If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything. – Mark Twain

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

Mark Twain

Much has been said and written about the importance of being truthful. Ancient philosophers often compared the power of truth to the sun and its rays. They stressed that one truth had the power to vanquish a thousand lies, that truth could be suppressed and kept hidden for a while, but not forever – so much so that these analogies and aphorisms have become somewhat clichéd over time. Interestingly, however, not much seems to have been said over what is arguably the best thing about being honest about things.

You see, lying or making things up comes with a catch – you need to remember those lies for a long, long time, if not forever. While remembering something is not an issue in itself, being obliged to live in a castle of lies definitely is. It is like creating an alternate reality for yourself, and then having to live that reality to avoid getting caught. Unfortunately with lies, they never go unaccompanied and often set off a chain reaction where one needs to keep fibbing to cover up their previous lies. The more these falsehoods accumulate, the harder it gets to keep the truth from knocking them down.

On the other hand, one does not really need to remember anything when they are upright about something. You say the things you know or experience, which does away with the need to spend your time or energy on forcing yourself to remember them. That way, even when you have to talk about it with someone again, your version will not be at odds with what you said the last time. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, needs no introduction. The legendary American writer once said: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”