Monday, January 29, 2007

Honesty? Impossible - But Negotiable, Of Course

It seems obvious that nobody can ever be honest at all times. Nor can we be absolutely against stealing and killing. These are negotiable, as are many issues in life. Usually we are for honesty and against killing and stealing, but killing can earn us the highest medal for valour, and the morality of stealing certainly depends on the circumstances, while complete honesty as to a loved one's whereabouts may doom that person to death.

No hunter is ever entirely honest with his prey. No soldier will reveal everything to the enemy who is trying to kill him. No starving colonized native is going to be completely forthright with the European plantation owner who forces him from his ancestral lands. In fact, it is ridiculous to consider the question of honesty except in relation to the more fine-grained question: Honest with whom? This brings us immediately to matters of loyalty, and thus to herds and the herd instinct. We risk getting into the biology of competing organisms, and even of our own tissues, which can reject very slightly different ones, or mistakenly identify self as foreign.

Many religious positions deal with absolutes. Often these are based on unexamined premises, which, for Heaven's sake (pun intended), must be the soul of dishonesty. All too often such stances remind us of Alice and Humpty, and his dictum that what really matters is who is to be master. So once again the question of honesty gives way to defining the terms we use, and to defining our interests in a situation. Perhaps clarity can be brought to the whole issue of honesty by one attempt to define its opposite: "A lie is an untruth told to someone who deserves to hear the truth".

46 Comments:

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Rose said...

I like that definition of a "lie". It's not one I've heard before, but it's a good one. Generally, people do deserve to hear the truth, and if they don't, well, it's usually a better idea to lie than to tell them the truth.

I've had issues with the theology behind honesty, myself, and how the Bible acts as though we should always be honest, and that telling a lie is equal to hating the person we tell a lie to... but sometimes lies are necessary, as in situations you described in your entry, and it really just takes some good judgement to know when to lie and when to tell the truth. Most of the time, honesty IS the best policy.

 
At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Don,

I agree with you that honesty is a judgement call as well as a moral one. Honesty requires an active and conscious use of tact and skill to deliver the best quality--without losing sleep.

Perpetual lying can be a sign of someone who has lost control of his/her life or living in a delusional world. Getting caught in a lie can be embarassing if not trust destroying.

Maybe not disclosing information is safer than actual bald-faced lying--at least you can say you didn't "say that" to the person being hoodwinked.

tf

 
At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Caz said...

I'm always left a-pondering after reading your posts, Don. I've not thought of the truth as deserving before. And the more I ponder that concept - the truth, as deserving, as opposed to the lie, as deceiving - the more its truth resonates.

Life's too short to live, be, have, wear lies. And while truth doesn't always bring freedom, it does always bear liberty.

I'm off to consider further your succinct wisdom of today.

Blessings to you, kind sir.

C.

 
At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Dean said...

I would generalize the definition of "lie" even further: "A lie is an untruth told". Where a lie truly matters, however, is exactly as you said: "to someone who deserves to hear the truth".

 
At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Rick said...

Donald - I just ran across your blog and honestly, I love it! I truly enjoy reading your blog and wish you many many more years (so I can continue reading).

 
At 8:12 PM, Blogger DeAnna said...

I have to say a lie is a lie, whether the person deserves the truth or not. You may not choose to tell the truth all the time, but you shouldn't lie to yourself and pretend you're not lying :)

 
At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree in principle with your definition of a lie, but think that cognitive dissonance prevents most of us from consciously operating by that set of rules. We want so badly to see the world in black and white, and those gray areas make our gray matter very uncomfortable indeed. That's where biblical literalism comes from, right?

 
At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Steven Pam said...

Wow...

I have a feeling that's going to save me a lot of trouble.

Thanks!

 
At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Steve said...

Don,

First: Thank you for your blog. It's unique, refreshing and inspiring.

Second: A lie is a lie. Killing is killing. Stealing is stealing. The point you drive home is that it is not the act itself that is wrong or immoral. It's the premise under which it is undertaken. You approach this subject, risky though it is, and drive home the point VERY well.

Again, keep writing. I'll keep coming back.

 
At 12:31 AM, Anonymous Ook said...

Woooooo-hoooooooooo, Don!

Rock and roll!!

