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I was looking at the questions where Everything Joe says is true and I thought it would be interesting to explore the inverse superpower.

Bob isn't just a pathological liar, but if he says a true statement, the fabric of reality will be altered to make his statement false in some way. This takes the path of least resistance and will alter as little as possible to make his statements observably false, so for instance if he states that you scored 99/100 on a test (and you did), your score would suddenly become 98 or 100. If Bob states a paradox, nothing happens. People automatically disbelieve any statements he makes. In addition, this superpower is permanent and cannot be removed through anything he might say or any interaction with other superpowers that might exist. As an additional limitation, any statement that, if false, would harm himself or another human (or bring the end of humanity as we know it) is nullified. He also cannot affect his own memory, personality, or desires through a falsified statement.

There are ways to manipulate this in his favor, such as stating the opposite of what he wants in the simplest way possible, but because as little as possible is changed, this can be tricky in some cases since only one detail of his statement must be false in order to render the entire statement technically false.

The problem is that it's hard to get anyone to trust you when you have a track record of only saying lies and nobody ever believes you. How does Bob build any sort of meaningful relationship of trust with anyone?

EDIT: This effect extends to written language and sign language, so pretending to be mute is not an option for getting around it. It is also affected only by what is literally said, so stating something sarcastically produces the same effect as if it were said seriously. Questions and imperative sentences also have no effect since they do not assert any factual information.

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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Mar 27 at 3:28
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    $\begingroup$ Why can't he state that "you didn't score 99/100 on a test" (although you did), then nothing changes, and everyone who knows Bob would eventually get to know that what he says is true, you just have to remove one negation? $\endgroup$ – Headcrab Mar 27 at 7:30
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    $\begingroup$ So what would happen if he is suicidal and says, "the sun exists"? $\endgroup$ – Gnudiff Mar 27 at 8:27
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    $\begingroup$ Loophole for bob wanting to tell the truth (about himself?) might be to prepend "everybody knows that...". If it is something you want someone to know, they don't know it yet, so it is by definition not true. It might be a bit awkward at first, but you can start explaining your situation at least somehwat :) "Everybody knows my predicament. Everybody knows that what I say will always be false". $\endgroup$ – Nanne Mar 27 at 10:18
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    $\begingroup$ I imagine Bob in school. Teacher: Who was the first president of the United States? Bob: George Washington. Laughter ensues; everybody knows the first president of the United States was John Adams. Teacher: Two plus two is...? Bob: Four!. The universe goes bang. $\endgroup$ – Luís Henrique Mar 27 at 16:57

27 Answers 27

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You misunderstand trust: I trust Bob completely.

A lack of trust comes from unpredictability and betrayal. Bob hasn't betrayed me because I trust him completely: he will always speak falsely. Frankly, that makes him a great deal more honest than many people I know, people whose honesty is unpredictable and therefore untrustworthy.

Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly... stupid. — Jack Sparrow

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    $\begingroup$ Of course, if Bob tells you he's dishonest, the universe has a problem... $\endgroup$ – origimbo Mar 27 at 11:21
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    $\begingroup$ -1, This is a rather strange definition of trust. Suppose I have a colleague that is terrible at their job and always gives me incorrect answers to any question I ask. I do not trust them, despite the fact that I can completely rely on the fact that they're wrong. I can trust them to be untrustworthy, which is just a convoluted way of saying they cannot be trusted. I can find no dictionary that defines trust in terms of predictability or betrayal. $\endgroup$ – Nuclear Wang Mar 27 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ @NuclearWang If your colleague always gives wrong result (and I mean Bob level of always) then you should try and compare his results with yours (or anyone else's). There are few ways to be right, and many ways to be wrong, so it's of dubious usefulness, but whenever results match, you scrap your prior work and start over. $\endgroup$ – M i ech Mar 27 at 13:05
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    $\begingroup$ @NuclearWang, 1a: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. Note that "or." It's important. What I have is an "assured reliance on [Bob's] character." You are correct that people usually use "trust" to reflect a positive condition - something desirable. The truth is that trust is not always used in a positive context, and you're example of convolution is only true if trust can only be used in a positive way, which it need not. $\endgroup$ – JBH Mar 27 at 13:57
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    $\begingroup$ @NuclearWang When you say that you "cannot trust your colleague", in that context that phrase implies that you cannot trust them to do good work. As a general case, trust means something/someone is reliable, and reliability comes from predictability. Your colleague cannot be predicted to do good work, therefore they cannot be trusted to do good work. But they can be predicted to do bad work, so they can be trusted to do bad work. See, "trust" frequently carries a positive connotation, but it doesn't always have to be used that way. $\endgroup$ – Abion47 Mar 27 at 17:51
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# Don't Talk

