the world to give us more room
to maneouver, and yet we cannot escape the fact that if we muddy
the water we all swim
in, we become blind
Symbolic manipulation to escape consequences can of course be innovative, but it also detaches the user from the reality which they live in (not to mention the victim). A lie, by definition, takes us further from the world than we are. Our beliefs about the world are based on trust in the information given to us, as well as that perceived. If it is true that all people lie, especially when it is to their advantage, then it follows that we can trust no one. Least of all ourselves, as we are a product of the lies that we believe.
Descartes noticed this, as did Nietzsche, but both their approaches were very different and quite educational.
Descartes took the lies to task and cleaned the house of his mind, starting from scratch, and the statement "Cogito Ergo Sum" or "I think therefore I am". Then built up a coherent and consistent view of the world, removing any obvoiusly false or artificial construct on the way. This is rather inspriring, and very brave considering the sort of world he lived in condemned just this kind of innovation, and independance from accepted Christian doctrine. We have to admire his attempt to remove the lies, and afford humanity a clearer view.
Neitzsche, on the other hand took the whole picture, decided that there was no truth, and one could believe in nothing verifiably. This led him to the conclusion that you could quite happily embrace nihilism and use beliefs as tools or amusing toys with which to play other people. In essence he said that people create their own pocket of truth that was entirely subjective and totally unprovable, as such you could deal with the fragmented realities of others individually to personal advantage. Seeing as there are no beliefs that are real, then there is no morality to concern oneself with and you have no reason to worry about this manipulation. In short this means there are no lies, just sentences you believe for a while. This is also quite radical, and solves the problem, but if look at the muddy water metaphor, we see that in Nietsche's world, all the people are blind, and only a few are clever enough to know this and lead people astray by hinting at illusionary light. This is a rather bleak view, and one that doesn't deal with the fact that lies create huge problems for most people in real life. We don't like it when people lie to us, it makes us angry, and we see ourselves as handicapped. In a real sense we are, as what we would otherwise have believed given the evidence available is missing.
So where does this leave us? I don't know. Your thoughts are welcome.