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
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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.
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.
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.∼Francois de La Rochefoucauld, 1613-1680
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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