"I have, at most, level 4 ASLPI proficiency level."

Then Bob can just play deaf. And if necessary, make himself temporarily deaf. Communicate with sign language, or writing if necessary. But it may not be necessary, since he can just tell someone that they are not sign proficient either.

Edit: striking previous part of answer due to question edit, but leaving it for posterity/comments.

Bob, the pessimistic super doctor

Work in a hospital. Always complain. "This patient won't survive." "That will leave scar." "It will take at least five hours of physical therapy before she can walk again." "You have cancer."

So no-one will trust what Dr. Bob says. But they will trust that he can save any patient, cure any illness.

Beyond that, go into the labs and complain that their research isn't ready. "You haven't finished your cure for the cold." "It only works on specific strains of the virus." "It has side effects." "It takes multiple doses." "It takes more than a day to work." "It costs more than 5 dollars to manufacture a dose." "It doesn't taste like chocolate."

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    $\begingroup$ With reality only going the path of least resistance to make certain statements untrue, 'That will leave a scar' may be untrue, as the scar will be there, but be precitpitated by something else. 'this patient won't surive' might make the patient be hooked up to life support, 'technically' alive, etc. $\endgroup$ – bukwyrm Mar 27 at 8:35
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    $\begingroup$ @bukwyrm That is only initial treatment. Bob can keep saying things to help that patients get better. $\endgroup$ – Xavon_Wrentaile Mar 27 at 9:08
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    $\begingroup$ I just reread the question. As Bob's statement's untruth cannot harm another human, but no such provision exist for it not to help another human, the net effect will always be positive; Didn't catch that; You are right, Bob would make a phenomenal doctor (as long as he keeps to talking). +1 $\endgroup$ – bukwyrm Mar 27 at 9:20
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    $\begingroup$ Why would communicating in sign language have a different outcome than communicating in a spoken language? $\endgroup$ – Evpok Mar 27 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking of using the same logic to end world hunger: "you don't have enough nutritious food for your kids in your pantry" $\endgroup$ – Broken_Window Mar 27 at 17:09
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There are ways to manipulate this in his favor, such as stating the opposite of what he wants in the simplest way possible, but because as little as possible is changed, this can be tricky in some cases since only one detail of his statement must be false in order to render the entire statement technically false.

Bob wants actually to state things not as simply as possible, since as you mentioned, this leads to several possible outcomes. He wants to state things as precise as possible.

"My net worth is at most 10 dollars", has the logical (and only possible) opposite "My net worth is more than 10 dollars" (and Bob will have net worth of 10.01 dollars if taking the path least resistance).

"The set of people who distrusts me is non empty" has opposite "The set of people who distrusts me is empty", i.e. no one distrusts Bob...

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    $\begingroup$ Aye, but the rub is not the 'ten dollars' part, nut the 'net worth' part. Net worth' can be very subtly changed, for instance, by increasing debt. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Mar 26 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ @JustinThyme then just be more precise "my net worth is at most 10 dollars and I have debt." $\endgroup$ – Aethenosity Mar 27 at 6:22
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    $\begingroup$ This becomes a 'if a tree falls where no one can hear' scenario - if everyone understands what Bob 'really' is saying, i.e. if people understand 'I have at most 10 dollars' to mean 'I have exactly 10.01 dollars' - does reality bend to make that meta-statement untrue too? $\endgroup$ – bukwyrm Mar 27 at 8:29
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    $\begingroup$ Just being able to say "I have debt" with this power would be glorious $\endgroup$ – MrSpudtastic Mar 28 at 17:20
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When Bob wants to communicate, he doesn't make statements. He asks questions that lead people to the correct conclusions or uses imperatives.

