According to the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, "War is the father of all things." I think strife was more what he was getting at in that famous statement but you get the idea. According to Darwin, all life is a ceaseless struggle for existence. And according to Sun Tzu, "All warfare is based on deception."
All of which points to the fact that the living world of nature isn't just all about strife; it's also all about deception. Animals and even plants have evolved elaborate methods of camouflage. Natural examples of deception abound when it comes to eating and being eaten as well as in mating rituals and dealing with others of the same species. In strictly Darwinian terms--which aren't very nice--the ability to deceive rivals, prey and even potential mates had an adaptive value.
No wonder we're so good at it. I recently read a book about evolutionary psychology that suggested that the well known ability of humans to deceive themselves may have been adaptive as well. That would explain a lot...
Lies and cheating are a major subject of contemporary psychological research, as this item from NPR about cheating reports.
I think you'll find it worth a look. Honestly.
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