Can Sleeping Dogs Lie?

by rthieme on March 10, 1998

For that matter, can waking dogs lie?

Thinking that truths and lies are Siamese twins joined at the lips. That every front has a back, that truth is impossible without lies, integrity meaningless without deceit. Thinking…

— that we never need to learn what we already know. At a corporate retreat, listening to presentations on teamwork, collaborative learning, the importance of character, thinking that those things must be perceived to be lacking in the culture. There are never seminars on tying shoelaces, how to eat lunch, things everybody knows.

— that the spiritual tools developed by religions over the past few thousand years must be antidotes in the form of cultural constructs to inherited behaviors that have to be managed.

— that maybe when a system reaches a particular degree of complexity, behaviors emerge to manage the internal contradictions or vectors of energy that explode in all directions, behaviors such as…

— having integrity, behaving ethically, building character. Used correctly, speech — and writing, and digital symbols — restores our “lost” humanity. Restores a wholeness that in fact we never had.

Thinking of a gorilla in a zoo (a true story), its arm stuck between bars. The keeper unlocks the cage and goes to help. But the ape is waiting behind the door and hugs him as he enters. The ape knows that humans help animals in distress, fakes it, and plans a strategy based on deception. A higher primate using guile which implies that it knows the truth. Not like…


Watching a dog dance with idiot ecstasy when its owner reaches for a leash. Dogs can’t lie OR tell the truth. Dogs are ALWAYS sincere.

Dogs don’t search for their dog-identity, don’t need dog-religions to become real dogs, don’t get lost in digital symbols.

Maybe it’s true: Maybe there aren’t any dogs on the Internet.

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