Mr. X: Bob, what is behind this door?

Bob: Would you believe there's a tiger behind the door? Don't open the door.


Mr. X: Bob, where's the report you were supposed to hand in?

Bob: Where would you expect it to be?

Mr. X: On my desk in my in-box.

Bob: It's not there. Or is it?


Mr. X: Bob, why do you always ask questions instead of directly telling what you want?

Bob: Hypothetically, if an honest person was incapable of making a true statement because of a cursed super-power, how do you think such a person would communicate?

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  • $\begingroup$ This becomes a 'if a tree falls where no one can hear' scenario - if everyone understands what Bob 'really' is saying, i.e. if people understand 'Do i have less than 5 dollars?' to mean 'I have 5 dollars' - does reality bend to make that meta-statement untrue too? $\endgroup$ – bukwyrm Mar 27 at 8:49
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    $\begingroup$ It depends on whether Bob's power extends to the domain of pragmatics or if it's bound by literal meaning. $\endgroup$ – Michael Mar 27 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ @bukwyrm the op is about fabric of reality $\endgroup$ – Gnudiff Mar 27 at 9:43
  • $\begingroup$ @bukwyrm The OP has since edited the question to clarify that this ability only cares about the literal truthfulness of the statement, so the meta-statement no longer needs to be considered! $\endgroup$ – MrSpudtastic Mar 28 at 17:28
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There are seconds during this week/month/year that you will not trust me a bit. --Bob

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    $\begingroup$ That's not really answering the question. That's more just a proof that Bob can force things to be true. $\endgroup$ – David Mar 26 at 18:57
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    $\begingroup$ @David question is about how does he make people to trust him. If fabrics of reality makes what he says false then this statement is simplest, sure solution — there will not be a second someone does not trust him, so this person will trust him, problem solved. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Mar 26 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough, I didn't think about that. $\endgroup$ – David Mar 26 at 19:03
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    $\begingroup$ This is rough though.. because due to the path of least resistance, you end up with people only trusting bob slightly more than a bit. $\endgroup$ – Dylan Mar 26 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Dylan why not "...that you will not trust me completely." then? $\endgroup$ – scohe001 Mar 26 at 21:42
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Easy. Bob can gain people's trust through his actions. If he acts to help people, that will show he's trustworthy.

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    $\begingroup$ Just keep [not] talking. $\endgroup$ – Mazura Mar 27 at 2:18
  • $\begingroup$ 'Showing that X' might be considered a statement... $\endgroup$ – bukwyrm Mar 27 at 8:51
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    $\begingroup$ @bukwyrm The question states if Bob says a true statement, reality will alter itself to make that statement false. If Bob doesn't speak, he hasn't said anything. Besides which, learning to trust someone based on their actions alone is something the observer does. Not Bob. Every observer will have their own threshold for how much Bob needs to do before they trust him. Therefore any "truth" of this "statement" is inherently subjective. Trying to change reality for individual people one at a time sounds like a paradox factory to me. $\endgroup$ – Steve-O Mar 27 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ " If he acts to help people" ... I can see it now ... a car is out of control, and heading towards an old lady who uses a stick and is slow on her feet. He rushes forwards shouting "Don't worry, I'll save you". As he does so, he trips, but valiantly pushes her out of the path of the car. In the mean time, the car driver regains control just at the last second, and swerves to avoid the pedestrians; but the direction they swerve puts them straight ontop of the lady. Now poor Bob has just pushed the lady under the car. Honestly, that doesn't seem trustworthy to me. $\endgroup$ – UKMonkey Mar 27 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ @UKMonkey If he doesn't shout, it's not a problem. The fabric of reality won't be rewoven and he'll save the old lady. $\endgroup$ – HS-nebula Mar 27 at 16:55
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Pretend he's mute, keep his mouth shut and write everything down.

