Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Fine Art Of Deception

image by thanx,

You Don't Need To Master It - It Comes Naturally

You pass the room where the kid is busy on the computer. The door is ajar. In a heartbeat, you intuit that you must go in. The hunch is too impulsive, too overpowering. There is Something about the kid and their busy-ness... And you walk in, with as much stealth as you can muster. The kid looks so engrossed watching the screen, the back of the monitor facing you. Suddenly the kid looks up and sees you coming in. You notice the involuntary jerk of the hand moving forward, definitely to grab the mouse. And, by the time you make your way to the front of the monitor, you notice one tab on the browser getting closed. Very coolly. And the tab that comes up is the school's site with the homework page. The kid turns towards you, looking you squarely in the eye. There is not a shade of color on that angelic face. God, when did they learn to keep their face so shadeless? "What is it, mom?" or "What is it, dad?" "Nothing, kid. Just passing by." Poor you. You don't have the heart to dip into the browser's history right then and there, which you know will be the first thing that will be deleted no sooner you step out of the room. You don't want to upset the kid. You don't want to upset the applecart! So you happily, with your own hands, pull the wool of deception on your own eyes and pretend to be blind; the child pretends to be the same angel they always were, and hey, it's another day getting over already, time for supper and time to go to bed!

image by plrang,

Deception. Somewhere on the way of growing up, we all learn this fine art, don't we? We quickly learn that this art is essential for our success and happiness, and simply ignore, will ya, that person who stands in the pulpit every Sunday. Because, once the sermon is over and the crowd gets back to the humdrum, we have all these grown-ups who are our role-models and we simply follow in their footsteps and live to learn and learn to live.

image by plrang,

We realize very early on in this Game Called Life that there has to be a gap, a dichotomy if you will, between the thought we hold in our mind and the thought we articulate through speech or through the written word. Certainly not a game that the simpleton can play! Requires a lot of gray cells, which have to be continuously exercised all the time, if you wanna remain on top of the game. How interesting that they don't have any course to teach deception. Comes naturally to you, like breathing.

image by code1name,

The realization that it is the brain that is doing the processing, working on top speed to decide, in a given situation, whether to lie or be truthful, whether to deceive or remain honest, brings us to wonder whether it is possible to scientifically detect whether somebody is deceiving or not. Turns out, yes, it is possible. Researchers from Universities in China and US conducted an ERP study on a bunch of young adults to determine exactly what happens in the brain when people decide they are to be not truthful and not honest (the study has been published in the January 2009 issue of "Brain Research", available online here: The researchers have pinpointed specific areas in the brain which handle the conflict between the thoughts of what is truth and what is false. Electric potentials in the brain change in these specific areas when you take, and implement, the decision to deceive; which change does not take place when you are being honest and truthful. As if these particular areas in the brain are the seat where you perch yourself in those crucial moments and the two angels appear on your either side - one from God and one from Devil, like how they show in those Disney movies. And then, when you decide that you want to go with the Devil, something very subtle happens. Your brain emits waves of a different quality altogether, that the researchers' contraption detected and marked "special".

image by zoofytheji,

The subjects the researchers studied came from both the genders by the way; just thought you would like to know. With this breakthrough, all that you have to do, is to bring the kid, or whosoever you suspect of deceiving you, and strap this heavy contraption around their head and record their EEG and their EOG and what-have-you. And look out for the telltale waves on the ticker-tape the contraption spews out. Sounds rather impractical, eh? You might as well tell them upfront that you don't believe them. So I am waiting for version 2.0 of this contraption, which will be much lighter, will not have to be installed on the suspect's head (ugh! the word "suspect" brings so much bitterness to the mouth!), but will be hidden in my palm. I simply point the tiny antenna of the device towards the person before me, and the device will vibrate if it detects deception-waves coming from the person's head. Cool, eh!

image by alican,

And then, I will wait for version 3.0 of this device. Which will be able to detect and tell me those areas that lie between 100% truth and 100% lie. You know, the gray shades? The world is full of them, this life is full of them, in case you didn't notice.

image by plrang,

Uh, and shall I also tell you about version 4.0? This is the coolest. This device tells you when it is you who is deceiving yourself! The art of self-deception is the most devious, and the most complicated to practice. But very interestingly, this art comes to most of us most naturally! As this article here tells you, it is one dark, dark world - this world of self-deception that we hold deep within us, and that we dwell in, most of the time (and sometimes, all the time): Stop Deceiving Yourself - And Start Living Reality.

image by fishmonk,

Enjoy the journey into the dark! And wait for version 4.0.

image by leocub,


  1. Great blog mate, very good design.
    I also lead a blog on a close topic - Personal Effectiveness. Feel free to visit, read and comment.

  2. Good piece on self deception. It is an integral part of our makeup, and perhaps you're right that it's a method of protecting the ego mind from uncomfortable situations.

    But it's also very possible - through awareness and self-discovery - to live outside of the "consensus fib" you're talking about in this article.