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Might small, trivial lies have worn down trust for good?

© Dana Ellyn, Trading places, 14 in x 18 in, oil on canvas –

It all begins with a little, white lie.

There are the casual lies, the happy lies, the ones told with a bit of a sneer, and those that happen out of convenience, empathy or omission. Small lies of all sorts, which we tell in all tones of voice and for all the reasons in the world, while we reassure ourselves that we’ll be able to disentangle ourselves from them, that they are never serious and that they are often—always—justified.

But are they really all that small? So small that their consequences are wholly trivial, so small there is no reason to dwell on them? No, not really.

All these little lies add up to something true. They reveal something about us, about the person telling them and especially about the person hearing them. The one who at some point notices a pattern, and who can then no longer help seeing that pattern everywhere.

All at once, he realises that he is being lied to, that he has been lied to, and in remembering the whole litany of lies with no guiding rhythm, no common thread, it becomes clear to him that the words he has trusted were traitorous.

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