Quotations about   deception

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Those who know they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound strive for obscurity. For the crowd believes that if it cannot see to the bottom of something it must be profound. It is timid and dislikes going into the water.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Gay Science [Die fröhliche Wissenschaft] (1882)
Added on 15-Apr-17 | Last updated 15-Apr-17
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Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
Beyond Good and Evil, 169 (1886) [tr. Kaufmann (1966)]
Added on 6-Apr-17 | Last updated 6-Apr-17
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Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (22 Sep 1920)
Added on 28-Nov-16 | Last updated 28-Nov-16
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Lying is done with words, and also with silence.

Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) American poet, essayist, feminist
“Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying” (1975)
Added on 21-Oct-15 | Last updated 21-Oct-15
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It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
(Attributed)
Added on 16-Oct-15 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Benjamin Disraeli - lies statistics - wist_info

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) English politician and author
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Attributed by Mark Twain in "Chapters from My Autobiography," April 1904, North American Review (7 Sep 1906), later in : "Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'"

The phrase has not been found in any of Disraeli's works, and he is considered unlikely to be the originator (see here and here for more discussion).

Added on 14-Oct-15 | Last updated 14-Oct-15
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Nearly always, the best deception trades on the enemy’s own preconceptions. If he already believes what you want him to believe, you have merely to confirm his own ideas rather than to undertake the more difficult task of inserting new ones into his mind.

Ronald Lewin (1914-1984) British military historian, radio producer publishing editor
Ultra Goes to War, ch. 10 (1978)
Added on 11-Aug-15 | Last updated 11-Aug-15
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When capable, feign incapacity; when active, inactivity.

Sun-Tzu (fl. 6th C. AD) Chinese general and philosopher [a.k.a. Sun Wu]
The Art of War, “Estimates” (18) [tr. Griffith (1963)]
Added on 16-Oct-14 | Last updated 16-Oct-14
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Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Autobiography, Virtue #7 “Sincerity,” 1784 (1798)
Added on 2-Jul-14 | Last updated 2-Jul-14
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By a lie a man throws away and, as it were, annihilates his dignity as a man.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) German philosopher
Metaphysics of Morals [Metaphysik der Sitten], “The Doctrine of Virtue [Tugendlehre]” (1797) [tr. Gregor (1964)]
Added on 13-Feb-14 | Last updated 25-Sep-15
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We begin by fooling others and end up fooling ourselves.

Eric Alterman (b. 1960) American historian, journalist, author
Sound and Fury: The Washington Punditocracy and the Collapse of American Politics, Introduction (1992)
Added on 7-Jan-14 | Last updated 7-Jan-14
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Who has deceiv’d thee so oft as thy self?

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (Jan 1738)
Added on 3-Dec-13 | Last updated 3-Dec-13
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Nor can a man dupe others long, who has not duped himself first.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (1852)
    (Source)

Often rendered: "A man cannot dupe others long, who has not duped himself first."
Added on 26-Nov-13 | Last updated 26-Nov-13
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When the issue is one of Truth and Justice, there can be no differentiating between small problems and great ones. For the general viewpoints on human behaviour are indivisible. People who fail to regard the truth seriously in small matters, cannot be trusted in matters that are great.

[Wenn es sich um Wahrheit und Gerechtigkeit handelt, gibt es nicht die Unterscheidung zwischen kleinen und grossen Problemen. Denn die allgemeinen Gesichtspunkte, die das Handeln der Menschen betreffen, sind unteilbar. Wer es in kleinen Dingen mit der Wahrheit nicht ernst nimmt, dem kann man auch in grossen Dingen nicht vertrauen …]

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Albert Einstein on Israeli-Arab Relations,” New Outlook (Jul 1957)

Often paraphrased / translated, "Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." See here for more discussion.
Added on 2-Nov-10 | Last updated 27-Oct-15
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If falsehood, like truth, had but one face, we would be more on equal terms. For we would consider the contrary of what the liar said to be certain. But the opposite of truth has a hundred thousand faces and an infinite field.

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist
“Of Liars,” Essays, Vol. I, ch. 9 (1575)

Alt trans. [C. Cotton (1877)]: "If falsehood had, like truth, but one face only, we should be upon better terms; for we should then take for certain the contrary to what the liar says: but the reverse of truth has a hundred thousand forms, and a field indefinite, without bound or limit."

Alt trans. [Florio (1603)]: "If a lie had no more faces but one, as truth had, we should be in farre better termes than we are: For whatsoever a lier should say, we would take it in a contrarie sense. But the opposite of truth has many shapes, and an undefinite field."

Added on 13-Jul-09 | Last updated 20-Jan-16
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The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.

Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) American journalist
Speech, The Family of Man Award, The Protestant Council of New York (Oct 1969)

His last public speech.
Added on 3-Mar-09 | Last updated 15-Apr-17
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Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
In More Maxims of Mark [ed. M. Johnson (1925)]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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You can’t reason someone out of something they weren’t reasoned into.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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Frank and explicit: That is the right line to take when you wish to conceal your mind and confuse the minds of others.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) English politician and author
Sybil, “The Gentleman in Downing Street,” bk 6, ch 1 (1845)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 28-Mar-16
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