Monday, April 4, 2016

Ancient Deception and The Damage Liars Do

                  The Damage that Liars Do
by Peter Hyatt
Here is an ancient account that was touched upon in a sermon yesterday.  The "Sovereignty of God" was the focus:  the brothers of Joseph had done incredible evil, but it was part of a greater, long term plan of which life for both his family and Egypt in large, was spared from horrific famine.  Within this long term 'strategy' is a small point or 'tactic' that is worth examining. 

The small detail:

Joseph's father indulged him, which is never healthy for a child.  By the time he was 17, he was not about working, but walking amongst his older brothers, sharing his dreams with them, while wearing a very expensive, and eye-catching coat.  

They bristled with envy.  Besides the lesson to every indulgent parent, there are lessons of Statement Analysis for us to observe. 

They took him and sold him into slavery, profiting off of the young man's life.  To satisfy their burning envy (emotion), they were willing to destroy Joseph's life.  (At first, they considered murder, but that would not be "moral", so they decided to sell him into slavery, to, you know, give Joseph his life, while financially profiting off of him.  He was likely well fed and strong and would bring full price for a slave.  This, too, could be used to silence the guilty conscience, reminding themselves how they are not murderers.  They were responsible businessmen who made a business decision, since Joseph didn't appear to be one of good worth ethic.  Perhaps, even, they could tell themselves:  'We teach him a lesson.'

Deception begins with self.  This is why those of harsh judgement towards others eventually fail in analysis, as the inability to discern truthful statements harms their record.  

Yet, to ignore human nature's bent towards deception and its 'moral cloak' is to be just as imbalanced. 

Joseph was beloved of his aging father so they took his fancy expensive leather coat, and dipped it in goat's blood and handed it to the patriarch.  

Will they lie?

Note the deception first, and the consequences of deception upon the victim, next. 

Consider:  would they dip the coat in goat's blood and say to their father, "A wild beast has killed our brother, Joseph!"?  This would be a direct fabrication of reality which, in deception, is rare.  They would like to accomplish this while maintaining the luxury of telling themselves what good, moral men they are:  they don't lie.  This is a strong insight into human nature.  

"And they took Joseph's coat and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood.  And they sent the coat of many colors and they brought it to their father and said, This we have found, know now whether it be your son's coat, or no."

Regardless of translation chosen, we may step back from the minute detail and see the plural:  no one wants to step up, singularly, and lie directly. 
Note the "kid" of the goats would also make for a nice celebration banquet, and not be wasteful of the environment or their resources. These are good, 'moral' men, with the moral 'high ground.'

Note "your son" and not "our brother", to further distancing themselves from their guilt.  

Please note that the deception is via missing information, rather than the difficult direct lie.  They let their father come to a false conclusion, while avoiding telling a direct lie.  Human nature lies most often in this manner, allowing itself to say "I didn't lie."  

By using the plural pronoun, the human nature's little 'distancing trick' is to distance an individual from personal guilt; as if to dilute it by spreading it around, like a school boy who says, "Everyone was doing it!" as if erases the line between right and wrong.  

"And he knew it and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him.  Joseph is, without doubt, rent into pieces."  

Now, they withhold the truth via their silence and allow the old man to suffer:

"And Jacob rent his clothes and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days.  And all his sons and daughters rose up to comfort him but he refused to be comforted; and said, I will go down to the grave unto my son mourning.  Thus his father wept for him."

Nothing could comfort him, even the support from a large family.  Jacob said he would suffer every day until his own death. 

The liar is intent upon self satisfaction, even if this satisfaction is nothing but emotional:  the liar will destroy a life for this sole purpose.   

The liar uses deception to satisfy self, covering the guilty conscience with a multitude of excuses and psychological distancing.  What one man or woman might not do, the group can accomplish.  

The liar destroys the lives of others.  

Consider the many "fake hate" and false criminal reports of our day.  

In interviewing such, I have found a consistent streak:

Each liar was willing for an innocent person to suffer incarceration just to satisfy the liar's desire.  


Kit Perez said...

It's a sobering thought, to realize that like it or not, we WILL, as analysts, project our own fears and hopes, experiences and biases in our analysis unless we are aware of them and learn to mitigate them. The idea that "those of harsh judgement towards others eventually fail in analysis, as the inability to discern truthful statements harms their record" hit me personally like a freight train, because I have seen deception in the past where there is none. It's a good reminder for me to stop, ensure I've removed all emotion or bias, and simply apply the principles as dispassionately as I can.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

It ain't easy but thankfully, there are two distinct ways of doing this...

stay tuned, Kit!


mom2many said...

I had noticed that the brothers never outright lied, but falsified evidence and allowed their father to come to their erroneous conclusion himself. The Scripture glosses over how he related with his sons after the truth was revealed. It must have been so difficult to overcome that level of betrayal.

