July 10, 2009 at 6:45 am (By Amba)

If there were no speech, neither right nor wrong would be known; neither true nor false; neither good nor bad; neither pleasant nor unpleasant. Speech makes us understand all this. Meditate on speech.

~ Chandogya Upanishad

For true and false are attributes of speech, not of Things. And where speech is not, there is neither truth nor falsehood.

~ Thomas Hobbes


  1. rod said,

    Of course, you can always lie with your eyes.

  2. amba12 said,

    Especially if they’re Bette Davis eyes.

  3. Ennui said,

    And then there’s this sort of thing

  4. Ennui said,

    I’ve been mulling this over a bit. Hobbes’ quote follows, of course, axiomatically from his definition of truth which is, if I recall correctly, the “right ordering of names.” But clearly a kind of deception is written throughout nature. If a bird mistakes a moth for a leaf what does one call that? The moth didn’t really deceive the bird. Again, it’s as though the whole ball of wax, competition and selection pressures, etc. conspired to deceive the bird. And if a fly falls into a pitcher plant you wonder if, after it’s own fashion, some thought or impression flits across its tiny brain to the effect of “didn’t see that coming”

  5. amba said,

    Excellent point. It’s called “mimicry.” Not only camouflage, but also a tasty butterfly evolving to look like a vile-tasting or toxic one. In the animal world, deception is regarded as a sign of intelligence. It requires at least a rudimentary “theory of mind,” the awareness that someone else has awareness. Dogs and cats, at least the smart ones, certainly practice it. I’ve seen it.

  6. amba said,

    I didn’t mean to imply that butterfly mimicry was deliberate and conscious. I should have started a new paragraph for the jump in phyla.

  7. karen said,

    Does that go along w/..~openning one’s mouth and removing all doubt~ :0)?

  8. Rod said,

    Well, I may have implied a bit much. I really agree with the quotes in a larger sense. There is some “conscious deception” in the animal world, and before speech, there was probably a bit of nonverbal deception. Something as simple as a smile can be a lie.

    I think lies began with communication. It is interesting that the first lie in the Bible is told by the Serpent in Genesis 3.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: