Equivalent is not the same as being equal


Logically this equasion appears to be correct but it is in fact wrong – 5×4 is equivalent to 20 not 5+5+5+5.

To come up with the wrong answer required the application of simple logic – question (before the equal sign) and therefore the answer is (after the equal sign).  Except it isn’t.  It may be said that the brain worked too fast because it already calculated the sum of 5+5+5+5 and presented 20 as the answer even though the calculation is not the question being asked.  To derive the correct answer one must begin by looking at semantics.  Yes, Right and Wrong really does boil down to splitting hairs over the definition of certain words.  Equal is defined as, “being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value.”  Whereas equivalent is defined as, “equal in value, amount, function, or meaning.”

5 copies of 4 may well be equal to but not necessarily equivalent to 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 and 4 copies of 5 might be the same but in reality could represent something completely different.  For example, 4 bunches of 5 bananas is different from 5 bunches of 4 bananas even though they total to the same number.

Liars tirelessly argue the slightest difference in the meaning of words, cloaking the bigger picture by tying us up in detail, using the minutiae of semantics as the basis for legitimising their version of reality.  Most sane people know that the remorseless drip, drip, drip of semantics can only lead straight up the backside of a nervous breakdown.

Music: Equalize by Pitty (+ info)


SwellWebSiteWidget(C) Rivenrod 2015

Subtle manipulation of reality: reminiscences

DustyCornerExtract from Swell by Rivenrod, page 22
“And what of his treasure, his prized flotsam, objects he has rescued by chance, old things people have thrown away or misplaced? His hut is crammed full of them – nuts and bolts, hubcaps and tin boxes – but what is it about this stuff that so appeals to him? It’s unlikely any one of those items is a memento of a special occasion or to help recall the foibles and fancies of someone dearly departed because, if only for the one reason, there are far too many of them. A clue to his purpose might lie in us knowing he went to no particular trouble choosing them, in fact he did not choose them at all, not those specific things. But rather like the discarded newspaper he collects every night, it feels to him more that they choose him and so, as far as he is concerned, the perfume bottles and hubcaps could just as easily be bird’s eggs and bubblegum wrappers. What can be explained about his various collections, or treasures as he prefers to think of them, is that he actually needs things – any type of thing – to assign certain stories and reminiscences to, whether real or imagined, and those particular things just happened to be around at the time. Of course, if that were the case, he could change what they mean to him at any time if he wanted.” [more]

Music: “Pretending” by Eric Clapton   Picture: “Dusty corner” by Gilbert & George 1975 (+ info)
SwellWebSiteWidget(C) Rivenrod 2015

To lie or not to lie


When is it morally appropriate and even acceptable to lie?  The world’s leading philosophers give their opinion on the morality of your responses in this simple test.

Take the test





Music: Mother of lies by JD McPherson (+ info)    Picture: “Eye” by Marko Popadic (+ info)


SwellWebSiteWidget(C) Rivenrod 2015

Not what it appears to be

AliGulecGramophoneOver the next few weeks I want to explore aspects of lying – the art of deception, illusion, delusion, the manipulation of reality, the science of mendacity, things that are not as wonderful or as sinister as they appear.

Come, lie with me.




Music: The Sweetest Truth by Stereo MCs (+ info)   Picture: “Gramophone” by Ali Gulec (+ info)


SwellWebSiteWidget(C) Rivenrod 2015

He came of age at a time of war [An exclusive extract from Rivenrod’s new book, Swell]

He came of age at a time of war.

She wore a blazing smile, a blood-red gash against chiselled white teeth, and yet when they bade farewell mother and son had not touched or kissed but waved politely. He never looked back as he marched away awkwardly wooden in his stiffly pressed uniform and his suitcase, stuffed to bursting, gripped tightly at his side.

He thought of her constantly during endless nights swaying sleepless in the belly of the steaming ship, his skin slippery with sweat. Continue reading

Pants on fire

CautionThis video contains images of flashing thighs, goofy grins and weird steppy dancing.

I was brought up to believe that it’s OK to lie so long as it makes someone feel better or it’s funny.  My grandad was the biggest liar I’ve known.

So who is the biggest liar in modern times?  Bernie Madoff, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Lance Armstrong, Jimmy Savile . . . nominations please.



(C) Rivenrod 2015

Subtle manipulation of reality: Part 2

CocaCola2022As well as politicians, Advertisers too are always good for a bit of truth twisting.  They are at least complicit in the big lies.

Greed is good: Coke’s the Sweet Thing (and ethical too!): banks really do help you Loan Your Own Home: no-one died stitching sweat-shop shirts: Nestlé truly is the Nutrition, Health and Wells company that never steals anyone’s water: Utterly But-plasticky really does taste like butter despite being only a molecule away from a plastic door knob . . .

A recent advertising campaign for a major global, tax evading, fast food charnel house shows a child of about ten years old being scolded by his mum and dad for splashing through puddles in the great outdoors, jumping around on a bed and climbing trees.  He’s told off for doing anything remotely healthy, mind expanding and child-like.  Though the lad is obviously a tad grumpy, he nevertheless complies with his parent’s wishes because he knows which side his bread’s buttered.  In the meantime, his doting parents reward their monumentally sycophantic offspring by taking him to a fast food joint where they watch him stuff his face with chemically modified, biologically androgynous, big fat juicy MacDonald’s burgers.  Mum and Dad, smiling sickly, congratulate themselves, and join in a chorus of “that’s my boy”.

Coronary Heart Disease has become the biggest killer in the western world the scale of which, despite 21st Century advances in medicine, is without historical precedent. And that’s no lie.



 (C) Rivenrod 2015