A Year Without Lying

Cathal Morrow is embarking on an experiment to live for a year without lying. When he's done, he'll report the results in a book to be titled The Complete Kant. (The title refers to Immanuel Kant, who said that lying is always morally wrong.)

Morrow doesn't seem to have a publisher yet for the book, though according to the Guardian, he does have a private equity company financing him for the year in exchange for half the profits of the book. (The book better be a bestseller if they expect to make a return on their investment.)

I don't believe it's possible to go a year without telling some kind of lie, unless you stop communicating altogether.

If, at the end of the year, Morrow claims to have done it, I won't believe him.

Posted on Mon Oct 06, 2008


What's a lie?

Is it only a deliberate fabrication of the truth? Would distorted or incorrect facts, or a misunderstanding that resulted in miscommunication count?

Do I just like using big words, or what?
Posted by JDK  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  12:21 AM
I think if we read the book we might discover how honest or not he has been, its a shame for Alex above as he has no chance, he obviously tells so many whoppers that he can't believe a person could possibly just tell the truth, its not that much to ask. I don't think Kant was right as Cathal puts it on the website http://www.thecompletekant.com if there is a nazi at the door, do you tell them that there are jews in the cellar? Its a tough one but basically I think we should be strong enough to tell the truth during the normal course of our lives, I don't always but I think we should and I can't wait for the book to discover the challenges he has faced. good luck.
Posted by Shuska  in  London  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  12:47 AM
being so we are on a truth topic, I am compelled to mention my thoughts regarding you JDK, the words we not actually that big, but your comment was apart from a lie being a misunderstanding, a lie is a lie, its told by your ego because you can't face the truth, the truth is what you did, its a great topic to tackle because you did something an action or you think something but when communicating it you can't face it so you, lots of inner work to be done on oneself. ohhh and a really big word would be 'antidisestablishmentarians' a nice bunch of people that most likely tell the truth.
Posted by Shuska  in  London  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  12:56 AM
I agree that the boundaries of lying aren't wholly obvious. I recently delivered a paper on hinting which suggested that even when the meaning hinted at is true, some of Kant's objections to lying may be applicable. And there's a book called 'Hypocrisy: Ethical Investigations' which draws on Kant on lying.
Posted by Robert Seddon  in  Durham, UK  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  06:51 AM
I'm still trying to go for a whole day without lying.

I think, though, that most of Kant's objections to lying, even for supposedly good motives, are valid. The classic example of lying to a killer looking for a victim (including Nazis searching for Jews, although that's long after Kant's time) is an extreme one that isn't likely to happen to most people. And if everyone followed Kant's other moral principles, it would never come up at all.

But, for the record, if people were hiding in my garage (I don't have a cellar), and genocidal killers asked me if they were there, I would do everything I could to deceive the killers.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Uncertain, Texas  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  08:05 AM
Isn't this the plot of "The Misanthrope"? We all know how that play turned out.
Posted by Dily  in  West Virginia  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  09:01 AM
The nazi at the door may be an extreme example but there are classic cases which aren't, like telling your children their crayon scrawls are beautiful.
Posted by Phred22  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  09:08 AM
It probably would have been easier if he didn't announce it to the entire world beforehand. Now people are just gonna bug him with embarrassing personal questions.
Posted by Caio  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  11:05 AM
There are also plenty of ways to tell the truth without actually telling that one bit of the truth that you don't want the person to know. And if it comes down to it, simply not saying anything can get you by without lying.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  11:50 AM
And who is exactly is going to "verify" he hasnt lied? the people who are in a position to make a buck off it? I mean come on i could come out today and say i already beat him to it i started a year ago and havent lied?
Posted by Tim  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  05:32 PM
Ahh, but see i just caught you lying... so your year starts over again.
Posted by Tricky Nix  in  Cambria  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  08:10 PM
how do you know?
Posted by Tim  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  10:01 PM
I can live a day without lying, it's just a matter of what you say and what you don't say. But a year will be like living without soda ... it's going to be hard to get over the addiction.
Posted by jackie  in  canada  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  11:03 PM
British prankster Cathal Morrow plans to live in "no-lie" zone for a year. Rubbish! This is a complete non-story reported by an irresponsible Guardian


Is it possible to live for a year without lying?

