Samuel Butler - "Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well."
Umm? I normally bump into quotes I either find to be inspiring or thought-provoking in a positive way or, let's say, amusing or sometimes, perhaps, just bland and not so interesting or exciting. But this one makes me go "What? Nah, Sam....you maybe right in a way....but I am convinced you're looking at it from the wrong end...!"
Reminds me of doing things right but not doing the right thing...! A lie can never ever get through till the end however smart and cunning the liar maybe (sounds idealistic and naive? I don't mind ;-)). Even if the world fails to see the lie, the person who lies knows it all along...deep within his/her heart! I don't know if SB simply meant that lying is an art that few can master and is sometimes good.....and was not actually thinking too much about the nice and honest souls that would rather speak the truth than lie to create a temporary illusion of a better world. Concocting a lie may require cunning and intelligence of a kind......but speaking the truth requires courage. Speaking the truth requires the ability to face reality. Speaking the truth may seem to take one down the darkest of alleys....but it is more than worth it....for the good that it does to the conscience and oneself.
Hey, I know I probably sound like Gandhi's disciple....and maybe I am just wasting my energy for SB might have, in all probability, had a very relevant context that made him say so! (Hazarding a guess, maybe he was talking of falsely convincing a dying patient that there is hope and maybe that very hope was what made the patient live a little longer than he would have lived otherwise....ah, well....I can't think of any other examples though. Maybe those who are adept at politics can come up with a few dozens of situations wherein they believe lying is the only way to survive...but that is something I am not going to talk about in this post). Anyway, the quote compelled me to present my view of the importance of truth vis a vis falsehood in the general sense. This is what happens if you are itching to write something and can't help but grab hold of the first thing that comes your way and makes you think a bit.... :-)