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Liars

My mind is completely blown.
Did you know there are people who lie but don't even know they are lying? In other words, they are so in their own world they believe their own lies?
They can lie to you for many years, even about stupid little things there is no reason to lie about. You know they aren't the most truthful person in the world, but you have a basic faith in them because they seem to be sincere, even more sincere than a normal person.
Then one day you check some of their stories with a mutual friend.

The Real PC
Monday, June 23, 2003

A friend of mine who studies this sort of thing once told me that everyone does this to some extent. If we didn't do it we would have difficulty overcoming regrets I guess. It is very interesting.

Of course, some people end up taking it to an extreme and cannot stop themselves. It as if their ability to lie is so well developed that they use the skill unconsciously.

But I think it is all bullshit. ;-)

Marc
Monday, June 23, 2003

Been there, done that.  It's even more fun when the people lying are, say, the Scout Executive and his staff of your local Boy Scout Council.

Whapow!
Monday, June 23, 2003

Aren't these people usually called "politicians".

z
Monday, June 23, 2003

We're all the victims of our own internal fictions.

Real PC, you sound bitter, is there something you'd like to share?

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, June 23, 2003

I would like to share that I am in total shock, and I'm suppoed to be working. I don't think I'll ever get over this.

The Real PC
Monday, June 23, 2003

I often felt confused and thought maybe I was nuts. He and I have done a lot of work together and all kinds of things didn't add up or make sense. But he had some kind of explanation for everything (of course the explanations didn't make sense either).
He doesn't have many friends (at least that's what he says) so I didn't have much chance to compare notes. And anyway I'd feel guilty checking his stories, also worried he would find out I checked.
Yesterday I couldn't stand it anymore. He had told me one more stupid lame thing regarding payment for a job. I called up another guy who has known him for years and has worked with him.
It was like that NY Times reporter, when they started checking his stories (Twilight Zone theme, please).

The Real PC
Monday, June 23, 2003

And I don't think he was stealing from me or anything like that. The lies didn't benefit him or anyone. And I thought I had heard of everything by now.

The Real PC
Monday, June 23, 2003

"Did you know there are people who lie but don't even know they are lying? In other words, they are so in their own world they believe their own lies?"

uhh... salespeople?!


[disclaimer: just a joke]

Jordan Lev
Monday, June 23, 2003

Real PC - yep, worked with one. It's scary when the first chinks in the armor appear and you start to realize the vastness of what is probably less than true.

Another phenomenon I'd rather I didn't have to deal with - passive/aggressive behavior. These are people who will accept tasking, nod at assignments, etc, etc, when they have no intention whatsoever of doing them. They're just agreeing to avoid confrontation. Whenever you ask about status, it's "in progress" or "later" or "I'm waiting on [x]"

It's frightening when you finally see what's going on...

Philo

Philo
Monday, June 23, 2003

"Let me just say this" <waving finger>
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman."
"Mrs. Lewinsky"

BC
Monday, June 23, 2003

Just as an FYI: passive/agressive is often more complex than that Philo - they don't necessarily intend never to do it, they just set themselves up so that it never gets done. It's a subtle thing, but when a passive/agressive type says 'I'll do it' they mean it, but then their brain goes to work forgetting about it (repeatedly) until it's too late.

Not that this is an excuse for the behaviour, but it may be easier to deal with and recognize if you understand that they may not be doing it intentionally.

Of course, they might well be doing it intentionally - depends on the person.

Michael Kohne
Monday, June 23, 2003

I had a roommate who told me if somebody called looking for "Cyndy" to say it was her.  Turns out she met this guy in a bar, didn't think much of him, gave him a fake name.  She bumped into him a few weeks later, he gave a better impression, so they started going out.  But she was too embarassed to tell him she'd given him a fake name when they first met, so two years later, he still thought her name was "Cyndy."  People are just strange beyond belief.

No, it wasn't any of y'all, he had NOTHING to do with computers.

cm
Monday, June 23, 2003

Note: the above story can also be taken as a good example of why to stay away from cocaine.

cm
Monday, June 23, 2003

I think we all have some odd quirks, and most of us exaggerate once in a while without realizing it. I have caught myself being passive/aggressive -- working slowly because I'm pissed off about having been yelled at, for example, and have also caught myself distorting the truth a tiny bit.
It's a matter of degree.
A woman in my department is passive/aggressive to the nth degree (Greta, who I mentioned in another post).
It's a weird feeling when you see how well-meaning and sincere the person is and how they screw you every time.
My liar friend is a great guy, brilliant and talented, kind, generous, etc. I fall for it every time, even though I don't really trust him for a minute. Each time I thought well maybe I misunderstood, or maybe I don't remember all the details. I preferred to doubt myself than him, even though I have always had an accurate memory.
I used to think liars are people who are trying to take advantage of you by hiding or distorting information. But now I know the lies don't necessarily serve any purpose, and the liar doesn't necessarily have any consciousness that he's lying.
Similarly with the passive/aggressive -- what do they gain by making everybody angry and frustrated? In the long run they jeopardize themselves. Same thing for the liar. Look at the NY Times guy -- he must have known on some level he was ruining his life.
Could it be some kind of neurotic self-destructive compulsion?

