable as soon as they no longer clung to satisfactions which are none at all.

THEODOR W. ADORNO, Culture Industry Reconsidered

We never deceive people to benefit them, for knavery is a compound of wickedness and falsehood.

JEAN DE LA BRUYÈRE, "Of Mankind", Les Caractères

Human beings seem to have an almost unlimited capacity to deceive themselves, and to deceive themselves into taking their own lies for truth.

R. D. LAING, The Politics of Experience/The Bird of Paradise

Men are never so easily deceived as when they are endeavouring to deceive others.

FRANÇOIS DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, Moral Maxims

'Tis as easy to deceive ourselves without our perceiving it, as 'tis difficult to deceive others without their perceiving it.

FRANÇOIS DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, Moral Maxims

Some people are so much afraid of being deceived, that they never venture to trust; like misers, their avarice destroys their gain.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

It is so much in the nature of men to overreach and deceive one another, that their very sports and plays are founded on that principle.

FULKE GREVILLE, Maxims, Characters, and Ref

In itself, the practice of deception is not particularly exacting; it is a matter of experience, of professional expertise, it is a facility most of us can acquire.

JOHN LE CARRÉ, The Spy Who Came In from the Cold

A resolution never to deceive exposes a man to be often deceived.

FRANÇOIS DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, Moral Maxims


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