The colorful wolf

July 4, 2008

Absolute honesty

Filed under: Thoughts — randy @ 0:40
Tags: , ,

I believe in the power of honesty as if I was religious. I believe that honesty could solve all the world’s problems and honesty could make the world a better place. If people could just say what they feel the world could be a wonderful world indeed.

But it can’t be, of course. Let me first explain what I consider to be ‘absolute honesty’. To me it doesn’t simply mean that a person never tells a lie in his whole life. Or that he always has to tell the truth. What it does mean, is that half-truths are considered lies, and that when you are faced with the option to either tell an uncomfortable truth or tell a lie, you will be able to say that you do not want to tell the truth. Which is not a lie. Admittedly, this is withholding information, which in my opinion is also quite bad and should be avoided, but at least it’s one step closer to absolute honesty. I don’t think we will ever achieve absolute honesty because society makes it too profitable to lie.

Half-truths are so terrible. Telling your boss that you were working late yesterday, but not telling him that you were watching tv at work all the time. That is a half-truth. A convenient statement that is interpreted and extrapolated by the other party until it fits their liking. You don’t have to lie, because your opponents mind will finish the lie for you. And then it’s not really a lie, is it? Yes, it is. I am guilty of telling half-truths a lot to avoid awkward situations when people I don’t care about ask me about something that I think they have no right to know about. So I imply something and let them finish the story in their minds. But I don’t do that for my friends. I am completely honest to my closest friends, as I’m sure they all know. I strive to be more honest. It’s probably my only goal in lif >_<‘

My concept of ‘absolute honesty’ involves more than that, of course. There is no beating around the bush. No psychological tricks. Talk straight and simple. Don’t say things like ‘I think some people would really like it if you come to this party’. Instead, just say the truth: that you want someone to come because you really like him/her and enjoy talking to him. It’s not that hard, is it? Obviously it is, because no one is doing it. Social standards revolve around revolving around things. We don’t say things directly because it might hurt people. The flipside to my example is that someone will tell you ‘No, we don’t want you to came cause we think you’re boring and you’ll ruin our party’. Hm, this sounds kind of rude, I wonder if we can say that. Wait, yes we can! But only if everybody can say it. Alas, social standing influences a lot of these remarks, and the socially inferior usually accepts this kind of bad remarks, or has to put up with the socially superior because he cannot properly reject them. As an example of this, think of a party being organized by someone who is unable to refuse the popular kid who wants to come, simply because he is afraid of saying no to him. Social standing is a great block to overcome for absolute honesty.

Communication. One of the most important skills of all. What is the point of absolute honesty if you are unable to convey it to other people? Or what if there is no communication at all? No lies are being told, but no truths either. It doesn’t hurt to confront people with what you think about them sometimes, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to accept other peoples’ opinions about you. Quite the contrary: other people can probably teach you more about yourself than you know. That is why I often try to see my own life from a third person’s point of view, and I wonder how he would think about my life. This way I am able to learn a bit about myself and about him or her.

That brings me to a situation that interest me. A situation where a good friend that you know very well is talking about something with someone else, but he is not actually saying what he is thinking at all. And I am able to realize that because I know enough about him to realize that he’s lying, or otherwise trying to manipulate the person he’s talking to, either consciously or subconsciously. It’s an interesting thing to witness as an observer, and it shows you something about the different faces that people have. I am not in any way trying to be negative about this; in fact, I think it’s quite normal. I do dislike people that pretend to have only one face to everyone, or people who really push themselves to be someone they’re not. But generally speaking, I think everyone has many faces, and as long as they are aware of it this aspect it does not pose a problem for my absolute honesty proposal.

But why then? Why do we need absolute honesty? In all honesty (…), I don’t even know if we do really need it. I know I need it though. It helps me to understand myself and it helps me to understand other people. It simplifies social life for me and I can be more happy with myself if I am honest. That is my personal motivation. The event that triggered this sudden writing streak made me think about myself and my situation, and being honest with myself allows me to be happy with myself, no matter what the situation. It helps disspel illusions and dreams about the past, and it opens up possibilities. It makes me think about all the people I’ve met and how they’ve treated me, and I wonder if I am happy with myself, and if my life couldn’t have been better if I had made other choices. But my inner beliefs force me to look to the here and now. If I am happy with myself now, I have to accept that all the events of my life were leading me to this moment, and it is thanks to those events and my own choices that I am happy right now. Or on the contrary, because I am happy right now, I can be happy about my past choices as well.  I don’t know which is the cause and which is the effect, but that’s not really important. What’s important is that I am happy, and I make no illusions about myself. I know where I stand in life. And it’s up to me to decide where to go from here…

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