Feb 27, 2012

32 Contemplating the meaning of honesty

I have been thinking about honesty, what it means and how we integrate its ethos into our lives.

Honesty, it is often required, in some circumstances demanded but seemingly seldom practiced in its totality. I dare say that to find someone that is 100% honest 100% of the time is a virtual impossibility.

Some may say “virtual impossibility” is a pessimistic term however I say, “Not really.” I like to think of it as a pragmatist perspective. Shall I walk you through my reasoning?

The American heritage dictionary (AHD)  defines Honesty as the quality or condition of being honest; integrity, truthfulness and sincerity.

AMD’s definition is essentially supported by Wikipedia that extends its meaning by declaring that honesty is the human quality of communicating and acting truthfully related to truth as a value, including listening, and any action in the human repertoire — as well as speaking. It goes further with a synapses of superficial honesty—stating facts and views as best one truly believes them to be.

The statement “stating facts and views as best one truly believes them to be,” is where it gets sticky for me because it means its all subjective and prone to human self-deception and flawed reasoning to fill specific agendas. Which brings me back to my point of the virtual impossibility of finding someone that is 100% honest 100% of the time.  Key words “virtual impossibility.”  Are you with me thus far? No? Have I lost you? Ok….

Example:

Most people consider their selves to be honest yet they would lie to take a day off work, make up excuses why they are late or fail to show up for an event, why they don’t want to spend time with a particular friend, family member or co-worker and justify it by categorizing it as harmless. The old, “what you don’t know won’t hurt you,” theory. These I call the unconscious conscious lie. Why because most people don’t really factor it into their honesty barometer, there moral ethos if you will.

But the fact is, a lie, is a lie, is a lie, is a lie no matter how sweet it is told, how well it is sold, how pretty its wrapping or woven in a story or how high its slung. No matter how you well it is framed, how valid the rime or reason its still a lie and remains so even when we designate it safe or otherwise.

A vast majority of society have become so desensitized to lies  and lying due the same self-deluded selectiveness about what constitute a lie that now there seems to be this line of ratio factoring lies.

Ration Factoring of Lies:

  • White lies, i.e. “supposed” harmless lies—the lies told to spear someone’s feelings”
  • The somewhat acceptable lie—the lie told to get out of a commitment”
  • The tolerable lie—“it will do in a pinch as long as you don’t have to face the person”
  • The lies by omissions, “if you don’t say it, its not lying”
  • The, oh my “God” unacceptable lie. “you feel manipulated”
  • To the absolutely no forgiveness blasphemous lie--“you feel betrayed and violated”

Where this needle stops dependent upon and relative to people’s value systems and ethos for it is all subject to human selectiveness and that’s a problem.

Now I am not here standing on any holier than thou pulpit casting aspersions on any particular person, persons, because even in saying all that I have said I realize that I am subject to the very same things to which I speak. After all I am perfectly imperfect and humanly flawed.

My point….

A lie

Is a lie,

Is a lie,

Is a lie,

Is a lie,

Whether it is big or small,

Harmful or harmless

It is still a LIE

and one needs to be conscious when one tells it,

and accountable when one is calls on it to suit their agenda.

Why you ask….

Well, take this example for instance, a dog is a dog, is a dog and it doesn’t become a cat simply because one wishes it to be. The same premise holds true for lies.  They still remain lies even if we feel justified in weaving them.

What are your thoughts on lying?

 

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