Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.

∼ Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832

I found myself contemplating deception when a poem emerged from my pen in response to The Secret Keeper writing prompt:

What dark web have you woven?

what tight-spun disguise?

humanity pad-locked and stowed

its key lost in lies

no steel claws could scratch you free

deception’s sad victory.

This poem was inspired by the five magic prompt words from The Secret Keeper Weekly Writing Prompt #29:  WEB | LOST | BLACK | SCRATCH | LOCK

∼   ∼   ∼   ∼   ∼  ∼   ∼    ∼    ∼    ∼  ∼

Human deception is a vast topic ranging from a magician’s slight of hand to lies, half truths, and concealments that plague interpersonal relationships, sales,marketing, political speeches, and corporate public relations campaigns.

The English language has 112 words for deception, according to one count, each with a different shade of meaning: collusion, fakery, malingering, self-deception, confabulation, prevarication, exaggeration, denial.

Robin Marantz Henig

Evidence of private and public lies  can inspire attitudes of cynicism.  In my opinion, a cynical view, when generalized to every situation, blocks trust, engagement and participation.  An example of a cynical view could be: ‘all politicians are phony.’  That thought could lead to a decision to not vote in an election. To me, a decision to not participate is unfortunate and stems from an over-generalization.  Some politicians are insincere, but that does not mean there are no politicians with ideals and integrity.

Insight into character comes from listening intently to the spoken word.  The physical peson, their charisma, charm and dramatic flair is more often used to persuade audiences, as they use these stealth tools of disgiuise and deception.

Maximillian Degenerez

Rather than adopting an overall cynicism, I try to focus on a ‘buyer beware’ frame of mind. Whether I am reading a food package label, hearing about a corporation’s green commitment or evaluating a politician I keep my mind immune to broad assurances that are designed to persuade or impress. I try to question and seek reliable second opinions.

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.

Soren Kierkegaard , 1813-1855

We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.
This post is in response to  Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge–an inspiring community event focusing on combining quotes with fresh poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction.


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16 thoughts on “Deception

  1. Great post… your commentary neatly ties those quotations together. I agree bad leadership should not be an excuse for apathy… ideally, this should inspire good people to run for office. Hopefully if / when they’re elected they’ll at least try to usher in some much needed changes for the better. I also concur that some “politicians with ideals and integrity” may already be in power… but… it would not take many fingers and toes to count them… in the U.S. one could probably keep one, maybe both shoes on.


    1. Thanks for your thoughts 🙂 I hope you are wrong or exaggerating about the number of ‘real’ leaders in the States–citizens can and do promote positive change without them but integrity at the top is also important especially these days, and especially in such a powerful nation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are correct re citizens having the ability to “promote positive change without” leaders… and that does sum up the situation here in America… we actually ARE on our own because our “leaders” are too busy kissing up to the lobbyists who pay for their campaigns. Even a politician with honorable intentions soon discovers (s)he has to “pay the piper”. It’s likely that even the dog catcher has gone to the dogs (my apology for insulting our loyal, noble canine friends in my comparison). Me thinks I erred in my previous comment… re that matter of fingers and toes. In taking our census of totally honest politicians… we can not only keep our shoes on… but our mittens, too. Actually, those mittens are not a bad idea… it’s 24 degrees F / – 5 degrees C this morning in MI. Hmmm… maybe I need to change my screen name to Donny Downer?


      2. It’s 36 degrees here now after a morning frost. The way politics is run does bring a chill. It doesn’t seem right that so much money is the basis of success. Even though there are a few rich environmentalists in the game the system needs to be reformed…easier said than done but needed to prevent rich private interests from running the show.


  2. What a great commentary to accompany your quotes. Isn’t it interesting how deceptive our world seems to be right now? Distrust is felt with our governments, our beliefs, our culture. It is just another wheel in the cog of life. This apathy seems to swing like a pendulum. Give it some time and we will swing the other way! I don’t even want to discuss American politics. It is an unbelievable mess. Happy Easter to you, Janice. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Deception is a very intriguing topic. I was struck by the last two quotes and combined them. (When we refuse to believe what is true, we become disguised to ourselves.) Loved your post, Janice.

    Liked by 1 person

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