-- British man plans to try to find out, but is he telling the truth?

by Emmanuelle KANT

RONDON -- Newspapers these days are full of unchecked and under-reported stories
that later turn out to be not true. People call up a reporter and tell
them they are going to do such and such, an incredible feat, and then
the reporter duly writes the story up and it goes live on the Web for
all the world to read, and then later, one never knows if the story
panned out. About ten percent of what we read in the newspapers these
days turns out to be fake news. Unchecked news. News that was never

It's easy to do. You hire a good PR agent, he or she plants the story
in an unsuspecting newspaper in Britain or the USA, the blogosphere
picks it up, and boom, a new world-historial hero artist is born. But
these stories sometimes turn out not to be completely true. Well,
maybe, at the beginning, the plan was a good one, but the execution of
the idea sometimes lags way behind reality. However, we never read
about these failed PR stories. We only get the positive spin at the
beginning, the book deal, the possible movie deal, it all sounds so
exciting and real. But was it? Is all of what we read in the
newspapers true?

Case in point. A newspaper in Britain, which shall go nameless for now
-- and the UK is famous for publishing fake news stories that later
turn out to be completely untrue -- although they make for good
reading! -- a newspaper in London is now reporting that a bloke in
Spain, but a British bloke, "plans" to go a whole year without lying.
A noble cause, a noble project. His name is Cathal Morrow. Google the
news to read between the lines here.

Mr Morrow, 42, married and with two small children to support, "says"
he plans to write a book about his year-long experiment, and he has
already thought of a title: "The Complete Kant."

Hint, hint: Immanuel Kant, the philospher. Or should that be Emanuelle Kant?

Of course, the
newspaper does not tell us that Mr Morrow does not have a "publisher"
yet for his "unwritten" book, but who cares about those small details.
The news value of a hypeable story is paramount here.

Long live the tabloidization of our news, with great asissts from the
Internet. Right?
Posted by Emmanuelle Kant  in  Spain  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  11:06 PM
You wrote: "Morrow doesn't seem to have a publisher yet for the book, though according to the Guardian, he does have a private equity company financing him for the year in exchange for half the profits of the book. (The book better be a bestseller if they expect to make a return on their investment.)"

The Thaler Fund CEO Edward Fitzpatrick is apparently the sponsor, according to the Yahoo News press release sent out Thaler itself. Why didn' the Guardian newspaper mention Thaler as the sponsor? Maybe because this is all a scam com job between Morrow, Edward, who JUST HAPPENED to recieve chapter one of the book in the mail THE OTHER DAY...sure, tell me another lie, Ed...... and reporter Duncan "I'm on vacation until October 20" Campbell, as his email says at duncan.campbell AT guardian.co.uk.......DUH?

Does anyone else smell a PR hype skunk here? They want to sell book rights, movie rights, and TV reality show rights to Morrow's admittedly very creative and cool idea......but this is not about living in the NO LIE ZONE for a year, this is about raking in the money from the publicity. The Guardian piece today is the first of many. Watch the media follow this story with more news crap from AP, Reuters, UPI, AFP, and dpa....and they are all asleep at the wheel...

Alex,,,,there is NO story here. You have been duped...You sort of caught it, I see. Keep watching....
Posted by Emmanuelle KAnt  in  What Would Kant Do? WWKD?  on  Wed Oct 08, 2008  at  01:01 AM
Morrow doesn't SEEM to have a publisher yet for the book...

OF COURSE NOT......have you seen the first chapter online? It's terrible. There is no book here. but there is a possible MOVIE and TV deal if the publicity catches on bigime.....already da blogosphere is alive with all this crap...google his name

Emmanuelle knows all
Posted by Emmanuelle KAnt  on  Wed Oct 08, 2008  at  01:07 AM
heard from the benefactor of mr morrow today, thayer fund ceo ed fitzpatrick. he says: from his Blackberry somewhere in Europe today:

Dear Doubting Emmanuelle,

Thank you for the kind mail.

