Every child is taught lying is wrong. Our society has aphorisms such as “honesty is the best policy” and “if you are always honest you never have to remember your lies”. However, these teachings conceal the fact that the art of deception is a key part of our civilization. Deception can be found working for politicians, entertainers, and billionaire businessmen. Deception is much more nuanced than simple lying. Deception is the most potent weapon in the game of power.
Deception Creates Imbalance
When people do not know who to trust they are unable to gain a solid foundation. The simple possibility that someone could be lying keeps people from trusting too much. It also causes people to second guess their plans. When those above you become suspicious you create openings for you to overthrow them. Deception is often at its most powerful when mixed with truth. A half-truth does more damage than a full lie because people will see the truth and assume everything that follows is true.
Deception is a destabilizing force. If you wield it skillfully, you can topple power structures, keep your underlings from challenging you, and create your own secure empire.
Deception Creates Wedges
You do not even need to be the one doing the deceiving for it to be a powerful weapon. People hate being lied to. If you merely suggest to a competitor that a mutual third competitor might be lying, you will drive a wedge between the two. You will cause them to focus intently on each other. Their actions will become erratic as they try and outwit one another. By driving a wedge between them you give yourself room to make your move.
Deception, when practiced at the highest levels, allows you to turn friends into enemies, enemies into friends, to encourage your enemies to fight amongst themselves, and even cause your loyalists to be worried about their security and position.
Deception Makes You Strong
In a world where everyone is taught to be honest, you gain an incredible advantage by being willing to deceive. One of the most powerful ways to use deception is to always tell the truth. Gain a reputation for being unscrupulously honest. Nobody will suspect that you are even capable of deception. Then, when the moment is right you unleash your full arsenal of deception. Nobody will see it coming. Many of your victims will never believe it was you who deceived them. You will be able to seize power on the strength of a lifetime of honesty and a moment of deception.
Deception is a tool. Like all tools it is only effective if you have the skill to use it and the knowledge of when to use it. Deception is how you build loyalty and sew discontent. Deception enables you to eliminate rivals and elevate allies. That is the way the game of power is played.