Scene: A street in Athens. A young man called Tychiades is on his way home from paying a social call, when he runs into his friend, Philocles. They walk along together.
TYCHIADES: Can you tell me something, Philocles? Why do some people have such a passion for lying? They actually seem to enjoy talking nonsense, and listen most attentively when anyone else is doing so.
PHILOCLES: Well, there are any number of possible reasons for lying, if one's out for what one can get.
TYCHIADES: Oh, but that's quite a different story. I didn't mean the ones who tell lies when there's something to be gained by it. That's quite forgivable, and may even be praiseworthy - for instance, when it's a case of deceiving the enemy, or a matter of life and death - the kind of thing Odysseus was always doing,
'To save his life and bring his comrades home.' 1
No, the people I'm talking about, my dear chap, are the ones with a purely disinterested love of lies, who lie for the sheer pleasure of lying, even when they don't need to. And what I want to know is, why on earth do they do it?
PHILOCLES: But have you ever actually known any people like that?
TYCHIADES: Certainly I have - dozens of them.
PHILOCLES: Well, if they've really got such a distorted sense of values that they prefer lies to truth, I can only suppose they're mentally deficient.
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Publication information: Book title: Satirical Sketches. Contributors: Lucian - Author, Paul Turner - Translator. Publisher: Indiana University Press. Place of publication: Bloomington, IN. Publication year: 1990. Page number: Not available.
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