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Murphy, M. (2019). Book Review of “Lying and Insincerity” by Andreas Stokke. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 16(3):206-207.

(2019). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 16(3):206-207

Book Review of “Lying and Insincerity” by Andreas Stokke

Review by:
Matthew Murphy

The cover of Andreas Stokke's “Lying and Insincerity” evokes a particular portrait of humanity. It's a figure clad in armor with a spear and a shield, its renaissance style helmet glistening yellow against a black backdrop. It's the Athena of Pallas by Rembrandt, and Stokke's choice may serve as an outline to his text—an outline even more productive than his 13 page introduction. If the Greek Gods are metaphors for human nature, then Athena is certainly an apt choice. She's the goddess of warfare and accordingly, Rembrandt's soldier is armed, ready for battle. However, her warfare may be more complicated than the mere physical fight. The figure is looking askew, off to the side and slightly away from the viewer. It conjures the notion that she's thinking, and not just thinking but conniving. Interestingly, Athena is also the goddess of wisdom. In his book, Stokke illuminates all of the facets of lying and insincerity in our daily lives, which seem to demand the full extent of human ingenuity, mental strength and wisdom. If warfare and wisdom were to be amalgamated into one entity, then a certain Greek Goddess would represent it—for sure—but so would a crafty lie.

In several hundred pages, Stokke explores the breadth of human insincerity in all of its complexities. As we quickly learn, a lie is relatively straightforward, “to say something one believes to be false and propose that it be accepted by the participants” … (Stokke 52).

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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