Posts Tagged Honesty
1: An Introduction
Let’s talk about honesty.
Why is a good person honest?
Because a part of what goodness means, is to care about others.
If you care about other people, you’re honest with them.
Honesty shows respect.
2: Introducing someone who doesn’t like you
The degree to which someone lies to you is proportional to their disdain.
If they truly felt you were important they’d tell you the truth.
If you matter to them, they’ll know the truth matters to you.
But you don’t matter to a liar.
That’s why they’re happy to go on lying.
Narcissism, self-interest and indifference is the world liars occupy.
It’s the very air that they breathe.
3: The moral context
Honesty is a moral imperative.
Morality tells us to nurture those around us, to care for them.
You cannot nurture someone by lying to them.
In fact, the very opposite is true. Lies undermine and disempower. Lies weaken those who are lied to. That’s why the powerful lie. It reinforces their power.
Even ‘lying to protect’ patronises. It implies you know better than the person you’re lying to. It implies your superiority; their inferiority.
Yet morality tells us that in ourselves, as individuals, we are all equal.
Our actions, not our attributes, determine our moral worth.
We are equal whatever our ethnicity, origins, class or education.
Being honest with others recognises that equality.
It says, “You are as deserving of the truth as me.”
5: Facts = Power
It places the full facts at your disposal and allows you to base your decisions and actions on these facts.
Facts make us strong.
Look at our technology, our incredible industrial society – all powered by fact.
Look at our engineering, our medicine, our science.
Look at the machines we build.
None of this would have been possible without facts, without honesty, without truth.
Engines don’t run on lies.
6: A flourishing human being
To be genuine with people, to be honest with them, is a signpost of morality.
Who would consider a liar a flourishing human being? Who would think them moral?
Who would want their closest friends to be liars? Or their partner? Or their child?
A person’s honesty is what we all admire, not their snake-in-the-grass deceits.
7: The truth will set you free
Being honest with others encourages honesty in return. It encourages an environment of clear-sightedness in which we can exercise our powers of thought and decision-making to the full.
Honesty is something to which we should all aspire.
Honesty fuels integrity.
Honesty sets us free.
See also the previous article in this series: A short conversation about lying.
For a detailed discussion of the parallel topics of propaganda and lies, see Ethical Intelligence by Luke Andreski:
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