A Machine for Making Falsehoods

The difficulties of being honest and being truly known

Quotes from Under the Net by Iris Murdoch

“I hate solitude, but I’m afraid of intimacy. The substance of my life is a private conversation with myself which to turn into a dialogue would be equivalent to self-destruction. The company which I need is the company which a pub or a cafe will provide. I have never wanted a communion of souls. It’s already hard enough to tell the truth to oneself.”

“All the time when I speak to you, even now, I’m saying not precisely what I think, but what will impress you and make you respond. That’s so even between us – and how much more it’s so where there are stronger motives for deception. In fact, one’s so used to this one hardly sees it. The whole language is a machine for making falsehoods.”

“When does one ever know a human being? Perhaps only after one has realized the impossibility of knowledge and renounced the desire for it and finally ceased to feel even the need of it. But then what one achieves is no longer knowledge, it is simply a kind of co-existence; and this too is one of the guises of love.”

“When I’m up to something I find it very hard to realize that I probably look no different from the way I look on other occasions.”

“To anyone who will take the trouble to become attached to her she will immediately give a devoted, generous, imaginative and completely uncapricious attention, which is still a calculated avoidance of self-surrender. This is no doubt another reason why she never went into films; her private life must be an almost full-time activity. This has the sad result too that her existence is one long act of disloyalty; and when I knew her she was constantly involved in secrecy and lying in order to conceal from each of her friends the fact that she was so closely bound to all the others.”

“We all live in the interstices of each other’s lives, and we would all get a surprise if we could see everything.”

This entry was posted in Being Human, Books, conversations, developing relationships, mindworks, Other peoples words, paying attention, philosophy, Telling Stories, thinking in words and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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