09:08:46 AM Jun 6th 2017
Is the 'truth field' in Doctor Who a relevant example? In The Time of the Doctor, they visit a planet where a truth field prevents anyone on the planet from telling a lie
10:10:13 PM May 1st 2011
So some folks haven't been reading how Example Indentation works and rather than exercising Repair, Don't Respond have gone Thread Mode. Once we weigh up all the natter it looks like this is probably not an example: if the language changes things around a statement, that's regular magic not a Language of Truth which can't (passively) describe something inaccurately.
- In the Young Wizards novels, you can't tell lies in the Speech, the magical universal language — although this may have to do with the language being intricately connected to reality itself, such that a grammatical error can blow up a planet, so who knows what you could accomplish with an outright lie.
- Technically, it's not impossible to lie using the Speech, but it is stated several times throughout the series that using the Speech to say something you expressly know is untrue is a very bad idea, and can have catastrophic consequences for the one who speaks the fabrication.
- The reason you can't tell a lie in the Speech is because it becomes truth after you tell it.
- And before you think this sounds too powerful - it does incur a cost. If that cost isn't carefully specified, it's likely to be your life, especially for large changes.
- Also, the Speech almost uses the converse of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: it can describe everything, but is understood and used up to the limits of the hearer's/speaker's mind. Portions of the Speech cannot be expressed or parsed by anything constrained by spacetime, and the rest can never be exhaustively understood by such. Beings like the Lone Power (and other Powers That Be) can effectively lie in most casual conversations about certain abstract (to us) topics by speaking the complete truth... because there are subtexts of their words which don't even register for the listener.