Why does a lie offend us?

image: nakedblogging.com (click)

image: nakedblogging.com (click)

Why is it that a lie — especially a lie to our face — vexes us so?

Our efforts to identify the veracity of a claim (sometimes a very basic claim), can be frustrated by liars and rogues. So much of our lives can be taken up with efforts to locate or verify the truth about something or someone.

And lies are told every day — about big issues and small. The expression, ‘seeking the truth’ has a real ring to it … but it ain’t easy.

Over the years, dealing with some professional con-artists and liars, in politics and in business, I have come to see there is no single tell-tale factor that will readily help you identify the liar. Except perhaps one (and even that is not totally reliable):

How they treat other people — particularly those who they perceive as of lower ‘status’ to them.

Arrogance is a HUGE indicator.

A bully is almost always a liar. (But not every liar is a bully! Far from it.)

In my observation, there often seems to be a sort of cognitive link (is that the right expression?) between excessive ego — however it’s expressed — and a lack of truthfulness.

The thought: ‘Those rules don’t apply to me’ has led many a narcissist or sociopath into deception.

Just a theory.

Any other ideas?

Re-posted from August 2009