This IS very much a real project and a serious subject. It seems since the release that so many people have an issue with the simple truth, this shows the importance of the study and the subsequent book.

I am the private equity fund and had you viewed my site from my email address you will see who we are. We fund many projects and this is one.

Cathal was in contact with the Guardian paper prior to the PR news release ... but I fail to see the relevance of this....... no one is trying to hide anything, but to simply undertake an exercise in the truth.

I am glad you find the topic of interest and look forward to your thoughts when you have read the book next year.


-- Edward Fitzpatrick

Sent from my BlackBerry
Posted by Emmanuelle Kant  in  Madrid  on  Wed Oct 08, 2008  at  05:18 AM
The movie has already been made, at least twice:

"[In 'Liar Liar'] ... Max wishes while blowing out his cake candles that his father be unable to lie for an entire day; a wish that immediately becomes true. The plot is reminiscent of The Twilight Zone episode 'The Whole Truth', which involves a used-car salesman being forced into uninhibited honesty by a haunted car."

Posted by Big Gary  in  Uncertain, Texas  on  Wed Oct 08, 2008  at  06:54 AM
I just finished TWO years without telling a lie. Swear to God.
Posted by Mark  in  Cincinnati  on  Wed Oct 08, 2008  at  09:10 AM
Jason a friend of Cathal's says:

Dear Emmanuelle

I've known Cathal for over 20 years and he's been reading philosophy and gazing at his navel intermittently throughout our friendship.

He is most definitely writing a book, I discuss it with him most days and expect to be in it, giving my version of the truth about Cathal, which he has asked for.

Isn't it a bit sad to start making broad assertions about events that you know nothing about? I do hope Cathal and the Thaler Fund send you a signed first edition for your troubles.. and all of the free publicity!


I replied to him:

Dear JasonOutThere ...
from Emmanuelle in Here:

Thanks for writing. I was waiting for you. SMILE. Now since you have known Cathal for over 20 years and you can vouch for him as a good and honest man, and I believe you, can you just tell me a few details:

1. How did he get Duncan Campbell as the Guardian to shill for a book in progress that only has one chapter completed? Does Cathal know Mr Duncan from his PR days in London?

2. How did the first chapter of Cathal's book, which I read online and I loved it, how did that first chapter miraculously arrive somehow in the emailbox of Ed Fitzpatrick of the Thaler Fund? Another friend of Catha's PR days? Dish. Tell the truth. What are Cath's relationships to Duncan and Ed. I know he is your friend and that's cool, friends are good. I respect him and you and Ed and Duncan. I am just curious how this non-story a first chapter of a book got into the prestigious pages of the Guardian? Usually a person writes a book, publishes it and THEN does the promotion and the book tour. In this case, it's ass backwards. Start witht the PR and marketing, get the media to pay attention, and THEN find an agent, a movie producer, etc.

If I made broad assertions about events that I know nothing about, then I apologize. I do hope Cathal and the Thaler Fund send me a signed first edition and I am looking forward to reading it.

Emmanuelle, with a sense of humour, too.

But tell me Jason, how did this non story get into the Guardian paper? Please connect the dots for me: because as you know, most people never get their press releases published verbatim in a good paper like the G unless there is some inside connection.

you know the truth. Dish!

Tell all. Here:

I await your answer.


by the way, Jason, I am on Catha's side. I love what he is doing. I am just curious if it's kosher, the way he is doing it, ass backwards. But if I am wrong, then I will eat my hat, eat humble pie, eat my words, and put all suspicions aside.

Posted by Emmanuelle Kant  in  Madrid  on  Wed Oct 08, 2008  at  09:30 AM
revised and more positive take here


after talking with players in the story:

A Year in the "No-Lie Zone"

British bloke living in "no-lie" zone for 12 months -- already six
months into a Kantian project. But is it really possible to live for a
year without lying?

