Are Lying and Deceit Integral parts to Human Culture: Nature as a whole?

Fire Flies light up their Butts in distinct patters to deceive mates into thinking they are something they are not. Politicians stretch statistics to deceive a populace to vote for them. Whichever way you throw the dice, lying and deceit play an important role in human culture and nature as a whole.
Having just finished A Liar’s Tale I have a new philosophy on humans ability and actual wont to distort facts, change the truth, and sometimes flat out lie to get what we want, or to gain some sort of control. People lie to themselves as well, it’s a construct of who we are. I wonder why there was a commandment set forth in the 10 commandments saying it is a sin to lie. When there is lying going on all around us.
I am not talking about christian doctrine either. Religion aside, organisms in nature do their fair share of deceiving and lying to get what they want.
Lies and deceit can be extremely dangerous especially for humans, so my question is this: What lies are good beneficial even? What about deceit? Has anyone ever “fudged” something on a resume to look a little better to a potencial employer? Was that all that bad, what if you got the job?
We all know there are horrible and bad lies. Being unfaithful to ones spouse etc…etc…
So what lies are in our lives everyday, which are good and bad?
Philosophically speaking, I wonder why lying got to be a commandment, when there are differeing degrees to a lie, and some lies that are even beneficial>?

Hey, Phil, you should read Matt Ridley’s The Red Queen. It’s mostly about the evolution of sexual reproduction (it’s very costly to the individuals) but the last chapter is about the evolution of language.

Basically his hypothesis (based on my memory) is that language evolved as humans started lying/manipulating each other (about sex, because males and females both have an (evolutionary) interest in philandry), and developed a corresponding need to become better at detecting lies and manipulation (since both males and females have an (evolutionary) interest in not being cuckolded), and behold ! an arms race develops, and our interpersonal/language/social etc skills become more highly developed. Very interesting.

There’s a structure in the cerebellum called the dentate nucleus. It has bothered anatomists for years because it’s connected to the frontal lobes. (Cerebellum = complex motor movements; frontal lobes = rationality, judgement, intuition, long range planning, most of what makes us human). A gal with a PET scanner in her research lab found out what it was for about 1997. It controls the movements of muscles of your mouth and face when you want to pretend to feel something you are not actually feeling. E.g., it’s there to help you lie, with your face if not with your words. It gives rise to the “television anchor smile” as well as all of acting. It could have clear evolutionary benefits to back up, “Chief, just ignore that young rival, we’re behind you all the way!” and, “Darling, she/he means nothing to me, it’s only you that I love!”

Dogs don’t have one.
Chimps do.
You and I do.

I could be wrong, but I believe the original commandment when interrpeted most literally was “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” - which doesn’t outright make all lying bad, just lying “on the stand”. But this is not in GQ so I won’t find a cite to back up my humble opinion. :slight_smile: