Parables (was: Re: Merlin (with spoilers) talent and not using it)

Roger Burton West roger at
Thu Jun 5 11:12:52 EDT 2003

On Wed, Jun 04, 2003 at 02:29:17PM +0100, Charles Butler wrote:

>Yes, there's a nice passage in Tom Jones about this (which I've tried
>unsuccessfully to find because Fielding puts it much better than I'm about
>to) where the narrator comments that if Master Blifil had considered the
>minimal moral difference that exists between _telling_ and _communicating_
>an untruth he would hardly have expended so much ingenuity in avoiding the
>one while doing the other.

Chapter 6, I imagine:

  This excellent method of conveying a falsehood with the heart only,
  without making the tongue guilty of an untruth, by the means of
  equivocation and imposture, hath quieted the conscience of many a
  notable deceiver; and yet, when we consider that it is Omniscience on
  which these endeavour to impose, it may possibly seem capable of
  affording only a very superficial comfort; and that this artful and
  refined distinction between communicating a lie, and telling one, is
  hardly worth the pains it costs them.

So if I were to say "I work for an organisation that does jobs for the
SAS, where the SAS doesn't want to get its hands dirty"... which is
technically true but gives an _entirely_ erroneous impression...? :-)

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