Cedric Mayen

Script writer, Editions Delcourt

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Do you have to be a good liar to be a good storyteller?

What is the main difference between a lie and a fictional story? aren't they quite the same thing? Are novel writers basically mass-liars? What are the basics of lying that you can also find in story-telling?
I'm writing a novel based on a character who lies to everyone about his life, a con-artist who decides after a shock to stop lying and starts to write a fictional book because he desperately needs to lie to feel alive, but he's stuck with writer-block syndrom.
If you can help me answering these questions it will help me a lot.
BTW I'm french so, I'm sorry if sometimes my english is bad.

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    Sep 11 2013: A lie is a false statement to a person or group made by another person or group who knows it is not the whole truth, intentionally. However, a scriptwriter or book writer such as yourself are considered entertainers. When I go to a comedy shop and listen to the comedian I do not believe the things he says about his wife / mother / kids / etc ... he is entertaining me ... are they lies? Perhaps ... his routine would really be boring if he did not expand on things that touch us all. My guess that he would not be employed very long. Is everyone who tells a joke a liar?

    In some cases I guess it would be both a storyteller and a liar. Bill Clinton and Hilary went before Congress and could not recall a single fact ... yet two years later wrote books with detailed information. Thus the liar became the storyteller. Now is the book a biography or listed under fiction?

    Most that are committed to lying are anti-social in behavior, and have a diminished capacity for empathy or remorse, and poor behavioral controls. Your character has gained empathy and remorse for his fellow man but redirects his antisocial behavior to literature. Must have been some shock. Sounds like a lot of personal conflict will be in the book.

    By the way it is a good thing you are French living in France and all ... helps with the language and the customs.

    Best of luck. Bob.
  • Sep 10 2013: Lying and fictional storytelling are two different acts that take advantage of the same type of thinking. When a person lies they must remember that lie, and the next, and so on. They must also remember how that lie relates to everything else that is said for the remainder of their interaction with who they lied to. The same type of thinking must be employed by an author of fiction who states a fictionall truth, which adds up to the same thing as a lie. They must remember this fictional truth and build on it, interact with it, try to fight it, but he has to remember that it exists and should make its nature clear by the end of his narrative.
    This is extremely difficult and exhausting, thus not many people do it well. It is however, like so many other things, something that a person gets better at the more that they practice. It is conceivable that a person who was a con-man turned legitimate could turn to fiction as it employs the talents that he took so long to master. He can still express himself at what he see's as his highest calling and form of expression by taking those talents and aplying them to fictional storytelling.
    The difference between lying and storytelling, however, is very important; one of these is meant to help or entertain, the other is meant to harm or manipulate. The difference comes from the perspective of the person who hears the statement. If the statement is intended to be taken as truth and is not, it is a lie. This usually occurs either to keep someone in the dark, or to manipulate them into seeing a situation from a designed perspective. If the statement is made clear to be a fictional story, not meant to be taken as fact but merely beneficial in an entertaining or philosophical capacity, it is not harmful at all. Its a cliche good vs. evil scenario.
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      Sep 12 2013: Thank you for sharing your thoughts, they are really close to what I think on this matter. Lies and fiction works with the same type of thinking, although it's the intent that change. Now I'm trying to understand the difference of intent, because as I was telling Lejan before, I don't think that storytellers always share good intents and liers bad intent as Yoka said earlier talking about white lies, maybe you can help us figure it out.
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        Sep 12 2013: Cedric,
        I agree with you that a storyteller and one who tells a lie may both have good intent....or both have bad intent.

        Chris has made a good point..... perhaps the difference comes from the perspectives of BOTH the person delivering the information AND the person receiving the information?

        If a storyteller is clear about his/her intent, and the listener chooses to accept the story as truth, that is not the responsibility of the storyteller. If a person tells a story with the intent to deceive, then the outcome IS the responsibility of the person telling the story/lie?

        In Yoka's example, the story was told with the intent to help a person through a traumatic process. Apparently, those involved in the delivery and acceptance of the information all felt it to be a loving gesture, which fulfilled the intent, desire and expectations of all those involved.
      • Sep 13 2013: Cedric, it seems that we can both agree that the intent is important to understand whether or not one is good or bad, but there is more to it. A storyteller whose intention in telling a story is to teach a lesson can become dangerous as it can be a powerfull tool for manipulation. A lie will either be accepted or denied, and most of us can recognize a terrible lie when we hear one. A story however, can cloud the way that we see the deeper issues being adressed. A story that makes you sympathize with a truly evil person could potentially cloud your judgement on the issues themselves, ex: "Maybe he was right to want revenge, I certainly would if I were in his situation." This is a more effective method of manipulation than lying. If a storyteller is not telling the entire story, or has a goal for the listener other than simply entertaining or teaching factual, empiricle information, it has to be disclosed as such. Otherwise it is a manipulation and this puts it on the same playing field as a lie.
        Another issue adressed was that perhaps a lie can be good, or helpful. While 'white lies' can come from an intention to benefit who is being told, it is an extremely risky and often unfare assumption of control by the person telling the supposedly harmless lie. If you are giving incorrect information to a person that trusts you, even if under the pretense of helping them, you are assuming control over their system of beliefs, of their understanding, of their mind. It is not a risk that should be taken lightly and is most often despised by the person that may eventually realize that they were lied to. We all must deal with difficult truths, but just because those people we trust deny those hard truths does not mean that our ability to face them will be improved.
        I would conclude that there are obvious examples of how a storyteller can be a bad influence, but considerably less evidence that suggests irrefutably that lying can be good. I believe in the truth personally.
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    Sep 8 2013: Hi Cedric,
    By definition, a lie is "an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker to be untrue with intent to deceive; something that misleads or deceives".

    A story, by definition, is "an account of incidents or events: a statement regarding the facts pertinent to a situation in question; a fictional narrative; a widely circulated rumor; news article or broadcast."

    Considering the definitions, I suppose a good liar can be a good storyteller, and a good story teller can be a good liar. It seems that it is the intent of the speaker/writer and how s/he identifies him/herself and the story/lie which makes the difference.

    I perceive imagination as the basic foundation for both, and intent, the factor that may cause a difference. I suggest that a character who lies to everyone about his life and has writers block when attempting to write fiction, may have intent (consciously or unconsciously) that goes beyond simply storytelling. In other words, perhaps the need to deceive and mislead regarding his true life circumstances overrides the need to tell a fictional story?
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      Sep 9 2013: Hi Colleen,
      Your last words were very profound and truly helped me, because you understood something about my character that I couldn't perceive. This gave me a new plot in the story based on why he can't write. I hope I could tell you more, but the main shape of the story is not yet clear to me.
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        Sep 9 2013: Thanks for the feedback Cedric:>)
        I've never written a book, but I was a professional actor for awhile, and with that experience, I learned that to be able to express different characters effectively, I needed to connect somehow with that character.....understand the character and the underlying characteristics to the best of my ability. Before we can begin to understand another character, it helps to understand our "self" as much as possible.
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          Lejan .