The Real PC
Monday, June 23, 2003

Sounds like your friend is a "Pathological Liar", which is to say he suffers from an "Anti-Social Personality Disorder" and needs psychiatric help.

Anonymous Coward
Monday, June 23, 2003

I have never heard of any effective treatment for that. What's the use of wasting money on a psychiatrist?

The Real PC
Monday, June 23, 2003

If you want to be a "goodthinker" you need to learn the art of "doublethink".

Thinkpol
Monday, June 23, 2003

When i read the original comment, my thought was Jeffery Archer (british guy, in the house of lords, author) is one of those people. He's in prison now because he couldn't not lie.

Then again, as pointed out above, this guy's a pollie.

ko
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

All the best salespeople I have met are true liars. By that I mean that they have truly convinced themselves that the sales nonsense they spout all day long is the truth.
It is at least a semi-consious process. They start out by convincing themselves (this can be a remarkably fast process and might just take a few minutes), and from then on evrything fits neatly into this what can only be described as alternate reality. Where it differs from e.g. a zealot is that the true liar can just as easily reverse the process, convince himself that what just  a minute ago was the best thing since sliced bread is just an ordinary food processor. A true believer is like the true liar in conviction, but can not perform the reversal.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I wonder if "True Liars" and sociopathic liars might be completely different types.
Maybe a True Liar can be a genuinely good person with the best intentions. He can't possibly see himself as evil or destructive. He just doesn't have any passion for truth. He just doesn't care what reality is.
Maybe the True Liar is just a form of novelist, a type of genius. I seldom read fiction myself because I find truth more fascinating. But our society has a passion for fiction, much more than it has for truth.
My liar friend loves science fiction. Maybe the division between fact and fanatasy, which seems great to some of us, doesn't really exist for people like him.
And I wonder if that may be true of large numbers of people, all through history. Human beings have had all kinds of crazy myths that they never thought to question.
Maybe lying and living in fantasy is more natural than being truthful and scientific.

Maybe I am just starting to wake up to a truth I had never really understood before. That truth is not highly valued by the majority of humans. I went along assuming others were like me. My liar friend is just an extreme example of someone who cares very little about truth.

We all distort reality just so we don't have to live every moment in terror and despair. It's just a question of how much reality you can handle.

The Real PC
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

This is all very philosophical and introspective, but what does it have to do with this forum? Maybe hire a therapist, or call your sister.

ymmv
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Real PC, nothing personal, but be carefull when you are refering to "the thruth" in any large context. I'd say it should be evident form previous treads on this forum that many do not subscribe to things that you yourself take to be "true".

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

[many do not subscribe to things that you yourself take to be "true".]

That is perfectly obvious to me. Truth is different for everyone. My claim is that I have a psssion for truth, which is stronger than my desire to feel certain.
The quest for truth results in chronic uncertainty, which is not easy to tolerate. I try to be a true skeptic.
The word "skeptic" has been given a completely new meaning. Now it means someone who believes that only things already confirmed by science are true.

A true skeptic is someone like me, who tolerates uncertainty and considers the evidence. In other words, I do not believe something because some authoritative person or institution says it's the truth.
The scientific authorities deny the parapsycholgy evidence, only because it defies their preconceptions, not because there is anything wrong with the evidence. The evidence is actually of much higher quality and more consistent than in most other fields. But considering it would upset the feeling of certainty and trust in authority that most people -- whether they are fundamentalist Christians or materialist scientists -- need to feel.

It's human nature to want to feel certain about something. I also would like to feel certain, but truth is much more interesting to me than certainty.

The Real PC
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

one thing is certain, you seem to spend a lot of time posting rambling messages on this forum.

hulk
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Real PC, you seem to be more of a contrarian than the skeptic you claim to be.  That is, you want to believe something because it seems contrary to current scientific evidence.

You claim that the parapsychology evidence is high quality.  Can you reproduce these experiments yourself, or are you just taking the word of someone because what they say seems contrary to more accepted scientific evidence?

Uncertainty is inherent in science.  Scientists gather evidence to support theories.  But they are never proved, in the sense that mathematical theorems are proved.  Some people don't like the uncertainty and turn to fundamentalist religion.

