„Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.“

—  Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist (1891), Part II
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Oscar Wilde634
1854 - 1900
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„A man may well himself discover truth in what he wrote; for he was dealing all the time with things that came from thoughts beyond his own.“

—  George MacDonald Scottish journalist, novelist 1824 - 1905
The Fantastic Imagination (1893), Context: "But a man may then imagine in your work what he pleases, what you never meant!"  Not what he pleases, but what he can. If he be not a true man, he will draw evil out of the best; we need not mind how he treats any work of art! If he be a true man, he will imagine true things: what matter whether I meant them or not? They are there none the less that I cannot claim putting them there! One difference between God's work and man's is, that, while God's work cannot mean more than he meant, man's must mean more than he meant. For in everything that God has made, there is layer upon layer of ascending significance; also he expresses the same thought in higher and higher kinds of that thought: it is God's things, his embodied thoughts, which alone a man has to use, modified and adapted to his own purposes, for the expression of his thoughts; therefore he cannot help his words and figures falling into such combinations in the mind of another as he had himself not foreseen, so many are the thoughts allied to every other thought, so many are the relations involved in every figure, so many the facts hinted in every symbol. A man may well himself discover truth in what he wrote; for he was dealing all the time with things that came from thoughts beyond his own.

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„Man consists in Truth. If he exposes Truth, he exposes himself. If he betrays Truth, he betrays himself.“

—  Novalis German poet and writer 1772 - 1801
Context: Man consists in Truth. If he exposes Truth, he exposes himself. If he betrays Truth, he betrays himself. We speak not here of lies, but of acting against Conviction.

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„A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest form of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal in satisfying his vices. And it all comes from lying — to others and to yourself.“

—  Fyodor Dostoyevsky Russian author 1821 - 1881
The Brothers Karamazov (1879–1880), Variant translations: Above all, do not lie to yourself. A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others. Not respecting anyone, he ceases to love, and having no love, he gives himself up to passions and coarse pleasures, in order to occupy and amuse himself, and in his vices reaches complete bestiality, and it all comes from lying continually to others and to himself. A man who lies to himself is often the first to take offense. It sometimes feels very good to take offense, doesn't it? And surely he knows that no one has offended him, and that he himself has invented the offense and told lies just for the beauty of it, that he has exaggerated for the sake of effect, that he has picked on a word and made a mountain out of a pea — he knows all of that, and still he is the first to take offense, he likes feeling offended, it gives him great pleasure, and thus he reaches the point of real hostility… Do get up from your knees and sit down, I beg you, these posturings are false, too. Part I, Book I: A Nice Little Family, Ch. 2 : The Old Buffoon; as translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, p. 44

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„A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.“

—  Mark Twain American author and humorist 1835 - 1910
Mark Twain and I by Opie Read

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„If he will not tell the truth, except when it is for his interest to do so, let us make it for his interest to tell the truth. We can do it by applying to him the same principle of justice that we apply to ourselves“

—  Frederick Douglass American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman 1818 - 1895
1860s, Our Composite Nationality (1869), Context: It is objected to the Chinaman that he is secretive and treacherous, and will not tell the truth when he thinks it for his interest to tell a lie. There may be truth in all this; it sounds very much like the account of man’s heart given in the creeds. If he will not tell the truth, except when it is for his interest to do so, let us make it for his interest to tell the truth. We can do it by applying to him the same principle of justice that we apply to ourselves. But I doubt if the Chinese are more untruthful than other people. At this point I have one certain test. Mankind are not held together by lies. Trust is the foundation of society. Where there is no truth, there can be no trust, and where there is no trust, there can be no society. Where there is society, there is trust, and where there is trust, there is something upon which it is supported. Now a people who have confided in each other for five thousand years; who have extended their empire in all directions until it embraces one-fifth of the population of the globe; who hold important commercial relations with all nations; who are now entering into treaty stipulations with ourselves, and with all the great European powers, cannot be a nation of cheats and liars, but must have some respect for veracity. The very existence of China for so long a period, and her progress in civilization, are proofs of her truthfulness. This is the last objection which should come from those who profess the all-conquering power of the Christian religion. If that religion cannot stand contact with the Chinese, religion or no religion, so much the worse for those who have adopted it. It is the Chinaman, not the Christian, who should be alarmed for his faith. He exposes that faith to great dangers by exposing it to the freer air of America. But shall we send missionaries to the heathen to right to come to us? I think a few honest believers in the teachings of Confucius would be well employed in expounding his doctrines among us.

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„Tell him,' the colonel said, smiling, 'that a person doesn’t die when he should but when he can.“

—  Gabriel García Márquez, book One Hundred Years of Solitude
One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), p. 241, said by Colonel Aureliano Buendía

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