Scientific America Mind is always a good magazine.
The feature article, argues that humans lie all the time, at all different levels, that we're wired to lie, and that it's advantageous to lie. The core argument would seem to be that lying bridges the gap between societies needs and individual needs, which are assumed to be fundamentally in conflict. There would seem to be some scientific support for this idea among other primates.
The whole thing feels very Maoist.
I suspect that there are environments and cultures where this is truer than in others. I suspect that the more oppressive an environment, be it a bad employer or a totalitarian government, the more lying is necessary, adaptive, and even a sign of political intelligence. But I also suspect that the less oppressive an environment the more being able to tell the truth is necessary, adaptive, and a sign of emotional intelligence. Current scientific thought, perhaps as a reflection of current American culture, seems to have swung in the direction of "Lying is good".
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