Interesting your bringing this passage today. I just watched a fascinating documentary on Netflix last night, Patterns of Evidence, which investigates whether there is historical and archaeological evidence for the Exodus. Several experts' statements pinged as not fully forthright, particularly the denial of the Amsterdam Museum historian regarding an ancient papyrus by an Egyptian scribe and whether it mirrors the Biblical account of the plagues. He was uncomfortable discussing the content, but much firmer when explaining the conventional opinion on the timeline.

Also, there is a lengthy segment from a Jewish scholar explaining away what amounts to cognitive disonance when one tries to hold to a compartmentalized view of reality.

Greater questions arise about possible motives for and against reconsidering what is presently considered the conventional timeline, and it reveals a great deal about academics' and scientists' reluctance to oppose the group, and the human ability to discount what does not fit our bias our preferred narrative.

John Mc Gowan said...

OT Update:

Reports on three autopsies of Brendan Creato now in public eye

World-renowned forensic scientist says three autopsies on Brendan Creato and no definitive cause of death is "very bizarre"

Anonymous said...


i read this on a forum. The pronoun shift made me chuckle..

So I have a question for you cat owners put there. I have two cats Mr. And Mrs. Both are actually cats that I was given to nurse back to health. Mr is probs about 8 to 10 months old and we recently had him neutered. Mrs. Is about a year old and we were planning to get her spayed but there is one problem. She is not affectionate at all. She likes me and allows me to pet her for a few minutes everyday and that's it although she does follow me around and stays near me. However for about ten days surrounding when she's in heat she is super cuddly. She purrs, sits on my lap, and let's me pet her for an hour at a time. So yes that was.long but here's my question. Is it mean to not spay her for those lovely cuddly days? She won't get pregnant as Mr is neutered and they are indoor cats. When she's in heat she does that presenting cooing thing but seems to be satisfied when Mr lays on top of her for a few minutes. But is it uncomfortable for her? Or is it ok to leave her?anyways thanks if you read all this!

Tania Cadogan said...

Hi Anon.
It is always best to spay and neuter any pet.
Although your male is neutered, female cats when in season will actively call out to any male in the area and attempt to escape.
if she escapes she will get pregnant, she can also get pregnant whilst still nursing her first litter (post partum oestrus)
Unless she is a pedigree and you can guarantee getting homes for every kitten, anything from 2-10 and guarantee they won't back out, then spaying is best.
it stops her calling out and attracting every tomcat in the area, it is also beneficial in that she runs less risk of hormonally caused diseases such as breast or uterine cancers and also infections in her womb.

All cats have their own characters, just like people.
Some cats are clingy and will literally attach themselves to you 24/7 others will grace you with their presence for 5 mins of gentle petting before deciding they have had enough and run (usually after trying to skin you alive or bite you.

Not spaying her would be cruel, and it would also drive your neutered male to distraction.
Plus all the costs that come with all the vaccinations etc for each kitten soon mount up.

She might just be one of those cats who isn't one for cuddles and petting unless it is on her term.
When she is in heat and lets you stroke her, basically she is saying take me, i'm all yours, and his and him and him over there as well.

It is worthwhile to learn if she has a favorite place she likes being stroked, or if there is a particular.

As an aside, have you thought about training them?
it stops them getting bored and also is great interaction.
Start with sit and lie down as you would a dog.
reward them when they do it right with a click on a clicker and a small treat and lots of praise.

my two sit, lie down, hiya left paw, hello right paw, hi 5 left paw, hi 5 right paw, gimme 5 left paw, gimme 5 right paw, cinq which is all 4 one after the other, finish(walk round my legs) figure of 8 (which is round and in between my legs) turn round, other way, roll right, roll other way,open door ask for a treat (raises left paw to their mouth) talk, sleepy byes, get my attention, smooch and nuggle.
I am still trying to get the youngest one to open door, she knows what to do but she uses the wrong paw and tries to open the wall and when it won't open for her, she shouts at it,Go see, go find, and the oldest one is learning clap so we can then play patacake.
They also come to a whistle, it saves me calling out their names if i want them in.

Skeptical said...

It is no wonder Joseph was Jacob's favorite. He had to work 14 years for Rachel's hand. She was always the love of his life. She had been barren and finally gave birth to Joseph and finally Benjamin, whose birth cost Rachel her life. I have often wondered if Jacob found it hard to be around Benjamin because he associated his birth with loss.