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    $\begingroup$ This is the correct answer ;) $\endgroup$ – Bob Mar 26 at 23:59
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    $\begingroup$ If this were Puzzling.SE, the OP would've got yelled at for leaving such an exploitable opening, +1 (and to every answer that doesn't use speech) $\endgroup$ – Mazura Mar 27 at 2:16
  • $\begingroup$ Are statements given in writing not statements? Are mute people in your world unable to make statements? $\endgroup$ – bukwyrm Mar 27 at 8:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Bob "This is the correct answer ;)" OR IS IT?! $\endgroup$ – Steve-O Mar 27 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ Don't trust @Bob $\endgroup$ – PascalVKooten Mar 27 at 14:58
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My answer assumes that Bob can not predict HOW things will change, just that they will change, in subtle ways. Also, I am assuming that Bob can and will voluntarily answer your questions. I am also assuming that this works for any PREDICTIONS Bob makes. That is, any prediction that he makes will never be true. I am also assuming that Bob, in god faith, can tell the truth as it was at the time of him saying it.

I am not sure if the issue is in not being able to trust that the answer Bob gives you is the truth, but in being able to absolutely trust that the answer Bob gives you is NOT the truth.

If a betting man knew that Bob's answer could always be trusted to ultimately NOT be true, then a betting man could make a lot of money.

'Bob, what team will win the Series?' Then bet AGAINST the team he says. 'I will bet you that your favorite team x will NOT win the Series'. 'Oh, come ON, they are sure to win the series. You're ON, man, you're ON'.

Of course, a person with criminal intent would WANT him to tell the truth, so that it would become the UNtruth.

'Bob, try that door and tell me if it is locked?' In which case, you WANT him to tell the truth, that it is locked, so that it then becomes the UNtruth.

'Bob, is that watchman who is looking at us paying attention to us?'

'Bob, is that merchant charging for his goods?'

'Bob, will you tell the judge the truth about my guilt?' It doesn't matter if the judge believes him or not, but as soon as Bob says I am guilty, I am no longer guilty.

It would seem to me, that the utility and the advantage of having Bob as a friend would not be in what Bob says is the truth, but what HAPPENS in response to his telling the truth. That it reliably and immediately becomes the UNtruth in some way.

In day to day conversations as a friend, one could easily accommodate his eccentricities, if one knew absolutely that whatever he said, even if said in good faith, would be wrong.

'Bob, how much money do you have?' Bob: 'I have ten dollars'. So, if Bob answered truthfully in good faith, you know he has approximately ten dollars, but not exactly ten dollars.

'Bob, what time is it?' Bob: 'It is ten o'clock'. So again, if Bob is answering truthfully in good faith, and tells you the correct time, then you know it is AROUND ten o'clock but not exactly ten o'clock.

If he always answers with an approximate answer, that is close to the truth, you of course can always accommodate. The trick is to learn to ask Bob the question in the right way.

So those who perhaps find utility in Bob, and want to capitalize on his powers, but also want to have a good relationship with him on good faith, would have no problems as long as they always knew his good-faith answers were APPROXIMATE answers, and his devious faith answers were always the truth as he knew it at the time of his response. You and Bob would know the answer would be immediately incorrect as soon as he gave the response.

And, of course, there is the situations along the lines of: Bob: 'I need to go to the bathroom right now' means that, if it were the truth, Bob NO LONGER has to go to the bathroom right now, but he WILL have to go to the bathroom AGAIN (is that the right term) shortly.

in such a way, as long as the other person wanted to have a relationship with Bob, and Bob always responded in good faith with the truth, but both of you knew it was no longer the truth but approximately the truth, the relationship would work out.

So, really, it is about how much the OTHER person wants to have a good relationship with Bob, and is willing to accommodate, provided Bob enters the relationship in good faith.

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In a computer game "Divinity: Original Sin II" there was one character, a talking mouse, who was cursed and as a result could only tell lies. When you meet him, he wants you to remove the curse, but, of course, he can't simply tell you about it, because that would be the truth he cannot tell. So he simply reverses everything and says something like "I am not a mouse. I don't have this curse that makes me always tell a lie. I don't think you could help me and remove the curse by doing so and so... Doing so and so. It wouldn't help. Got it?" Can't your Bob just do the same?

