Is a secret a lie? That is, in and of itself, are secrets lies?
This thought was engendered by the events of the last week about previously classified court orders and data mining programs at the NSA, and the larger world of classified activities.
In “history of the lie” Derrida states that a lie is not an error. You can be in error about something, mistaken about it (“why did you miss the meeting at 1pm?”, “oh I thought we were meeting at 2pm“) without lying. As he also says, one does not lie simply by saying something that is false, as long as “one believes in good faith in the truth of what one believes” (p. 31).
Instead, “to lie is to want to deceive the other, sometimes even by saying what is true” (31). Is that what a secret does? A secret withholds, it withholds the…
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