I find it difficult to decide which family in the Bible was the most dysfunctional. Adam and Eve? Jacob and Rachel? Or King David's. For sheer amount of duplicity and double-crossing, I'm voting for Jacob's. Jacob's children had some great examples to follow:

Jacob stole Esau's blessing.
Laban double-crossed Jacob and made him work 7 years for Rachel and then gave him Leah for a bride.
Leah stole Rachel's place as Jacob's wife.
Laban made Jacob work 7 more years for Rachel's hand.
Jacob and Rachel stole some of Laban's household goods and left in the middle of the night.
Rachel stole Laban's idols and hid them on her person and lied about taking them.

With such parental examples, I don't know if guilt was a familiar feeling for these young men.

Nic said...

Each liar was willing for an innocent person to suffer incarceration just to satisfy the liar's desire.

Yes, it's a twisted thought and it exists where you least expect it to be.

Anonymous said...

Tania, if I understand correctly, they're not Anon @ 1:22's cats.

The piece was read on a forum and was reproduced here to show the pronoun shift. The cats are referred to by the owner in first person pronouns all the way through, EXCEPT when they are neutered, or going to be neutered, then the pronoun shifts to "we".

Anonymous said...

* first person singular to first person plural.

Nic said...

Anonymous, I agree with Tania. It's best to spay your female. Additionally, Tomcats sitting outside her window/s mean a lot of spraying/marking.

Tania, awesome that you've been able to train your cats like that! The only thing I've seen my sister-in-law's cat trained to do is to dash the spray bottle :0)

Tania Cadogan said...

Hi Nic and thanks.
I have always trained my pets, some with better success than others. it depends on the pet.
My nephew said you can't train cats, i said all the animals you see on tv are trained in the movies, ads and tv shows, i then proceeded to train mine.
Sadly Wingnut's brother went AWOL, i felt Wingnut and whilst browsing a fb pet site suggested by my sis in law, i spotted clancy, her siblings were all doing the lookie me i'm cute pose (2xtabby and white, 1 x tabby) whilsy Clancy was doing the i don't do cute pose.
At the time , i was told by the owner they were all boys, bro, his wife and their daughter took me over and bro and i went into the seriously big house.
She knew which one i wanted andas i picked 'him' up i automatically did a sex check and pointed out Clancy was a she. I then sexed the siblings, 1 boy 2 girls.
Clancy's mom was average size, and Clancy's half bro was enormous, black and fluffy.
Clancy got to 6 months and stoped growing. She is tiny compared to Wingnut.
I had the name picked out long before i found the kitten.
Wingnut is very easy to train, once he gets the idea of what i want, he is up and doing it. Clancy needs more thinking time. Somethings she gets straight away, other things take a bit longer.
My neighbors think i am nuts :)

Anonymous said...

April 4, 2016 at 5:10 PM

Anonymous said...

Tania, if I understand correctly, they're not Anon @ 1:22's cats.

The piece was read on a forum and was reproduced here to show the pronoun shift. The cats are referred to by the owner in first person pronouns all the way through, EXCEPT when they are neutered, or going to be neutered, then the pronoun shifts to "we".

Thank You!

Anonymous said...


the above is recognition to anon, whom understood my OP.

Nic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hey Jude said...

I needed to remind myself of the story, then carried on reading till the end. My first thought was, fair play (except what they did to him was not proportionate or fair) - Joseph was a pretty obnoxious kid - he carried tales about his brothers to their father, and also found it a good idea to tell them about his dreams, in which not only they, but also the sun, moon and stars, all paid homage to him - even his father was angered by his arrogance in relating it.

In relation to this - 'Each liar was willing for an innocent person to suffer incarceration just to satisfy the liar's desire.'

I noticed how Potiphar's wife was not only willing, but caused Joseph to suffer incarceration because he would not satisfy her sexual desire - he declined her requests to sleep with her, so she accused him of rape. Poor Joseph to be so spitefully abused, not only by his brothers, but then also by his master's wife.

The king's cupbearer, imprisoned with Joseph, 'forgot' upon his release to give any good report, or to even remember Joseph to Pharaoh, until two years later when Pharaoh was troubled by a dream, at which point it became convenient for the cupbearer to remember. It's not impossible to think it served the cupbearer's purpose to see Joseph remain imprisoned for so long, as Joseph was efficient in everything he did, and also gifted with the ability the interpret dreams; Joseph might have posed a competitive threat to him - maybe to many people. It's not the same, as he did not will or cause Joseph's unjust imprisonment, yet he also did not speak for him until it served his own interests to do so (Pharaoh was probably becoming angry by the time the cupbearer 'remembered' Joseph languishing in prison, it's awfulness somehow so easily forgettable up till then). Betrayal of and by Joseph, to varying degrees, is something of a theme. Not speaking for someone when one should or could is a betrayal of sorts - not a lie, but it's still an unspoken form of untruth.