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How linguistically savvy is this superpower? How linguistically savvy is Bob?

I'm assuming here that Bob wants to communicate the truth and wants to be trusted. I'm also going to be treating the superpower as an antagonist to this goal.

If the superpower can recognize the intent of his statements and will change the truth of the part he intends to communicate, he's kind of stuck (although maria_c's answer is a good one for getting as close as possible to the truth).

If, however, the superpower only analyzes his statements in terms of syntax and semantics, Bob can work around the limitation in various ways.

First, he can use questions instead of statements. While declarative sentences have a truth value (as long as they aren't paradoxes), interrogative sentences do not. So if he wanted to tell you that Madrid is the capital of Spain, he could ask you "Did you know that Madrid is the capital of Spain?"

Second, he could always tell you what he wants you to know in a content clause. This will still involve a declarative sentence, but by selecting the main clause carefully he can make a sentence that is already false (and therefore exempt from the power), but that nevertheless has a true content clause. For example: "No one knows that Madrid is the capital of Spain." People already know that Madrid is the capital of Spain, therefore the statement is false. It can't be further falsified and the superpower won't touch it.

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    $\begingroup$ "No one knows that Madrid is the capital of Spain" can easily be made false by by exactly one person knowing that Madrid is the capital of Spain. In fact, it's already false because many people do, in fact, know that. If instead he phrased it as "There are some people who do not know that Madrid is the capital of Spain", the smallest possible change that could make that false is every (existing) person knowing it. (Though whether the knowledge is added to everyone's heads or those who don't know simply cease existing, or Spain's capital moves to Barcelona is hard to say...) $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Mar 26 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ That was my point. The sentence is already false, so it can't be falsified and is exempt. I will edit my answer for better clarity. $\endgroup$ – MacA Mar 26 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ The smallest possible change is that just one person changes their knowledge, as 'some people' still relates to a definite pool of identified people, and only one of them needs to exit the pool for the statement to be false. It would become 'some people minus one' or, looked at another way, 'one less than some people'. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Mar 26 at 21:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Justin Thyme. My interpretation of the power, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that it does nothing when Bob makes a false statement. So my example is a false statement with a true statement embedded in a content clause. The smallest change to make this statement false is no change at all. $\endgroup$ – MacA Mar 26 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ @MacA Now that you mention it, the question does not really address what happens if Bob makes a false statement, just what happens if he makes a true statement. If his statement is already false, then it is already 'not true' and no action is necessary. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Mar 26 at 21:47
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You kind of answered your own question, he can't remove this superpower by stating he has it so he can go up to anyone, explain the way the power works and then demonstrate it using some easy cases. People will be skeptical at first but will believe him after enough convincing examples.

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  • $\begingroup$ People automatically disbelieve any statements he makes. Even though as you observed he can directly and truthfully explain his power, if he does, nobody will believe him. $\endgroup$ – Unrelated String Mar 26 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Unrelated String That statement lacks a reason. Do people distrust him because the power forces them not to, as you seem to assume, or do they distrust him from experience? Since the question is asking how to overcome distrust we're assuming that it's possible and thus that it's not caused by the superpower. Otherwise the question becomes "How can we make the impossible possible?" $\endgroup$ – Muuski Mar 26 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ Valid point. However, disbelief is not equivalent to distrust, so ideally Bob would be able to get people to trust that everything he says is false without it reflecting on his moral character. Of course, that brings up the question of how intent factors in... $\endgroup$ – Unrelated String Mar 26 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Muuski 'Hi! nothing i can possibly say will sound true to you, for reasons of magic' > Reality doesnt change > disbelief. 'See, for instance you know i know when you were born;' Reality changes, person doesnt know that > disbelief 'It was in 1950, right?' Reality just changed. Person was born in 1951. Person thinks 'wow, so Bob said something false. Big Feat. Not.' Bob continues to make false statements. Person is unimpressed. $\endgroup$ – bukwyrm Mar 27 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ @bukwyrm it becomes impressive when you start making predictions about the future. $\endgroup$ – Muuski Mar 27 at 19:42
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He looks at the person and speaks: "You don't trust me".