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          Sep 10 2013: Hi Colleen, just in case Cedric isn't publishing under public domain license later and may suffer from a partial amnesia on online conversations once he bypasses Harry Potter in book sales, this may be a good time for a printout of a screenshot ... ;o)
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          Sep 10 2013: I won't forget that this community helped me answering this question, but do screenshot this thread in case I'n lying right now :)
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        Sep 10 2013: LOL!!! Good idea Lejan, to get proof that we contributed to the book, which I'm sure will sell out very quickly. Perhaps it needs to say.....written by Cedric Mayen and the TED community!!! :>)
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    Sep 6 2013: I think a good liar is a good story-teller, but a good story-teller maybe not a real liar. His purpose could be to amuse people or let people think about some phenomenon or learn from something. You can add some magical parts in the story to make your story interesting and gripping. But a good liar should be very good at logical analysis and realistic imagination to make people believe him.
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      Sep 6 2013: Good point! Thank you. (I really want to answer back but it's pretty late here and I need to sleep, I'll answer tomorrow)
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        Sep 6 2013: I'm very glad if I can be helpful. It's 7:40A.M. in Shanghai, Good morning and good night to you~!:)
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          Sep 9 2013: Sorry for not answering back on saturday, long w-e!
          I think that a good storyteller too need to be good at logical analysis, because everything in a good story have a logic. If something is told or untold in a story, it's because of the impact that the storyteller wants his story to have on the reader.
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        Sep 9 2013: Pas de quoi, c'est sans importance~.
        I agree with you, a good story-teller should also be good at analysis. But I just wanted to point out their purposes are possibly different.When a story-teller end up a story making people think out the result of the story by themselves , it could also be a good story.He doesn't always have to let people believe him in the result. but a good liar is definitely to let people believe the result he made up. :)

        And I'm thinking what the character would be like in your novel . A liar but he recognizes himself as a good story teller....

        What I've figured out is the character must be a writer living on writing interesting novels and in his real life he lies to everyone maybe for excitement or some mental reason .
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          Sep 10 2013: Actually I already know what the characters does for a living and it's not writing. He 's a sort of chameleon, feeding himself from the ingenuity of old people, acting like the perfect son-in-law. Writing comes after a shock, when he can't lie anymore but needs to keep on creating different paths of his life. But he do recognize himself as a good story teller, even if he discovers after meeting again people he conned that lot of them knew he was a liar, but liked him for his flaws. It's difficult to explain it in few words and in english too, but that's why I will write it as a novel, as soon as I finish rewriting my current novel.
          I'm happy that everyone here feels concerned by my researches and wants to help me.
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    Sep 11 2013: Dear Colleen
    I'm always fascinated by the cultural difference between the orient and the west.:)

    For the first example,I have to say that you should have the right judgement and good understanding of your relatives before you tell the white lies. If you think she can accept the truth or she'd rather choose to know the fact than to be comforted with white lies, you needn't lie. I can tell you what I told you was a real case that my family applied to my mother. Considering her personality and the situation of her disease,telling white lie is what we and the doctors decided to do at the first stage.And in fact , she got the confidence and courage under the white lie and recuperated much mentally and physically . With the successful restrain of her disease, the doctor and we decided to reveal the truth to her little by little and step by step. She pulled it off at last. Don't you think it's a successful example?

    And the next example is also the cultural difference. Yes, you are entitled to answer like that.But different people have different perspectives and concerns, it may turn the conversation into awkward in China. So some people will prefer to answer it indirectly to make both parties feel comfortable.

    And last I disagree with you on that storytelling is for the purpose of entertainment. I think story-telling could be very educational and enlightening. In our daily life, we have some tales and stories they really let people do self-examinations and think about life. And many of them are very magical and mythical. For example , pig can talk or some other animals can fly.......---some unimportant parts of the story are not logical and realistic ,which also produce some fun to people, but compared with their connotation in education, We cannot say they are for entertainment.

    I hope you can understand what I've said. Thank you for your different ideas. They help to make me think widely.
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      Sep 11 2013: I agree Yoka, that there are cultural differences:>)

      I also agree that it helps to know those we interact with, and I am glad the situation with your mother turned out in a way that helped her recuperate mentally and physically.

      I also agree that storytelling can be educational, enlightening, and can encourage reflection. Thank you for the reminder:>)
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    Sep 11 2013: No, you just need to have great deal of imagination. I think that's why kids are best at telling stories. Like Ken Robinson said, Schools kill creativity. Cause school program is created just for some practical things and less of art(music, painting, poetry..) And if we could manage to put these activities in regular classes, there will be much more Stories, Paintings, and other creative things!

    http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html
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    Lejan .

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    Sep 10 2013: '... wouldn't a good story exploit the "Dark side' of empathy as well? '

    I don't think so, because a good story puts me exclusively at the 'receiving' end of it, and my part in it is only passive. Let aside the interactive 'storytelling' of modern video games, but even there the story is predetermined and just the 'way through' altered by my inputs.

    I could not use the 'dark side' of my empathy to manipulate any character within a story, which disables the author to exploit this my ability for his/hers storytelling.

    Yet the usual empathy actually is a necessity for any story to be received. Otherwise no emotions, no curiosity could be created and maintained If a reader or listener wasn't able to 'identify' with it. Thats why we do not consider 'telephone books' to be great literature ... :o)

    I think my personal 'dark side' wouldn't even be exploited if you managed to make me sympathize with your 'bad guys' in your story and to team up with them against all the good ones, as again, I would only have a passive part in it and therefore no need to activate my own abilities.

    And even though you would have managed to make me realize, that my very character is more evil than I realized before, as you opened hidden doors to the true core of my foulness, in this my realization, empathy is by definition no part of it, as it was self-awareness only.
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    Sep 9 2013: With my naive understanding Story Telling is an art with which the teller just tells the story for her/his joy without specific target of being materially benefited out of it. Where is lying is done for one's own benefit. More in lying there may or mayn't be any story.

    In story telling the artist uses imagination to catch the attention of audience. Lying is nothing but twisting or changing the real fact ....very little space of imagination.
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      Sep 10 2013: Salim, it took all of my imagination at that time when I was trying to make up a good story for my teacher, why I didn't make my homework. And doing this for the second day of a row, it became almost impossible not to involve extraterrestrial beings who lifted me off my desk and against my will ... :o)

      This is another yet 'officially denied' way of strict teachers to 'inspire' their students imagination ..., but imagination its is ... :o)
      • Sep 10 2013: touché!!!

        So, can we say that the motive behind the lying, and the frequency with which the individual must lie, might determine how much imagination is required?

        What say ye?
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          Sep 10 2013: 'Ye' got somewhat stuck on the 'must' in your proposal ... :o)

          But lets assume there was a situation in which an individual 'must' continue to lie, maybe to protect the well being of others, it would certainly determine the amount of imagination which was to be put in this.

          And not only imagination was required, but also an accordingly increasing effort for the 'plausibility check' for consistency.

          Becoming a good liar means to use the 'dark side' of empathy, training ones memory even for the slightest detail and to know and to master the tricky sides of ones own body language, as well as to gain as much emotional distance to the act of lying itself.

          'Cold blood' liars with an 'photographic memory' for imaginative pictures and a vivid imagination are the worst to spot.

