Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Honestly Don't Understand

Honesty is good. Honesty is true. Honesty is a virtue worth having. But the problem is most people cannot handle complete honesty. People do not want you to be honest with them. Honesty is not the best policy. Well, not complete honesty anyway.

Now I am not talking about honesty of opinion. When it comes to being honest about our own opinions of things, very often we must use tact and employ consideration about the feelings of those on the receiving end of our opinion(s)so that our opinion is taken as an opinion and not some ad hominem attack. The classic question from a wife to her husband, ‘Does this dress make my butt look fat?’ is an example of what I mean about honestly giving one’s opinion and using tact and discretion while doing so.

Do not be confused when it comes to “the truth.” People deal with partial truths every day and still claim to be “honest”. The government does this all the time. Think about the so-called Truth-In-Advertising laws. These laws specifically permit partial “truths” (lies) to be used in ad campaigns. As a newly minted diabetic I found out that “sugar-free” does not mean the product is free of sweeteners that can be bad for a diabetic.

Even when people are given the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth most people are inclined to add layers of supposition, conjecture and outright distortion on top of the truth to come up with a conclusion well tailored to their own prejudices. It is now approaching five years since I became the center of a situation, not of my choosing, that has affected many people close to me and others who no longer are. I determined at the very onset that I would be completely honest and truthful about the day-to-day circumstances and also about the consultations I had with various professionals trying to help me through my situation. And still many people around me came to very wrong, very destructive conclusions. Often times denying what was true and conjuring up their own separate “truths”.

I truly do not understand how this can be so. How does a person sit in a pool of water and say he is not wet? What makes a person run from honesty, or pare it down to a form that fits inside their comfort zone? What is so attractive about living in denial? I want my two daughters to understand that in life they will face decisions - they can choose to hide behind lies and obfuscations, or they can choose to rely on truth and honesty and come out better for having done so. Honesty and truth are not always pleasant. But surely it is more unpleasant to live inside a world that is full not with the reality that honesty provides but instead inflated only with the vapor of denial.

1 comment:

James J. Benoit said...

Hi Auguste, I'm trying to log-in but being relatively web ignorant, I'm not sure how. Besides that when I first activated the log-in proceedure it was all in Italiano and i had to translate to english to get started. I'd really like to share my feeling about what i think Walter cronkite REALLY did to this country, here On Sherman's march. Would you please contact me at Thanks Dom, er Auguste!

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