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Over do it

Bob needs to say everything in an exaggerated fashion. "This is the tastiest sandwich I've ever eaten! This is the least comfortable chair--ever!" People will get used to this and discount his statements. But if he only exaggerates, they will trust the direction of the statements. It would be as if he said something milder, e.g. "Good sandwich." He will be regarded as loony rather than untrustworthy.

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NOTE: This answer assumes Bob cannot make people trust him simply by saying "You don't trust me".

It's very easy to get people to trust him. Simply announce in a loud voice the opposite of what you want and soon people will pick up that the opposite will happen. If you want people to notice faster do it in a casino.

It will take some time to fine-tune what to say, but this is essentially a wish granting power. You just have to phrase it a little weird.

Your friends will all want you to say things like

My company's value will go down

Or

It'll land on black

Or

Your marriage won't last

Several economic indicators are like this. Things like more stocks being issued (IPOs) and more credit being available happens before a stock market crash. People watch these and try to time the market (but rarely succeed).

The real curse is to say the truth but have no one believe you like Cassandra

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  • $\begingroup$ "In addition, this superpower is permanent and cannot be removed through anything he might say or any interaction with other superpowers that might exist." $\endgroup$ – Rob Watts Mar 26 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ But if the change is absolutely so subtle that no one can tell it is a change? Bob can not control how subtle the change IS, as i understand it. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Mar 26 at 21:39
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It is really simple.

Don't try to make them believe you. Always tell the lie that they won't believe to get them to realize the truth.

If your friend asks if you want to head out to dinner and you do, actually want to, say "no." Your friend will know that you can't tell the truth and know what you are saying.

Once enough people know about the power, everyone will know that he has to speak that way.

Also, he would be in high demand for anything that requires safety.

Any time he gets on an airplane, all he has to say is "this plane will not land safely."

He can be the benevolent doomsayer.

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  • $\begingroup$ But suppose Bob wanted to go out to dinner but not with that person? Or that he didn't want to go out to diner with that person, but did want to go out to dinner with someone else? $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Mar 26 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ @JustinThyme, "I want to go out to dinner with you." All it takes is a bit of creative logic. $\endgroup$ – ShadoCat Mar 26 at 21:49
  • $\begingroup$ Two parts, 'I want to go out to dinner' and ';with you'.Either can be 'falsified/ to make it 'false'.Compound statements are too ambiguous. But remember, if what Bob says is already 'false', it is not made 'true'. It does not have to be changed at all. It's only when he makes a true statement that something has to make that statement false. If Bob says 'you got 90 on the test' but you really got 99, nothing changes. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Mar 26 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ @JustinThyme Does the person asking that question need to know which is the case? If Bob wants to get more specific he can but it is not necessary to get the point across. In this case, Bob is not trying to change anything, he is just communicating in a meaningful way. That's what the OP was about. $\endgroup$ – ShadoCat Mar 26 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ I would argue that you're essentially redefining words; essentially making another language. If I say "no", but it means "yes" in my language, then because I lie all the time, I can't go out to lunch. Also "He can be the benevolent doomsayer." No one trusts doomsayers ... at all ... not even a little. $\endgroup$ – UKMonkey Mar 27 at 16:40
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In @KaspervandenBerg 's answer:

There are seconds during this week/month/year that you will not trust me a bit. --Bob

due to least resistance, you end up with people only trusting bob slightly more than a bit.

I propose this:

You trust me less than you trust everyone else.

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  • $\begingroup$ Path of least resistance: that person has a crisis of faith and becomes paranoid. $\endgroup$ – Wildcard Mar 26 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Wildcard Why would it be less resistance to alter this person's entire outlook on the world than to simply alter their opinion of one person? $\endgroup$ – Admiral Jota Mar 26 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ @AdmiralJota is it easier for you to make people trust you or not trust you? (A: not trust you.) Why do think the fabric of reality could establish trust any more easily? Just food for thought. $\endgroup$ – Wildcard Mar 26 at 21:28
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    $\begingroup$ This becomes a paradox, and nothing would happen. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Mar 26 at 21:29
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Bob can be a superhero and become rich really easy.