          But I also came across a certain breed once, which managed to use me against myself for their dishonesty while reducing the need for their own imagination to almost zero, by using just mine... In retrospect, that certainly was nothing but master-class on a blood temperature, which chills me still ... :o)
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          Sep 10 2013: Lejan, wouldn't a good story exploit the "Dark side " of empathy as well? Let's take "Fight Club" as an example. This book triggers all the male low instincts (deceiving dying people, using a lost woman, fighting til blood spilling, starting a revolution). I'm not sure that in literature, the writers always try to use good sentiments. Other examples "I spit on your graves" from Boris Vian or "The Stranger" from Albert Camus
      • Sep 10 2013: "I've got chills too from reading your last paragraph........Yikes!!!"

        So, Lejan, in what field of work do you think the best 'professional liars' exist in? If I may be so bold as to ask your opinion on this? And, do you think that there is a particular personality type that lies more than others?

        I hope you take a stab at answering my questions with a spirit of furthering along Cedric's research ;)

        [I'm printing out the screen shot too.......LOL]
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          Sep 10 2013: Thank you Mary for pushing the understanding, that really helps me
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          Sep 10 2013: The field of work of the best professional liars I am unable to name by definition, as those are the best, I am not aware that I am lied at. :o)

          Is goes a bit like this funny question: 'What country has the worlds best intelligence service? Well, Denmark has, or have you ever heard of theirs?' ... ;o)

          Yet for numerous, potential and talented candidates the following come to my mind:

          Politics (politicians, diplomats, secret agents, etc.), Business (ceo's, cfo's, sales, pr specialists, etc.), Financial (banksters, consultants, 'specialists', etc.), Media (tycoons, reporter, freelancer, etc.), Red-light milieu (prostitutes, call girls/boys, pimps, etc.), Science (dishonest scientists, forger, faked experts reports, etc.)

          This list isn't complete and not meant as blanket condemnation, as this wouldn't satisfy the fact, that in all of this fields are many honest individuals behaving in best integrity.

          By assuming, that Cedric's experience doesn't differ much from mine, I am afraid that this my spirit doesn't offer anything new to him ... :o)

          But maybe this is new: I always had problems in understanding the term of 'professionalism', which somehow tries to describe some sort of 'split personality', by which an individual separates its 'private self' from its 'working self', which stays mysterious to in many aspects, as I consider an individual by its general 'potentials'. By this I mean, that I do not belief, that a 'professional liar' in his working environment suddenly changes personality the moment 'after official hours' begins. And vice versa. Dishonesty, in whatever degree, is a personal trait, not absolute though, yet also not quickly switchable ...

          So far I came across a certain 'personality type' who didn't care much about honesty and without exception this type was highly career oriented and as much competitive about it to get into leading positions. Usually great 'communicators' and 'net-workers' but for their own goals exclusively.
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          Sep 10 2013: And Mary, no need to be bold to ask me anything ..., well, almost ... ;o), as I hope my answers won't compromise you personally.
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        Sep 10 2013: I agree with you, Lejan, that there is a consistency in people's personalities- that strong traits do not shut on and off. But I think people do choose sometimes to "act" in one situation and to be genuine in another.

        I have definitely known dishonest people with no career or career ambition at all.
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          Lejan .

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          Sep 10 2013: I understand your point, Fritzie, but can we always draw the line in between us acting and being genuine? Isn't this a constant sliding on scales of gray and less of a 'digital' state of being?

          Isn't this 'acting' part of us not often misused to excuse avoiding personal realization?

          This is why I rather think of 'potentials', because I think we could not act in any way which was completely alien to our personality. Therefore I consider 'acting' as a form of 'amplification' only, which, according to personal talent, more or less successful create the illusion of 'true' authenticity.

          The fact, that it is no rarity at acting schools for students to experience unexpected nervous breakdowns within certain scenes they play, may gives us some hints of how interwoven in between those two terms our personalties can be.

          I always wondered, how it is possible for individuals to be, lets say, a cruel prison camp officer during duty hours to return home while transforming into a loving spouse and parent to his/her children.

          Acting alone couldn't be enough for me to explain the magnitude of this change, as I consider acting as a conscious state of the mind.

          On this chosen example it is known, that it is based on 'devaluation' and the transformation of 'subjects' to the level of 'objects'. If acting alone would have the transformational power of this depth of self-deception, I have my doubts.

          I have met 'non-career' yet dishonest people as well, but I choose for my example by the average numbers of victims both types usually produce ...
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          Sep 11 2013: Fritzie and Lejan,
          When we consider part of the meaning of "genuine" (produced by or proceeding from the alleged source or author) then we are always being genuine, are we not?

          As multi sensory, multi dimensional humans, we have many choices regarding how we will "be" in any given situation. We have archetypes, personas, characteristics, and when we are aware of this in our "self", we use different characteristics, depending on the circumstances...depending on how well we "know" ourselves. I agree Lejan, that there is something like a "sliding scale of gray".

          When one lies, s/he is genuinely lying, and that is the characteristic/persona s/he chooses in that moment. I agree that we generally cannot act/behave in a way that is completely alien to our personality. If it was totally alien to our personality, we would not know how to do it!

          Lejan, you mention situations where actors cannot play a scene. I had this experience with a play years ago. In the play, my son was killed, and I performed a very wrenching monologue after his funeral. During rehearsals, the director kept telling me that I was not quite connecting with the scene, and I couldn't figure out what she was talking about because I felt like I was genuinely feeling the sorrow/sadness by imagining how I might feel if my son was actually killed.

          When I watched a rehearsal video, I understood what she was talking about, and I realized that I would not go to the depth of feeling that I may actually experience if my real son died. The performance was ok, got good reviews and all that, but I never reached the level of sorrow that might have been experienced with the actual death of my son. I simply would not go to that place in myself that seemed so very painful.

          In order to "act" a part, or behave in a certain way, we need to "feel" it on different conscious, or unconscious levels. For example, I do not "act" the same when chairing a meeting, as I do when participating in sports with friends.
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          Sep 11 2013: Hi Colleen,

          you are right in what you say about 'being genuine', yet my understanding of the term 'genuine' Fritzie used and the context he used it in, translated to me into being 'authentic'.

          'Authenticity' in my understanding is the 'internal distance' of a current 'state of being' I am in, compared to a self-centered, undisturbed 'passive' state, in which I am not interacting with other beings and in which I am of 'neutral mind'. So neither happy, nor sad nor 'acting' in any degree. A 'resting point', if you will, in which 'resting' and 'passive' doesn't mean to be 'frozen' or 'paralyzed' in this state. This state isn't absolute and does change over time (age), yet not as quick, so that for comparison reasons it is precise enough to consider it 'quasi static' to 'measure' this 'inner distance' against.

          From there it now depends on the individual who 'walks in' this, my 'resting state' to determine the level of me 'acting' while 'interacting' with this individual.

          In this, people I don't like will cause the highest 'inner distance' towards my resting point and people I like will create 'short distances'. People I love, create none.

          How would you 'act' while chairing a meeting with friends? Also in terms of 'seriousness' and 'discipline'?

          In business, those situations often turn difficult for none 'natural leaders' who happen to be promoted and became superior towards their former colleges and friends.

          Provided we have no split personality, isn't us 'being genuine' not also to be 'the actor' and 'the director' at the same time? Isn't this, our director nothing but our 'superego'? This point of internal reference and internal judgment of our own actions (acting) and source of our individual moral? This inner 'resting point'?

          Could we become friends with someone whose 'individual moral' doesn't fit ours or be compatible with it in 'necessary' portions? I couldn't, as high 'inner distances' doesn't feel comfortable and 'acting' is exhausting ... :o)
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          Sep 11 2013: Lejan,
          You ask..."How would you 'act' while chairing a meeting with friends? Also in terms of 'seriousness' and 'discipline'?