I also noticed how Jacob seemed to repeat his mistake with Joseph, in favouring Benjamin when he came along. Joseph, likewise, favoured young Benjamin over all his brothers - well, understandable - as he was the only one who hadn't wished him dead and sold him down the river, even if only by merit of not having been born when that happened, otherwise, who knows what he might have done? - also he was the only brother who shared the same mother.

I like Joseph's forgiving nature towards his treacherous, even murderous brothers - I wonder though, if he would have been so generous if he had not been made governor, if he had not been so successful, and if he had encountered them in different circumstances, where he had nothing material to give to them, rather only his forgiveness. I would like to think he would have made the same choice regardless of his circumstances, but I don't quite like that his circumstances must have made it easier for him to be generous and forgiving, than, say, if he had ended up in poor and miserable circumstances as the consequence of his brothers' collusion and treachery. I also wonder, if Joseph had not been in such a good position, and if he'd had nothing material to give to them when they met again, if they just would have killed him, or if they still would have asked for his forgiveness. The 'fairy-tale' like element makes it easier for everyone to behave better than they might, if the circumstances had not involved power, land, riches, or gain. (I'm not saying it is a fairy-tale - I don't think it matters if it is historically true, or not - it is useful to edification in one way or another, 2 Tim 3:16)

Hey Jude said...

Joseph tried to convince himself of something which was not true: "Joseph called the name of his firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house'." He was in such denial, as was later shown in his tears over seeing his family, all the questions he asked, his desire to have them live in Egypt, and the joy he took in Benjamin; he remembered everything, and had always longed for his father and his family. A cynic might say, in order that his dream should be fulfilled, his seeming arrogance vindicated - but I like better that he loved his family, and understood as he grew older, especially during his imprisonment, what it was to not be the favoured one, maybe also saw how he had fuelled his brothers' envy, and anger in carrying tales to their father.

I have wondered also, if it was his son Manassah's name which did not earn the boy Jacob's best blessing - if it seemed to Jacob a rejection made by Joseph upon acquiring a new life and family in a strange land; it seems though, as there is such a pattern through so many of the stories, of the younger being favoured over the older, mostly a means of conveying through repetition that God's ways are not our ways - (not that these days people would particularly favour the eldest son over other children, but until more recently it would, in many cultures, have been out of the norm not to do so in matters of blessing and inheritance). If Jacob also had daughters, they don't get a mention, much less a blessing.

It is that despite their bad actions, God was still at work in unexpected ways - all Egypt, people of other nations, and all Joseph's family survived the famine because Joseph attended to the Spirit of God in interpreting Pharaoh's dream; unlikely as it seemed, and despite the grievous nature of their betrayal, forgiveness and reconciliation were made possible between Joseph and his brothers. I expect they remained somewhat envious of him, always conscious of his being the more honourable one amongst them, and the debt they owed him would have had to remain outstanding, as mercy cannot be repaid. In every way, Joseph ended up with the upper hand - that seems a just outcome, because what type of brother throws his annoying kid brother down a well?

Nic said...

We (I!) have a bird. A green cheek conure named, Fletcher (E. Coli). He's actually really sweet. We had no idea birds had personalities like this little guy does. He dances and can say his name. He chuckles when we laugh. He loves to snuggle but we have to manage how much we handle him otherwise he could have behaviour issues if he's feeling ignored. (Birds will self mutilate/pluck their feathers when upset). Actually he bullies the kids because they haven't handled him enough. My husband is #1 (why I suspect he is actually a she) and I do until he gets home. He loves my mom (his sitter when we're away). She has bananas and oranges. I purposely don't serve him those foods when home so there is a positive association with the change in environment/separation from his human flock. Birds are social creatures, so we have him centrally located so he can always see us and feel part of the flock.

Rella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Quoting Kit Perez:

"It's a sobering thought, to realize that like it or not, we WILL, as analysts, project our own fears and hopes, experiences and biases in our analysis unless we are aware of them and learn to mitigate them."

Even more sobering and important to be aware is that it's an ongoing process and effort, not as simple as flipping a switch and the light stays on once we've been alerted to the challenge.

Education and self-awareness are the basic necessities; even after learning how to avoid it and spot when it's slipping in, we must constantly be alert to it when listening initially and when reviewing our analysis.

Peter, is this one of the most common problem areas you spot in the 40 percent where you find additional insight going back and revisiting an analysis later?

Is it easier to spot your own leaks of bias and personal feelings months later, or shortly after your original analysis?

Anonymous said...

Nic, congratulations on your new family member and buddy!

My dear friends for whom I housesit during their vacations, had a bird for years.

To surprise them one two-week gig, I kept saying, "I'm the best bird ever!" when giving him treats.

They surprised me when they came home with a second bird.

The first one did start saying he's the "best bird ever" and still does when he wants treats, but fortunately the two don't argue over which is the best. (although the friends are slightly disappointed about that :^D)