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(To get these notions out of the way immediately, what follows may not apply to the answers to these two questions; “Does this dress make my ass look fat?” And; “Did you come?”)

So – “Tell the Truth and Fool the World.

These seven words have for me always held in them something deep and mystical. I can not recall when or where I first heard them, but they have stayed with me for as long as I can remember. A quick google search reveals that this saying is credited to Otto Von Bismarck who originally phrased it as; “when you want to fool the world, tell the truth.” I never knew it originated with Bismarck until a minute ago when I thought to search the phrase – as I knew it.

This aphorism exists on so many levels to me. It holds so many implications far beyond just the face value of its meaning.

To me, at least, it implies that we, as humans, have in our nature an inclination to believe the big lie rather than the plain truth. It implies that we find it difficult to believe someone when he or she is being unabashedly honest with us. (Think Chauncey Gardiner in Jerzy Kosinski’s “Being There”) That we expect people to be, as a rule, less than forthright with us. Which, in turn, implies that we may now and then be less forthright with them. It also implies that telling that “little white lie” so as not to “hurt someone’s feelings” may, in any run, short or long,  be of no value to them – or you.

It implies that the easiest, least complicated, path to “get along” in this life is simply to just tell the truth – your subjective truth, as you know it to be. As you believe it to be. In your answers, your opinions, your actions. It implies that one will have an easier, calmer life if uncluttered by the “games” one must play and the “stories” one must remember and have to keep straight in order to keep up the lie. Any lie, big or small.

And, perhaps, all kidding aside, it does, after all, apply to the answers to those two questions at the top. If we really think about it.

This wise aphorism also implies that a delicious secret resides within the person who lives it.

Perhaps in these seven words there exists a blueprint for happiness and peace of mind?

I know this simple and elegant truism to be the way. And yet, as much as I try to live it, too many times I fall short – and those times when I do fall short I do a disservice to the person I fail to be truthful with – and to myself.

So – Tell the truth and fool the world.



© tony powers and Barking in the Dark, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to tony powers and Barking in the Dark with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


About barkinginthedark

Tony Powers is a writer/actor/musician. His full bio may be seen by clicking on the picture, and then clicking on either of the 2 boxes below it.



  1. This is a thought provoking post, Tony. Recently my daughter, now in her 30’s, asked me what piece of advice I would pass on to her or my grandchildren. Previously I would have said “keep you shoes clean” “drill your table manners” etc. but now there’s only one answer – always get the other side of the story. When we were growing up and you were at the peak of your pop-tactic days we had early Rolling Stone and other underground press shining a light on dodgy dealings. It seems to me that down the years, instead of getting better, the lies have got worse and more brazen and the interweaving skullduggery is almost unravellable in a shrinking inter web world. Thus, by a process of being lied to constantly by those who lead, or purport to, scepticism is our first defence. Sad, isn’t it? However, I do think you can hold onto truth in your own personal dealings and encounters, after all, what is there to hide………. ?
    I did not have sex with that woman……….. Bill
    Saddam Hussein can attack us 45 minutes…………. Tony Blair
    General Pinochet is an honourable man…………… Margaret Thatcher
    ………just some of the hit parade for old times sake…………..


    Posted by Single Malt Monkey | April 18, 2016, 3:44 am
  2. I believed quite a few of the big lies in my time on Earth. They each taught me something about accepting what I can see and hear, and reserving judgement on the rest for however long it takes.

    I’ve also wanted to always be a truth teller, and fallen short, but it’s so hard sometimes. Sometimes I just didn’t want anybody to get mad at me. Now I realize if folks can’t trust me to tell the little truths, why should they believe me when I tell a big one? The older I get, the more I try to do better. Thanks for this heartfelt post to help me remember.


    Posted by Ré Harris | April 13, 2016, 2:09 am
  3. I told the truth and the world told me I was a fool…


    Posted by transtime | April 12, 2016, 1:34 pm

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