You are traversing a large and dark room.  Dim bulbs glow and extinguish, here and there, without illumination.  There is sound; now loud, now low, its source and direction uncertain, then silence. Smells; oil or burning rubber. Touch; your shin strikes an iron bar, a white light of pain. Memory; you had been in the room, possibly, once before, long ago. Your enemy is in the room. Perhaps.

To the lieutenant as to the diplomat, denial and deception is a weapon that fires both ways; to coin a phrase, it is a double-edged sword.  There it is. You advance. Five minutes into the future is utter darkness. Deception, like the bullet and the bow, has already been invented. The best we can do is to learn its use, and choose, when we can, not to use it.

Denial and Deception is of the primordial ooze.

It is survival to both the hunted and the hunter. I wash my camouflage fatigues in baking soda to mask my smell, I perch in a tree stand to surprise the grey-brown white-tail deer traversing silently through dark hazel brush and dried swamp grasses.

“You have a suspicious look about you, Nikita Sergeevich,” the pock-marked little man with slitted eyes regards the terrorized man. “You are plotting, eh?”

“No, no, Comrade Stalin, Nothing.  I am thinking nothing!”

We dissemble to survive.

The five-year-old child trembles, her mother screaming “Don’t lie to me!,” and pouring her 3rd shot of vodka. “You’ve been outside!”

“No, I haven’t.”  The child cringes, the mud from her shoes staining the carpet.

Through deceptions we survive. We will avail of this tool until time and times are gone.

Denial and deception is to the bonds of trust as hydrochloric acid is to the sinewy bonds of bones.

Sissela Bok’a asserts (Lying-Moral Choice in Public and Private Life (New York, Vintage Books, 1978: 19))  that “Deceit and violence–these are two forms of deliberate assault on human beings.”

When we undertake to deceive others intentionally, we communicate messages meant to mislead them, meant to make them believe what we ourselves do not believe.   We who conduct or counter deception agree to rules.

Rules? Rules for lying, cheating and stealing?  Well, yes.

Do I remember watching The Knife Fight in Berkeley, California just before I left for Vietnam?

Butch Cassidy: No, no, not yet. Not until me and Harvey get the rules straightened out.

Harvey Logan: Rules? In a knife fight?

Yes, Rules, or principals at least.

1. Truth: All deception works within the context of what is true.

2. Denial: Denying the target access to the truth is the prerequisite to all deception.

3. Deceit: All deception requires deceit.

4. Misdirection: Deception depends on manipulating what the target registers.

Let’s examine these principals per Michael Bennett and Edward Waltz to see where they lead.  I’ll expand