All he needs to do is to spread conspiracy theories.

Bob says the Earth is flat. The Earth assumes a spherical geometry. Had Bob not used his power, we would eventually be suffocated by the giant elephants' magical freezing farts which keep the frozen barrier st the rim in place, or we would eventually be smashed by the cosmic turtle's sexual partner.

Bob says aliens are abducting people and probing their cavities. Now the aliens can't do that - Bob is a one man X-com!

Bob says planes leave out chemtrails that are used for mind control. Now they don't anymore! Take that, Illuminatti!

And so on. The only conspiracy theories he can't defeat are vaccine and GMO related ones, because those can actually cause direct harm to people.

So most everyone from the average Joe to the eggheads of our time will not trust Bob, but that's not a problem. He will have the undisputed and unwavering trust and loyalty of basically every Infowars follower. He can even take over Alex Jones's place and make huge loads of cash that way.

Heck, Bob could even easily become the next republican president, and he would save the world from climate change by claiming that coal is cleaner than solar and wind power.

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    $\begingroup$ Republicans don't have a corner on the hot air market lol $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Mar 26 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ Again, it's the most subtle, so the Earth is Flat now results in the Earth becoming concave or convex, and the water flows to the lowest point, either drowning the Atlantic coast lines (assuming they are centered) or falling off the pacific edges. Aliens - As a logical AND this results in either aliens abudcting but not probing people or aliens probing people in back alley ambushes. Chemtrails now have the nefarious purpose of killing populations, rather than mind controlling them. Coal Cleaner than solar and wind eliminates clean production of solar panels and turbines, coal is dirty. $\endgroup$ – hszmv Mar 27 at 13:24
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Simple, there's a class of people that do similar all the time: Be a denialist speaker.

Many people will believe what's most convenient if it's said with authority and minimal requirement for thinking or action on their part. Just look at flat earthers, climate deniers, anti-vaxxers, and similar.

Just support wrong things with momentum, and everything suppporting that wrong thing will believe him.

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Couldn't Bob simply tell someone he meets like some girl he likes very much and after many different machinations and presumed falsehoods he'd say something like "You simply do not understand me" by accident? In that way someone actually WOULD understand Bob's superpower without being harmed? Then communication could be carried out albeit in a very curiously and perhaps very humorous way. Just a thought.

It would be interesting to have a scene of an argument between Joe and Bob perhaps... I don't know how you'd do it but it could amount to a superpower Abbot and Costello routine.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not necessarily. It would just make someone "not-so-simply" don't understand Bob. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Mar 26 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ The trick is he WANTS her to understand him, and him saying 'You don't understand me' would result in her understanding him, but her understanding of him does not necessarily have to conform to what he really is. It becomes cyclic. A non sequitur. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Mar 26 at 21:27
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He lies all the time. Even if says the truth, it changes to an untruth because he said it. So, the truth is something that is not a fact when he says it is. What he says is either a lie or about to be a lie. But he wants to build people’s trust. He begins by speaking only about the trifle things. It will be noticed that Bob’s lies do not touch anything that should be unchanged because the benefits of everyone who Bob wants to trust him depend on it. He learns to know what benefits people and stays away from mentioning those things. He must be very careful, for any of his statement can catch the fringes of the important and shift it. Other than that, he can speak lies as much as he wants. About the things that they have no idea of, for example. He earns people’s trust into a fact that he would never speak about the important things. What Bod is talking about is not important. They can take it to the bank. Once they think so, he can return and attack benefits. There is nothing important now, for he seems to speaks about everything. Either an unimportant thing is true or false does not make difference under a certain point. The only thing they know for sure that Bob would never speak about it if it would be of any importance. The only thing that is left true is Bob.

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    $\begingroup$ Or he lies all the time. In which case nothing changes. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Mar 27 at 3:19
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Bob says a variation of

"[Person's name] doesn't know about my inability to tell the truth"

Then his power will kick in and cause that person to know about Bob's power somehow. Bob can work out the exact phrasing with trial and error.