          While chairing a meeting, yes, I connect with my more serious, disciplined, focused persona. While participating in sport activities, I may choose to connect with my more playful persona:>)

          I agree that we can be the actor, director, producer, choreographer of our behaviors all at the same time. It is all part of a genuine, authentic "me".

          Why do you say the director is the superego? To me, directing my life experience is simply making choices which benefit learning and growth as an individual, while contributing to the whole.

          You say acting is exhausting, and when we think of acting only in reference to performing on stage, it can be exhausting, because we may be drawing on emotions which may not be part of our regular, normal persona. We may be drawing on emotions/behaviors that we prefer not to use in our everyday lives.
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          Sep 12 2013: Colleen,

          some of my assumptions are probably wrong ...
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          Sep 12 2013: One day without computer and I miss this interesting discussion. I like how you connect acting as a genuine type of lying. In the process of writing, acting is the most difficult thing to imagine. When you write a character, you give him a past, experiences that are not shown in the book but are part of the way the character reacts to situations.
          But how does a character acts? What does he find in himself to play someone else... let's call it the "inception syndrome". It's one of the subject of the book I'm currently finishing to write. Some young people discover an old abandoned theater and make it their HQ. In the theater they forget their former self to become a character, but soon they lose themselves and become empty. I will pass on the evil spirit that lies under the theater and toy with them, to keep on this simple idea: Acting, as a kind of lie, empty yourself of you true self, and it's hard not to get eaten by the character your playing. Many actors feel it hard to leave a character they really enjoyed playing, and those characters are mainly evil or twisted.
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          Sep 12 2013: Lejan,
          I honestly do not perceive assumptions as right or wrong. I believe we all make assumptions based on information we have at any given time. The information we have, which is often based on our individual experiences, may be different. That is neither a lie or storytelling. It is what I believe to be truth:>)

          Cedric,
          Welcome back.....missed you:>)

          To me, acting and writing seem similar, although, as I said, I have never written a book! In my experience with acting, and I think this is true of most actors, we explore a characters past experiences that may not be shown in the play, for the purpose of understanding and "building" the character. The more we know about the character, the better able we are to express the character in a believable way.

          Cedric, you ask..."what does he find in himself to play someone else...?"

          As humans, we all share many of the same emotions, and most of us have experienced many of these emotions in our life experience. The character is in pain.....we connect with something that has caused pain in our lives. The character is joyful.....we connect with something that creates joy in our lives.

          I do not agree that it is an empting of oneself, because the process (for me anyway) is basically the same as compassion and empathy, which I learned more about with the acting experience. It is putting oneself in the shoes of another character, so to speak....feeling what that person may feel....reacting as that person may react.

          I suggest that the reason actors sometimes are so engaged with the character, is because we are connecting on a very deep level with the character by drawing on our own experiences. I haven't ever played the part of an evil/twisted character, and I don't know any other actors who wished to hang onto an evil twisted persona after the play ended.
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        Sep 10 2013: I was thinking of the many cases is which the victims of abusive spouses have a hard time getting people to believe that such a nice, upstanding pillar of the community was abusive at home.

        Some people's antagonism is selective, or they focus all their aggression on one target, which leaves that aspect of themselves satisfied.
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          Sep 10 2013: The people you describe having such 'hard times' are either absolutely lucky in their lives or pretending 'worldly innocence' on purpose... I always wondered how may politicians got away with those election-time 'happy family' stories ... :o)

          And selective targeting in my view is neither cause nor explanation for a given 'potential', its just its outlet ...

          Difficult we are for sure... :o)
      • Sep 10 2013: Lejan, thanks for indulging me :)

        I enjoyed reading your point of view.

        You state....."Dishonesty, in whatever degree, is a personal trait, not absolute though, yet also not quickly switchable ..."

        Do you mean that a person who makes a habit of lying, lies all the time, that it is so ingrained in them that they may have a difficult time turning the lying switch off?

        I have found that those in the fields of 'selling' are more prone to lying ("exaggerating truths".. let me soften the blow a little with a bit of politically correct rhetoric)........also those whose income is dependent on commissions.......but that's just me.

        I also think that when a person discovers they are good at getting away with a lie, they may feel empowered by it, and may very well make it a habit..........not because they are bad individuals, but because they have that mental inclination..........lying for the thrill of it.

        What do you think about this?

        BTW.....your answer has not compromised me..........I think? Ha!!
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          Sep 10 2013: Mary, the only reason I am indulging you is to get you to the point to finally admit of being compromised ... like sweet little droplets to a sticky honey-pot... and because I am beyond any shadow of doubt, anything you say from there can and will be used against you ... ;o)

          Well, when if not right now have I ever lost allowance in paradise ... :o)

          What I meant by 'dishonesty as a trait' was, that lying is somewhat comparable to me to corruption. Its a bit like the 'bursting of a dam', because once someone sold his conscience for money, it becomes very difficult to restore ones 'internal integrity' from there.

          I also think, that humans have a natural tendency to go the 'way of least resistance', as it usually helps to life a more comfortable life, which is often desired by us.

          If this my assumption is true, 'getting away' with something by using a lie would therefore help to reduce this sort of 'resistance' and could lead to this 'lying for the thrill of it', which you described.

          So if we get used to those 'sweet little lies' if nothing of importance is at stake, it may become even more difficult the moment it is of importance.

          Let me give you a personal example:

          I prepared myself for the final exam in English at high school by using a cheat sheet, written on a sticky-note, which I stuck on the inside of the cardigan I was wearing that day. Not the most creative way, I agree, but also not fool-proof as I was about to learn ...

          During this test I needed to look up a word which I didn't know and for this we were allowed to use an English/English dictionary, which was placed on the teachers desk. What I didn't noticed was, that my cheat sheet fell loose and under the desk of another student...

          Till this very day I am undecided if I would have admitted to be the source of that sticky-note, as it was my very last trial to pass this test without I would not have graduated.

          I was lucky the teacher trusted the suspected student and let things slide from there.
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          Sep 10 2013: A lesson in shame for me, which certainly influenced my personal standing on this matter today.

          Yet the fact, that I am still undecided if I would have had 'the guts' if something of 'personal importance' is at stake, perpetuates this aspect of my self-doubt.

          What is beautiful to read in 'exaggerating truths' is our wish for self-deception by the reinterpretation of words ... :o) It does work as long as we stay away of deeper reflections ... ;o)
      • Sep 11 2013: Coming clean can be a big challenge..............do you think fear of man plays a role in admitting one has lied?

        I thoroughly enjoyed your story..........as a teacher, I am a bit ashamed of your exploits....but.....let's just say it was entertaining to read. :)
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          Lejan .

          • +1
          Sep 11 2013: Kids, of what I said, don't do this at school! But if you do, be smarter than me!

          *whispers : 'Mary, why didn't you tell me that you are a teacher?' :o)

          And to save the last bits of my now shattered reputation I hereby state, that I didn't use this cheat sheet that very day! Well, mainly not because I wouldn't have, but because I couldn't have, as I was walking to the teachers desk at the very beginning ... :o)

          Mary, the topic here is about lies, so no reason to be ashamed of them not being applied on good old 'school stories'... Did you never cheat at school? (attention... honey droplet!) :o)

          'Fear of man' plays a role for some, yet seems to me to be to 'far off' our usual close circles we live and lie in. Usually, as closer the people are we lie to, as more guilty we feel.

