Updated: Feb 27
The spirit that I have seen May be a devil; and the devil hath power T' assume a pleasing shape
Dishonesty and the unreal seem heat- and fluid-like in “mystical,” “snake oil,” “full of hot air,” “airy fairy,” “carry fire in one hand and water in the other,” “pants on fire,” “gasbag,” “smoke and mirrors” “lie like you breath,” and disorderly in “wisecrack,” “bend the truth,” “rip off,” “crook,” and “crooked as a barrel of fishhooks,” bright and colorful in “little white lie,” “red handed,” fast in “pull a fast one,” and “a hustle,” high-pitched in “crying wolf,” upward in “tall tale,” outward in “stretch of the imagination,” “far out,” and "explode the myth," “feed me a line” "a stretch" and “a tall tale.” Combinations of lies and the truth, or fantasy and reality are common in artistic literature. Lies and length relate in Carlo Collodi's The Adventures of Pinocchio. The Ancient Greek story of Cassandra is an intricate mixture of truth and lies, and factual information is mixed with nonfiction in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
People have always invented fantasies that we know are not real and mixed them with reality in the interest of entertainment. Assuming reality to be less exciting than fantasy, or lies more exciting than the cold, hard, plain old truth, one could look at the many popular stories incorporating deception, a surprise ending or an otherwise mixed real and unreal structure as being this way because they reflect the mixture of disorderly uncertainty and solid knowledge in the human brain and mind more closely than pure fiction or fact alone. Fiction in stories thus may serve to compensate for the lack of excitement we attach to truth and correct the discrepancy between the amount of disorder in the brain and that which stories would contain if they were entirely factual. Fantastic stories are shaped to be more similar to the brain by the addition of fantastic elements to reality. Lying, deceitfulness, uncertainty and impossible events are similar.