Others just had a bad experience with a middle school science teacher and decide that they just aren't going to believe anything they hear about science.

z
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Parapsychology is a science, similar to experimental psychology. They have been gathering evidence for about 100 years. The evidence in no way contradicts science.
Parapsychology isn't very popular now, mostly because of the "skeptic" organizations. Now and then a physicist becomes interested and does some experiments, and some have wound up believing that there is plenty of evidence for "psi."
Experimental research isn't exactly something you can do in your spare time at home. But if I can think of a simple experiment I might try it.

The Real PC
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

While you're at it you can win yourself a million bucks from Randi. (http://www.randi.org/)

Oh wait, nobody ever has, because they all turn out to be frauds. @_@

And the horse you rode in on
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

>>>  Experimental research isn't exactly something you can do in your spare time at home. But if I can think of a simple experiment I might try it.  <<<

In fact, it is possible to do experimental research in your spare time at home, although there are limits on what you can do.  There are organizations such as http://www.sas.org that promote amateur science.

It should not be too difficult to devise simple experiments to confirm the basic principles of the theories of Newton and Maxwell. Some characteristics of quantum physics and relativity should also be within the realm of the home science lab.  Unfortunately, creating a sustained nuclear reaction in your garage lab in order to observe conversion of mass to energy is too expensive for most of us.

z
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

I guess I could program something for random number generation experiments testing psychokinesis (like PEAR at Princeton). But their results are only 1% above chance, so it takes large numbers of trials. I would like to find a way to get a better effect size.

The Real PC
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

"But they are never proved, in the sense that mathematical theorems are proved."

That's not what Godel says.

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Real PC -

What do random numbers have to do with psychokinesis (using the mind to generate kinetic energy)?

Devil's Advocate
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Devil,
The mind can have some influence over random events, like tossing a coin. The parapsychologists at Princeton use electronic random number generators, and the subject try to influence the output, so it is no longer completely random.
I don't like this type of experiment because it depends on the subjects trying to use their psychokinetic powers. I think the conscious mind interferes with this type of task.
But the Princeton (PEAR) results have been very consistent and have been replcated many times, by other labs as well.

The Real PC
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

I think a much better idea would be to have the subjects watch movies. Certain emotions might effect the RNGs (random number generators). The subjects would have no knowledge of the purpose of the experiment. If the experimenters noticed that certain emotions influenced the machines, they could go on to compare the effects of different movies, etc.
These researchers have RNGs around the world and are constantly monitoring them. They found big effects around 9/11, for example. But this is just data-collection, not controlled experiments.

The Real PC
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Liars:

1) Grow up with DEMANDING parents?
2) Grow up with mentally disabled parents?
3) Grow up with alcoholic parents?
4) Grow up with lying parents?
5) Bullied in their elementary school?

There could be other reasons.

(Not that there aren't any 'evil' liars. But from your description he probably had some issues in his childhood and not recover. If you treasure this friendship, you may be able to help him.)

Rick Tang
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

After the initial shock wore off I realized that I value his friendship and will therefore try to continue it.
How can I help him? Just being there and accepting him even though he's all screwed up? I can't talk to him about his problem, because he would never face it.
It's very hard having a friend you don't trust, especially since business is sometimes involved.
I think the mutual acquaintance who enlightened me may have exaggerated a little bit, but overall it seemed accurate. I had caught my friend in a big lie once so I know he's capable of it.

The Real PC
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Real PC -

Could you point me to a reference about the independent confirmation of PEAR's results? All I could find with Google is a 1994 experiment at York University which failed to repeat the results.

Devil's Advocate
Thursday, June 26, 2003

Devil,
There seems to be a war going on between the believers in psi and the skeptics. I have been doing some internet research lately, as well as reading Dean Radin's book (The Conscious Universe).
I don't have all the time in the world so I can't tell you that much yet. Radin says RNG research (previously using dice) has been confirmed repeatedly over the past century. He mentions hundreds of electronic RNG studies, many not done by Jahn at PEAR, all or most confirming the findings.
Of course Radin is a parapsychologist and believer in psi.
I spent a little time looking into the question of why no one has won Randi's million dollar prize. I found some angry emails accusing Randi of screening applicants and excluding anyone who had a chance of winning.

Radin claims that the skeptics do not bother trying to replicate psi research, and simply dismiss it. Many replications have been done, but none by skeptics.

There is a lot more I want to look into on this subject. But I better get back to my program.

The Real PC
Thursday, June 26, 2003

>>It's very hard having a friend you don't trust, especially since business is sometimes involved.

I see.

In this case, I guess let him know that you know he is lying and he does not have to lie in front of you because you consider him to be more than a business aquaintence.

If you sense his response is negative and that he again lies to you, then you need to decide either treat him as your friend or purely a business partner.

Rick Tang
Friday, June 27, 2003

Does anyone out there know anything about a pathomine test? or where I may find out info on the web? Please help a slightly confused friend on the topic, all I can find are sites in German :),

Thank You,

Aphirefly@aol.com

Amanda Mueller
Wednesday, January 21, 2004

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