          The fear of rejection and disapproval is of course the same, yet as long we are no celebrities or within the 'public light', many of us couldn't care less what an anonymous group of people thinks about us.

          I think, this 'Fear of man' actually is the cause of many lies we get to hear in public by many official sources, which often turn even into ridiculous situations.

          Who of us truly beliefs, when 'Marijuana was smoked but not inhaled'? But what those statements do, is to force our 'benefit of the doubt', even though we instinctively 'know' not to be to serious about those 'doubts'.

          I am no fond of such illusions, as they not only deny our imperfections and abilities to improve on them, but also the fact, that learning is exclusively based on making mistakes.

          Of course this is no 'wild-card' and certain mistakes will and should have consequences, but if this doesn't give room for improvement, it will only create what it condemns.
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        Sep 12 2013: Lejan, love your sense humour.
        Sorry to hear your "Imaginative Story" couldn't rescue you from the iron fist of "strict teacher" :)
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          Lejan .

          • +1
          Sep 12 2013: Thank you for your sympathy.

          Well, we all grow by the challenges of our environments... but yes, I barely survived that fist ... ;o)
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      Sep 10 2013: Please allow me to disagree with you on this. Some people tell white lies. They aren't lying for themselves. :)
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        Sep 10 2013: Hello Yoka:>)
        Who is the judge of what is a "white" lie and what might be various shades of gray or darker lies?
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          Sep 10 2013: Dear Colleen, it's my pleasure to answer your question.:)

          I think sometimes people don't want to hurt their loving ones' feelings or make them desperate, so lying could be a kind solution. For example, when some people can't accept they've got a terminal disease like cancer and will crash on mental if they know it,their relatives may choose to lie to conceal the truth to help the patients to establish the confidence of fighting against the disease at first. People in the crowd could judge whether it's a white lie or not.

          For gray lies (I hadn't thought of its color until you named it), is some passive lies basically for defense. For example, you're already 30 years old and parents always push you to get married ,they keep asking you whether you have a girl friend or boy friend now. So bored with their nagging, finally you choose to lie to them saying you have one. And another example is you are asked by some people about your salary(in China it's common), so you may choose to lie to them smartly because you think it's your privacy.

          And the black lies I think are the worst, these are basically to hurt people badly due to the liar's greed and selfishness , they always lust for success,wealth or love in immoral or illegal ways.

          I hope you could understand the above and please excuse my bad expressing .
          Thank you for your question again.
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        Sep 11 2013: Thanks for your reply Yoka:>)

        I asked the question, because it seems like there are lots of situations in which one person may perceive things differently than another person. One person may believe s/he is telling a "little white lie", when it could be devastating for another person when s/he finds out about the lie. Also, I feel that once we know someone lies, even if it is a little white lie, it sometimes compromises trust.

        When I had cancer for example, I would have felt horrible if people had not told me. I believe that knowledge is power, especially with diseases, so withholding information, would have felt like I was being denied valuable information which might help me deal with the circumstances.

        If someone asked me my salary, and I didn't feel that I wanted to give them the information, I would honestly say....it is none of your business......or.....I do not choose to give you that information.

        I totally understand what you write, I know that your perspective is common, and I do not agree with the practice. I generally think/feel that a lie is told for the comfort of the one telling the lie.

        As I said in a previous comment, I believe it is intent, which is the difference between a lie and storytelling. A lie is generally for the purpose of deceiving in some way, while storytelling is for the purpose of entertainment.
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        Sep 12 2013: You are absolutely welcome to express your disagreement :)
        Here the topic is whether story telling is lying or not.
        Not whether a white lie or damn lie is good or bad or who is doing that for what cause. To save someone's life a damn lie can be necessary.
        I feeling is that HISTORY books tell more lies than any other form of literature or art. Here comes the intension or motive why one reads History or literature and that makes the difference.
        Not sure about others , I read history to know the fact and literature for enjoyment , learning and getting deeper insight.....
        By the way these days "MEDIA" is a lying machine......again it's my opinion ....anyone has the liberty to disagree...
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          Sep 12 2013: I'm sorry if my examples of defining different kinds of lies annoyed you. However, I still think I'm on the track of answering some relevant questions here.The thread-starter wants to write a character who considers himself as a story-teller but actually is a liar. I intended to provide some different thinking about the character's lying in the story. But it happened to be too long. Thanks for your reminding and I'll pay attention to that.
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        Sep 12 2013: Nothing to worry or being sorry. We are discussing here and everyone has her/his on lense to see thru things.
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    Sep 9 2013: well, a fictional story doesn't lead to practical effects beyond someone being entertained, whereas a lie in the real world can lead to very harmful results, such as someone lying about whether you can make money by investing in their business.

    Why would someone need to lie to feel alive, you feel the most alive when you have the most truth.
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      Sep 10 2013: Fictional stories do have practical effects on behaviors. Without Orwell's "1984", would there be the concept of Big Brother that we can feel everyday, walking under hundreds of camera monitoring us? Without "Natural Born Killers", would Florence Rey and Audry Maupin, start killing people in 1994? Without Capec and Isaac Asimov, would we try to make robots and apply to them the rules of robotics? Without Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World", would we even try to clone animals and human cells?
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        Sep 11 2013: Well, sure, Cedric, a few stories have some practical effect, but people still realize the original story was only a story, they can separate the story in their mind from the real-world effects.

        I still don't think you have to be a good liar to be a good story teller. In real life a lie eventually has bad consequences, but in a fiction that everyone knows is a fiction the fiction doesn't have a bad effect. In fact, I don't think you can call fiction a "lie," a "lie" is where someone deliberately tries to make you think something is true that is not, but that is not what a fiction writer does, they present a fantasy, a product of their imaginations and are open about that being what it is.

        Actually, looking again at your reply, I think all those things would happened without the fictions you mention.
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      Sep 10 2013: I agree Greg.....it feels more alive to be truthful:>)

      When one lies, it seems like s/he is always having to cover the tracks of the last lie. Seems like it would be a very complicated life!
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    Lejan .

    • +1
    Sep 7 2013: You are French AND write in English ... what more can we wish for? And because of this rare combination, any bad English will be forgiven right away ... ;o)

    Your questions made me smile at first but then to think deeper into this matter.

    The main difference between a lie and a fictional story is its general intention about the effect it has to the one it is presented to.

    The intention of a lie is to disable the judgment of another person by withdrawing, distorting or limiting their knowledge about something.

    The intention of storytelling is to entertain another person by not pretending to be true.

    The tools and therefore the origin of both are identical, which are creativity, a good memory and authenticity.

    Yet as a plow is made of the same steel than a sword, their final purpose separates them distinctively from their same origin.

    A talented storyteller may have the potential to be a good liar as well, as he or she possesses the skills, yet those will be channeled by their personal moral code if and how they are used or misused by them. The fact, that not many politicians become famous novelists after their active career, may proof my theory here ... :o)

    Propaganda could be seen as a hybrid of both worlds, as it is weaving lies with truth to form a believable story. Its intention still is to disable the judgment of a person or a group of people, and to cover its trails by the fragments of truth.