By "Emmanuelle Kant"

Mr Morrow, 43, married to a beautiful Spanish woman and with two small
children to support, says he
plans to write a book about his year-long experiment, and he has
already thought of a title: "The Complete Kant." As in Immanuel Kant,
the philosopher who was very philosophical about truth and lying.

It's an interesting story. A man living in a ''no-lie'' zone for a year.
Married with kids. His funding sponsor wrote to me, after I inquried about the
situation, and Mr Fitzpatrick noted: "Thank you for the kind mail,
Emmanuelle Kant. It appears that since so many people have an issue
with the simple truth, our project shows the importance of the study
and the subsequent book. I am glad you find the topic of interest and
look forward to your thoughts when you have read the book next year."

And he added: "We have paid two quarterly payments so far to Mr
Morrow, and he is now six months into his "no-lie zone", as you put
it. Unless the current global credit crunch also destroys all paper
sources and printing presses, I can confidently say we will publish
his book and push for whatever spin off comes our way, whether we seek
it or thought of it. Thanks again for you interest. We are all

See Mr Morrow's blog for the "no-lie zone" here:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: "Emmanuelle Kant" is a pen-name for a global citizen
who is very interested in the truth, where-ever she may lie.
Posted by Em,manuelle  on  Wed Oct 08, 2008  at  10:12 PM
To paraphrase some-one "lies are the social lubricant that enable people to live in a civilised fashion" So lies are good.

He should do a whole year only telling lies, that'ld make a story worth telling.
Posted by Joel_B1  in  Tasmania  on  Thu Oct 09, 2008  at  06:49 PM
I like that:

"To paraphrase some-one ...."lies are the social lubricant that enable people to live in a civilised fashion" ....So lies are good!

interesting point. short but sweet!
Posted by Emmanuelle  in  Madrid  on  Thu Oct 09, 2008  at  09:58 PM

More news here
Posted by Emmanuelle  in  Madrid  on  Thu Oct 09, 2008  at  09:59 PM
I can't figure out why, or how, people are doing so much lying. Can't make it through a day?

I certainly would lie if it was necessary, but it rarely is. It's sometimes difficult to tell the truth, but it's hard to get out of bed too, and I do that every day. Lying is just too much work for me.
Posted by bb  on  Fri Oct 10, 2008  at  10:15 AM
I am with BB. Lying is too much work. I'm lazy so I always tell the truth. A year without lying would be fairly easy for me, except that I sometimes lie without thinking, I doubt anyone could stop doing that.
Posted by floormaster squeeze  on  Fri Oct 10, 2008  at  01:16 PM
Now i got it. Duncan Campbell the Guardian reporter who rewrote the press release from Mr Morrow was in contact with Cathal before the story appeared and was written by him, but there is no real relationship or friendship between them, just a mere coincidence and press cold call. So Cathal contacted Duncan, Duncan said cool story, he wrote it. After being prodded by the press release. Normal journalistic procedure. The book is due out in February 2009, that gives us just 4 months to get to the bottom of this. Should be a good book, and hopefully more feature stories in the media will dish the dirt about life in the no lie zone. Good entertainment in these waning days of Western Civ where the finance meltdown is about take a huge toll on all of us. BE PREPARED.
Posted by Emmanuella  in  Madrid  on  Sun Oct 12, 2008  at  04:31 AM
I hope he is not married, if he is, he'll never make it to the end and still be married.
Posted by JupiterXXX  in  Florida  on  Wed Oct 15, 2008  at  01:18 PM
For those of you who have heard of Edward Fitzpatrick you will know that everything he does is a con, problem is he has a fantastic record of taking money and not delivering, Thaler is a hoax and a scam.
Posted by Mother Theresa  in  Geneva  on  Thu Oct 30, 2008  at  05:08 AM
Oh this has to be a hoax, a book about someone who can't lie for a year being sponsored by a someone who can't tell the truth for more than 30 seconds.

Nothing to see here people move on, this is a scam and a hoax.

If this man in genuine I feel sorry for him and his family as his sponsor will leave him high and dry.
Posted by Ray  in  Canada  on  Thu Oct 30, 2008  at  01:30 PM
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