Some Proverbs on Truth and Lies

Some Proverbs on Truth and Lies
 

Yesterday, Nassim Taleb posted this tweet, observing a contradiction in some well-known sayings about lies being fast to spread/hard to refute on the one hand, and on the other hand limited.

 


In Armenian popular aphorisms there does not seem to be a contradiction between these notions. All proverbs on lies that I could find are of the latter type, emphasizing their limits, and that the one who tends to spread lies will (sooner or later) pay the price for it:


Սուտը ոտք կելլէ, ամա չերթար։

[The lie stands up but does not walk.]

 

Ստի ոտները կարճ են։

[Lies have short legs.]

 

Սուտը սուտ ասողի տունն է քանդում։

[The lie destroys the home of a liar.]

 

But the key is to also look at proverbs on truth, which emphasize that

 

(i)             those who speak the truth tend, at minimum, not to have a[n earthly] master:

 

Շիտակ ըսողը տէր չունի։

[The truth-teller has no master.]

 

(ii)            must have balls (or, as this aphorist put it, must be at least a little foolish for voluntarily putting oneself in harm’s way):

 

Դուզ խօսողի գլուխը ծակ ա։

[The truth-teller has a hole in his head.]

 

and/or have an escape route prepared:

 

Դրուստ ըսողին մի ձի, որ ասի ու փախչի։

[A horse for the truth-teller, so he can speak and get away.]

 

(iii)        the audience is not always ready to accept the truth:

 

Ճշմարտութիւնը միշտ ընդունելի չէ։

[Truth is not always welcome.]

 

In part, perhaps, because (iv):

 

            Շիտակ խօսքը կատակով կըսեն։

            [The truth is said jokingly.]

 

Therefore, (v) we arrive at the resolution in the following proverb:

 

Մինչեւ ղորդը գայ, սուտը աշխարհ կ'ուտէ։

[By the time the truth is revealed, the lie is already feeding on the world.]

 

As we are dealing here in the rational domain, as I see it, another problem with lies is that, in our urge to dispel them, we often replace one lie with another, more plausible sounding lie, as in a heated argumenta problem that is exacerbated by the speed of interaction and desire for engagement on social media, where it is less painful to be wrong than to be ignored.

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