    Thank you for this interesting question!!
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      Sep 9 2013: Thank you Lejan for excusing my level in english.
      I'm ok with you about your first point, the main difference being the general intention, and that they use the same tools, but I disagree with the propaganda point.
      Propaganda don't tell stories, it carves ideas in the public brains. I think more than propaganda, you were thinking of the glorification of leaders (like Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler did.... and that's it, we have reached the Goldwin point!) creating a myth out of someone.
      By the way, I'm currently reading an excellent book "La part de l'autre" from E-E Schmitt (I don't think it has been translated in english yet, according to Wikipedia), an Uchronia based on "what if Adolf Hitler was accepted in the Vienna artschool and became a real painter?". The story alternates between Hitler the dictator to be and Adolf talented surrealist painter, friend with Dali and Breton.
      I think this book is very interesting and fit in this thread because half of the book is written by a storyteller, someone who went deeply researching and trying to understand Hitler's life and thoughts, his mechanics on becoming the worst man that ever lived, and the other half written by a liar who completely invent Adolf, someone we want to care about because we believe that he's a good person.
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        Sep 9 2013: Cedric, I have to thank you too, for excusing the level of my English, yet so far it seems, we both are doing quite well in understanding each other ... ;o)

        When I mentioned propaganda to be part in between both 'worlds' I had in mind, that in todays more or less 'enlightened' societies, especially within democratic ones, it takes more for propaganda to not been 'felt' as such, as it used to be a view decades ago.

        When I listen or read today some of the Nazi propaganda of the Third Reich, it 'feels' strange how my countryman could honestly take this seriously. And right at that point, theres the catch! Because how do I know if what is presented to me today and which I may see to be 'true' won't make people in the future think the same about me?

        And as technology advanced since those days, and society in many aspects, so have the tools of manipulation. This is where I think the 'art of storytelling' became more important in propaganda as it was before, as if you take a look in our modern 'blinking and colorful' mass media, almost anything has become a nicely wrapped story for the purpose to be easily consumed.

        How many explaining monologues or controversy discussions are left on TV or in newspapers? It appears to me, that most of it transformed into some form of 'show' with special focus on its entertaining factor. By this, propaganda would unveil itself, if it wouldn't also come in those format. Not exclusively, as multitude is key here, but as increasing as all the rest of our current 'information habits'.

        The 'glorification' you talk about wasn't on my mind at all, but as a matter of fact, I have a natural aversion against it.

        The book you mentioned sounds interesting by its concept, even though I wouldn't read it, as I don't see what other light could and should be added to Adolf Hitler than those he shone on himself and my nation at that time. I couldn't be entertained by this story, because I wish to be only informed on that subject, not entertained.
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          Sep 10 2013: I didn't know that you were german, maybe my argument wasn't the best though.... Sorry.
          Do you know Edward Bernays, the inventor of Public Relation? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays) He was the first one to understand that Advertising was Propaganda in time of peace. His first attempt to succesfully prove it was when he was contacted in the early XXth century by the big tobacco companies to expand smoking habits to women.At that time women smoking were seen badly and the companies couldn't expand their market. He decided to call New York journalists telling them that in a certain day and place something big would happen, women would lit "a torch of liberty" . he then asked suffragettes to gather and light cigarettes in front of the journalists.
          The photos they took on that day were seen all over the world, and subsequently women started smoking as a way of rebellion in those times of social change and affirmation of feminism.
          This is pictured in a really interesting BBC documentary called "the century of the self" that I invite you to watch: http://vimeo.com/61857758
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        Sep 10 2013: No problem at all, Cedric, as it isn't on you to be sensitive about the history of my nation from an inside perspective and to learn about a single aspect of yours certainly widens my horizon from the 'outside'.

        Actually I am very interested in those 'what if' questions as they usually open varieties of options future-wise. Yet unfortunately only in this direction ...

        I know Edward Bernays even though I would not have recalled his name out of context, yet I was aware that the Freud clan was related to PR in certain aspects. To me another example that its the intention what defines the danger of knowledge...

        Thank you for the documentary, which, as it seems to go on forever, I will watch it through another time.
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    Sep 6 2013: The badness of English is not your fault, it is a centuries-old struggle. Your question goes to intent. If I deliberately communicate information to you which I am representing as truth while knowing it is false, then I am lying, not storytelling. Can a person who is not adept at lying, or has an aversion to lying, tell a good story? Absolutely! The key difference will be in the opening statement. One will begin, "My fellow Americans. . .". The other will begin, "Once upon a time. . . ".
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      Sep 6 2013: Not all the stories starts with once upon a time, luckily, but I do unerstanad what you mean :) there are also politicians who writes wonderful fictional books when they spend a lifetime lying to the population. I'm thinking at Valery Giscard d'Estaing, former french president, known for lying on receiving "gifts" from african countries and now writing amazing and highly sensual novels
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        Sep 7 2013: I see how an accomplished liar can have an advantage in storytelling, but that does not mean that all competent liars are good storytellers. Since you did not submit this for Debate I assume you are simply accumulating opinions.I hope your project does not demand a definite yes or no answer to the question in order to proceed. Hopefully your book will work either way. All the best.
        • Sep 7 2013: Thanks for the vote of confidence below Ed.....I tried to give you a thumbs up....but I'm all out!
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          Sep 9 2013: You're right Edward, i should have made it a Debate, but it's my first thread on TED so I was unsure at what to do.
          You are right, I'm actually accumulating opinions, and trying to answer to each with a new question, It's helping me create the atmosphere of the book and how the main character will act, seeing himself as a storyteller when he's just a liar.
  • Sep 6 2013: depends on the story doesn't it?
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    Sep 29 2013: Lying is actually hiding the truth, to gain something or to save the self. It comes usually when someone is afraid of loosing something or when someone is greedy for something.

    Story-telling is not lying, it is creativity by using imagination power. A Novelist or A poet is not a liar.

    Yaa, but many people use this creativity of imagination to lie at the time of flattering or to influence someone :)
  • Sep 25 2013: When you go to an interview to get work... you have to sell yourself. As such, you are asked to tell a good story and paint a picture of what you could be to the firm. What then makes you a liar? What would not?
    Here, it is the same with writing a book.

    Readers have expectations. The buyers, like the interviewer; expects you to sell yourself. They know it is a novel and they look to you for something of merit. However, if you are writing about something... let's say Rome but nothing in your writing depicts Rome as it was in the time written then it is like lying. Does that help? Also, perceptions on what constitute a lie varies between cultures.

    As for your character, maybe he feels he needs to lie based on his need to feel alive because of ...? That is, why does lying make him feel alive? What blocks him really although it seems like writer's block? Will he let go of lying eventually after finding himself? What struggles in his past make him as he is today? You probabbly addressed some of these but this is my opinion based on the above question alone.
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    Sep 17 2013: I didn't have much time lately to follow this tread, because of work, but I'm taking notes on what everyone of you wrote here, soon I'll make a resume of my research. Thank you all for participating
  • Sep 13 2013: I think if you're looking at it from a very basic point of view, then yes, they could be seen as one and the same. However, to differentiate the two, I think you'd really have to get to the intent. If a person's intent is to deceive, bamboozle, swindle, etc. then lies are not the same as fiction, which is generally for the purpose of expressing creativity and to provide entertainment. Take the case of whatshisname who a couple years ago wrote what was supposed to be his autobiography, which was heralded by Oprah and others only to find out that he'd lied about a few aspects. He was summarily discredited and dismissed, regardless of his overall writing talent. However, had he simply passed it off as fiction to begin with, he might still have been hailed as a good writer (assuming he really was), and would have saved himself and everyone else the embarrassment.