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  • $\begingroup$ Or the person drops dead. In which case it would be against the rules. So nothing happens. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Mar 27 at 3:17
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since the vast majority of statements have a direct negation, always speaking the thruth is the same as always telling a lie (as long as Bob is aware of this), it's exactly the same as the linked probles about Joe always saying the thruth, once both Bob and the people around him realize he is always lying, he can just invert what he thinks, say it, and other people can invert what he is saying once again, it becomes the same as if Joe was telling the truth without the 2 inversions.

You can trust Bob exatly the same as you trust Joe.

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(1) Bob always mutters, "Not", after every statement. He can disguise it as a cough or say it very, very quietly.

(2) Bob says, "From now on, I will sometimes tell a lie.

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A lot has been said about how to trust someone who always lies and that Bob could simply speak people trusting him into existence due to his powers. So I won't bother there.

I'm answering from the perspective that someone learns about his reality warping powers, not just his lies. (I'm assuming Bob doesn't remove the memory.) Essentially Bob is omnipotent. I don't think I can willingly trust someone who is omnipotent, because what does willingly even mean by that point? How could I ever be certain they aren't changing reality constantly for fun? How could I be certain any friendly act is not preceded by a long line of horrible acts they warped away?

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Bob will always be rich. "Fred, if you ask me tomorrow if I won the lottery, I won't give you a thousand dollars" Of course Fred will ask Bob. Bob will say "No, I didn't" and will give Fred a thousand dollars.

Bob will be easy to trust, as long as his friends understand his answers, and ask questions in such a way that there is only one false answer.

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Bob can just always under promise. If Bob knows it will take him three days to finish a task he can promise to have it done in a week. Since the outcome is better than promised he will have technically have not told the truth, but people will still be happy with the results. For other interactions, sarcasm, it's basically the art of saying false things and people still understanding the meaning.

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I am afraid things wouldn't go very well for Bob.

First of all, the superpower he has, would need to be sentient to decide what is "minimum" change of reality and to twist Bob's words so that something "minimal" occurs, when he expected a different change.

Since we generally know which objects we refer to, when we speak, it is only possible to be misunderstood by somebody else.

So, Bob's superpower would be in control of what happens.

And Bob would be simply demonically possessed. Hag-ridden if you will. Lacking free agency in regard to his power. He would have to invent all the ways described in other answers for achieving things, all the way checking back at his controller - is this OK?

I would think he'd go mad.

If, on the other hand, there is no sentience in his superpower, he is better of, but still just a single person.

Depending on his intelligence and prudence, he might be quite well off, but if he is not extremely cautious - does publicity stunts, enters some field of competition with high stakes - politics, for example, - he will draw attention, and among that attention he will be figured out well enough at some point that

Some people with a measure of power currently, will simply put him in a solitary cell, tape his mouth and visit him periodically, removing the tape for just as long as for him to say what they have written for him to say.

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    $\begingroup$ And the first time the tape is removed, Bob will say, “I am within your reach.” And then the abductor will no longer be able to replace the tape, and Bob will say, “you will see me again.” $\endgroup$ – WGroleau Mar 27 at 18:23
  • $\begingroup$ @WGroleau your imagination seems to misplace goons with guns trained on Bob's head. If Bob feels lucky, he can try, of course. I just wanted to stress that using his superpower will attract unwelcome attention and make his life quite hard. He will have to be on his toes add soon as enough people understand exactly what he has got. $\endgroup$ – Gnudiff Mar 27 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ :-) I guess it depends on how fast is the effect. Don't think they can shoot in the 300 ms it takes to say "Here I am." But if there's a delay … $\endgroup$ – WGroleau Mar 28 at 6:43
  • $\begingroup$ @WGroleau oh the possibilities for controlling Bob are endless, I was just naming the most obvious one. As long as he is coshed or otherwise made unable to speak during kidnapping, then it's fair game. Whatever it is that breaks human will, depending on the brutality of the kidnappers. $\endgroup$ – Gnudiff Mar 28 at 7:12

protected by James Mar 27 at 18:07

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