    [Editing to address Colleen's comments.]
    Colleen, I wholeheartedly agree about fairy tales as well. I believe that the princess/prince scenario that's so pervasive in children's literature is why families are so dysfunctional. As you said, there are unrealistic expectations that are never reversed, just like telling kids that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy exist.

    It's also interesting and just a tad ironic that some of the very same people who tell their kids about these fantastical characters and start reading fairy tales to their kids in utero, later refuse to even have Harry Potter books in their homes because of the idea of witchcraft. Really?
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    Sep 13 2013: So it seems that for many of you stories are good and lies are bad... Are you very confortable with this idea?
    Fairytale are good, full of happy memories and helps children becoming good persons? Maybe in walt disney world, ut the originals story where meant to scare the children. In the original story, red hood get eaten (raped and killled) because she trusted the wolf, and there was no lumberjack to kill the beast. Bluebeard already killed a lot of ex-wives, hansel and gretel eat the witch... Are these stories full of good intents? No, they are meant to scare the hell
    out of children so they don't follow old men giving them candies in front of school. That's it, no magical world and nice fairies, just a way to give a life lesson to smart kids!
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      Sep 13 2013: Hello again Cedric,
      Personally, I do not accept the idea that "stories are good and lies are bad", because it feels limiting. Once we label something like that....this is good......that is bad.....we generally stop exploring any further, so we may deny ourselves the opportunity to get more information.

      Yoka, gave an example of a lie that created a beneficial outcome, so It seems like the end result was beneficial to all the people involved.

      In addition to what you insightfully say about fairytales, I will add this:
      A psychologist friend often said that fairy tales are one of the worse things our parents could do to us as children. Many fairytales tell the story of a princess who is rescued by the handsome prince, he saves her with a magic kiss, and they ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after.

      Seems like a nice story, and as my psychologist friend pointed out, it plants the seed of expectation that this is what life and relationships are all about. If it is sending a message that creates unrealistic expectations, perhaps it's not all that good?

      I think/feel that it is important and beneficial to consider ALL information:>)
    • Sep 30 2013: A word of warning Cedric, I could probably go a lifetime and not prove this wonderful lady of wisdom wrong. Again I totally agree with the champ here. I believe the motive has to also be given consideration. Some lies are told to spare undo hurt or harm. For instance if I am captured by our enemy and they ask me where you are so they can kill you, I think you may indeed appreciate a lie under the circumstances and I do not think God would even find fault with that, or would she?
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        Oct 6 2013: Keith, my dear sweet man,

        If you are ever captured by an enemy who is trying to discover my whereabouts, I sincerely hope that you will lie for me, or at least tell a story that adequately protects me. Of course, if the enemy has a computer, which many of them do now days, I probably will be found:>)

        I agree with you that God, probably would not punish you for that, because if there is a God, I believe she is an unconditionally loving, very benevolent God:>)

        I perceive the question of lying/storytelling as I do many other topics.....explore....listen to the information and "hear" with ALL our senses.....look at all available information including the source...evaluate....we can often "feel" the difference between a lie which does not carry the energy of good intent, and a story, which usually carries the energy of good intent:>)
  • Sep 13 2013: No, a lie and a story can be very different things and can have very opposite outcomes. When someone lies, they are intentionally deceiving themselves and others knowing it could have extremely harmful or negative effects. Telling a story is a way of people exposing and using their imaginations just like all the fairytales we grew up with that we all like so much. Making the impossible POSSIBLE, one way or another, Real or imaginative and without that, we wouldn't have books to read and movies to watch.
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    Sep 11 2013: Thank you,too. I really enjoy the pleasant conversations with you~~:)
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      Sep 11 2013: Yoka,
      Are you aware that you can reply directly to a comment, rather than going to the top of the page? See the little red "reply" in the upper right corner of a comment?

      I enjoy pleasant conversation with you as well...thanks:>)
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        Sep 11 2013: I'm sorry if there's any impoliteness.I was just too lazy to click it.And I had seen other people do so.
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          Sep 12 2013: No impoliteness perceived Yoka:>)

          The only difference in replying at the top of the page, or directly to a comment, is that we receive a notice of replies directly to a comment, and do not receive e-mail notices about comments at the top of the page:>)
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        Sep 12 2013: Thank you for your thoughtful elaboration.:)
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    Sep 11 2013: “I generally think/feel that a lie is told for the comfort of the one telling the lie.”

    And I can tell you that we really felt tired sometimes when we told white lies to my mother. We actually didn't feel comfortable and easy. But after my mother got the courage to take the fact , and when I didn't have to think about making up white lies , I felt so comfortable and happy~.:)
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      Sep 11 2013: Dear Yoka,
      The important word in my statement is "generally". I wholeheartedly understand that situations are all different, and usually, we (humans) make the best choices with the information we have at the time. You, apparently knew your mother, and knew how information might impact her. Again, I am glad that the situation turned out well for all of you:>)

      P.S.
      I just thought of a situation that seems to fit our discussion:

      I have helped with the care of people who are dying from terminal disease and I am comfortable with the dying process.

      I was helping with the care of a friend who was dying from cancer. She was a nurse, and knew exactly what was happening with her body/mind, and she often wanted to talk about it, which I encouraged. Her son (a man in his late 40s) was not at all comfortable with the dying process, and often advised me not to pay attention to what she was saying. He told her that everything was going to be fine.....go back to sleep.....and he'd give her more meds to insure that she would sleep, rather than talk.

      Everyone knew that she was dying, and in an attempt to create comfort in himself, the son was lying to himself. The person who was dying, simply thought her son was being foolish, and she also understood his inability to face death.
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        Sep 11 2013: Good story. It brought me some novelty. Thank you for sharing. You could be a good story-teller.
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        Sep 12 2013: My experience explained your "generally" in detail. I didn't mean any disagreement.:)
  • Sep 11 2013: A vivd imagination and an ability to put a cohesive line of thought together are all that is needed. The ability to stretch the truth is helpful, but not a requirement.
  • Sep 10 2013: What do you consider a lie? Effective art of all kinds is based on authenticity, the honest representation of one's experience of ideas, sensations and emotions. Fiction isn't a lie, it's a question about possibilities.

    Every idea is original, we cannot have an idea except through our own perceptual filters. Originality as you , I think, mean it is a reference to the ways in which the idea is treated, combined with other ideas, put through a process of consideration and evaluation, and drawn to a conclusion that is unique to that treatment. That happens all the time.
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      Sep 10 2013: What you say can be seen in René Magritte's most known painting "The treachery of Images":
      Here what he said about it:
      "The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it's just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture "This is a pipe," I'd have been lying"
      It's really interesting because even if he says there is no lie in this peculiar piece of work, the word treachery in the title still implies that you are being played.

      And for the second part, I agree with you, but still, you always want your ideas to be out of the box and to be the first one to exploit them at least
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    Sep 10 2013: Someone told me that there is already a movie on this subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Myt85VuNnxI
    That triggers a new question... Is there any original ideas? Is a different treatment of an idea make it an original work?
    The way the movie seems to be written, the starting postulate is different from my idea but I don't know if I should or shouldn't watch this movie... Any ideas?
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      Sep 10 2013: Unfortunately I can't find and open it.
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        Sep 10 2013: the movie name is "the invention of lying" with Ricky Gervais
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    Sep 10 2013: I'm thinking about another possibility, maybe the character is living in the highest social class which is full of fake faces and dirty air . He doesn't fit in this group of people because his character is the opposite to them. So he has to outmaneuver them and lies all the time to find their ugly stories like a detective in this social circle and write them in his novel, I think maybe it could be a comedy. :)
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    Sep 9 2013: And I'm looking forward to your interesting story.
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    Sep 8 2013: Lying infers that there is a truth that is being avoided for surreptitious reasons.

    Fiction is apprehending deliberate imagination for the purpose of entertainment.

    Two very different things.
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    Sep 8 2013: Bonjour ,ta question est profonde elle veut une réponse absoluts ,il faut donner ou réctifier la définition de l'écriture et le probleme est résoudre je l'èspère ,si quelqu'un écrit pour l'argent son objéctif élimine la question et qui écrit pour le réspect sociale son écriture va surement déssiner un joli réspect pour lui ;mais si l'inconscient ne peut pas donner tout sur nous et qui peut faire ramèner l'homme à la démence peu faire d'un écrivain une mauviette d'écriture.
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    Sep 7 2013: Thank you for this question! In my school, we just read and reviewed "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien. This book discusses this question mainly in the chapter "How to Tell a True War Story" (I think that's the right chapter I don't have my book with my right now). My interpretation of his views have definitely impacted my views on truth and fiction.

    He states that fictional truth is sometimes more true than actual truth. Fictional truth can sometimes evoke emotions and general ideas much better than actual truth. In fiction (from what I can tell), authors try to pull the reader in and let them feel all the emotions characters are feeling. Also, it seems that the plot, setting, characters, and most other aspects of the story are intended to give readers new perspectives on issues and give readers new ideas, like O'Brien's book gave me a fresh perspective on fictional truth vs. actual truth. I feel a simple statement of facts that are "known" to be true will not always give the reader the emotion behind certain events and won't necessarily lead them to overall ideas of the event/s.

    Regarding the relation between a good liar and a good storyteller, I think there is little or no relation. A good storyteller tries to hook you into a story and knows how to express emotions and ideas well. A good liars strengths are mainly quickness (in the sense that he can think of lies quickly w/o hesitation) and distorting his emotions to use against the listener of the lie/s. Also, I imagine a liar would lack fundamental storytelling techniques that would not be difficult to spot.

    Hopefully that helps with your book (Good luck with it!) and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
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      Sep 9 2013: Seems like a very interesting book, I'll look if I can find it in french.
      On the basis of your last paragraph, what do you think of con-artists or people that can live for more than ten years two separate lives, with different wives and children in two places.
      In the case of con artists, I don't think their main strenghts are quickness and distorting emotions, because they have to set up a story, create a complete background, analyse the targets, the way they act and feel before they actually attack. They have to prevent all possibilities... The same thing that a storyteller does when he thinks about a new story to write isn't it?
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    Sep 6 2013: I don't think so. The reader willingly suspends belief for the story. Unless what you present is too inconsistent to ignore, the reader will go along with a fiction he absolutely knows to be false.

    Further, many liars give themselves away by their facial expressions and body language, none of which are apparent in written versions.
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      Sep 6 2013: Interesting point of view, but the importance of body language in lying is the same as in oral storytelling.
      Thinking off the box of novels and written stories, when an actor or a narrator tells you a story, he is bascally lying to you but you accept it cause you're interested in his story
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        Sep 6 2013: I don't think of something as lying when there is no representation that the truth is being told.

        If I read to my six year old child the story of the three little pigs, the child doesn't actually believe pigs talk or that I am trying to convince him that pigs talk.

        If you think a book that is clearly labeled fiction is lying, I expect you also believe that a kid who dresses up as Batman for Halloween is a liar.

        To be a good storyteller, you don't need to be a good oral story teller, so the requirements for good oral storytelling do not need to be met by all storytellers..
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          Sep 6 2013: Thank you for taking the discussion further. Now, what can be labelled as truth? Many liars, when they pile up a lot of lies start forgetting what is true or not and believe in their distortion of truth, and so does the storyteller in many ways, because he have to believe in his story to tell it
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        Sep 6 2013: I think many of the Grimm's Fairy Tales deserve their classic status. The brothers Grimm did not likely forget that people do not have three eyes which fall asleep solo or as two or three according to the words of a son sung to them. They did not likely start to believe princes change into toads and back.

        Liars do sometimes forget what is a lie they made up. In fact people who are not liars at all can have false memories- remember childhood experiences that did not happen. And people can confuse what occurred in a dream with what occurred in reality or whether they knew someone who had an experience or whether they are only remembering a character in a novel.

        The separate question of "what is truth?" is discussed often on TED. Let me find a link. Here is one of many: http://www.ted.com/conversations/14748/what_is_truth.html One more http://www.ted.com/conversations/10610/truth_1.html

        While there are not talks tagged "truth," here are the talks tagged about illusion: http://www.ted.com/topics/illusion

        Here is one on false memory: http://www.ted.com/talks/scott_fraser_the_problem_with_eyewitness_testimony.html

        My favorite TED talk on storytelling is Amy Tan's, though I know it is not the most widely watched of our many talks on storytelling. Here are our 86 talks on storytelling. http://www.ted.com/topics/storytelling

        You are probably familiar with Joseph Campbell's famous book on story, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Here is a talk that brings forward some of the same ideas: http://www.ted.com/talks/shekhar_kapur_we_are_the_stories_we_tell_ourselves.html
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          Sep 9 2013: Thank you very much for all this links, I will dig in, starting with Amy Tan
  • Sep 6 2013: Well, most storytellers sit or stand. I've never seen a storyteller lie down to tell a story. ;)

    I think you meant "liar".......someone who tells untruths.

    Cedric, in a way, yes, you are correct.
    A lot of storytellers are wonderful at spinning tales of fiction (lies), and entertaining us.

    The more exaggerated the tale.....the more entertaining.....

    I recall reading the Wizard of Oz to my oldest child, and I was so enthralled by the writing.
    I knew it was all lies, but still, I could not stop turning pages. I finished the book in two days, but relished reading it slowly.......a couple of pages at a time to my small child.

    The best to you on your endeavor Cedric!!!
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      Sep 6 2013: Thank you for replying. i did correct the word liar. If I correctly understand what you mean, the difference is the entertainment that a story give to the reader. A lie don't have to be entertaining when a story have to. It makes me think that the point is the selfishness of a lie when a story have to be altruistic. Thank you Mary for making me realize it.
      • Sep 6 2013: Hey, you're welcome Cedric.

        Thanks for correcting the typo........I'm an elementary teacher.....and the resident editor-in-chief....hahaha.......just kidding Cedric.

        Glad I helped you in some small way.
        Be Well.
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          Sep 6 2013: You may teach Elementary grade levels in school, but I suspect you are advanced beyond the rudiments of classroom management techniques and therefore deserve a more advanced title than "elementary teacher".