Best post yet. So much for worry of selling out your blog's inception.

Love it.

 
At 3:08 AM, Blogger sue beyer said...

just found your blog a few days ago and I am loving it!

 
At 6:50 AM, Blogger LaurieM said...

Barbara Coloroso, an excellent speaker and writer on the subject of teaching children, has come out on this subject as well, saying that we shouldn't teach children it is wrong to lie because in today's society, they may have to in order to maintain their safety. For example, if they are home alone, they should never say so when answering the phone.

What it comes down to is having the maturity to handle the complexity of context. I believe that the human race as species has perhaps evolved some of its members to the point where we don't need religious absolutes to guide our morals.

 
At 8:01 AM, Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Don, you have made a very valid point.
Honesty means different stuff for different people. Most bend it to suit themselves.

 
At 7:27 AM, Blogger THE Michael said...

Now ain't THAT the truth!

 
At 8:19 AM, Anonymous jg_netherlands said...

You are right but not totally clear I think. As most untruths are aswell :) I mean, there is a vagueness in your definition. "To deserve" is as vague as the original lie definition is, I think.

 
At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Don,

Beautiful definition of a 'Lie' ...how much better could it be defined. The fact that there are so many lies out there, it is still wrong...but at times, it is based on judgement...we call those 'White Lies'...

Found your blog thru a close relative, and I think it's great.

Take care...Donna

 
At 12:40 PM, Anonymous edu_brazil said...

Don, you might not be exactly the older blogger in the world, but you are surely one of its best, regardless of age! Don't worry about losing your style, just write as usual and as you feel like. I've just arrived and will spend some quality time reading every single posts and the next ones, from now on! Pity I can't retribute: my own blog will remain in Portuguese and that's non-negotiable. :-)

 
At 12:40 PM, Anonymous edu_brazil said...

"oldest", not "older". See what I mean? Let me stick to Portuguese! :-D

 
At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don,

Thank you for sharing your experience and ponderings. I have often wondered why western society scoffs at taking advice of previous generations (myself included), whereas many other cultures put great stock in the experience of older generations. Perhaps you could shed some light on this? I look forward to your next post.

DM

 
At 1:56 AM, Anonymous daveyboy said...

I'm 6'tall, and really good-looking.

 
At 3:08 AM, Blogger Jay said...

What about being honest \ lying to yourself? Do you think the same applies?

 
At 4:54 AM, Anonymous vhcfan (SWE) said...

I really liked this entry, I'll definitely come back to this blog. I like the style of your writing.
Have a great day!

 
At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Caroline Favero said...

Wow I found this blog at web yesterday and stayed fascinated with you.
Congratulations.


Sorry my english, I'm brazilian.


Stay with Lord

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger Emil Brikha said...

Sir, I read about your blog in a swedish magazine today and I became curious enough to check out your blog.

I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate what you are doing. You give people and the rest of the world a very unique point of view, which at the same time (I guess) is shared by every living person sooner or later.

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your blog... I'll start from the beginning.

Greetings, from Sweden.

 
At 9:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...this is the very best definition of a lie I have ever read...
Hope you don't mind...I would like to make it mine...

Thank you.

 
At 9:18 PM, Anonymous 76 year old thinker said...

m-m-m well er who decides if the someone "deserves to hear the truth"? The teller or recipient?
If someone asked me if i wanted to hear the truth I would definetly say yes (and hope I got it), because in my mind I deserve it. On the other hand if someone asked me to tell them the truth...who am I to decide if they are deserving?
The good judgement call sounds like the answer..but who's judgement?
Love your blog.

 
At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with you, Don. I think that there is always an honest and effective way that you can act in any situation. For example, when you say that telling someone a loved one’s whereabouts could doom them to death, you could easily tell that person that you can’t tell them. Same with the soldier-enemy situation, and the Native-European one.
Maybe if humans were perfect and could perfectly judge who deserves to hear the truth and who doesn’t, that explanation of a lie would make more sense. But humans are not perfect, and they're very biased, and what happens when, like in many situations, even the bystanders can’t tell who is deserving in a certain situation and who is not?
i agree that it is impossible for anyone to be honest all the time, but that doesn't make dishonesty right. they're humans flaws that make us lie, and we can't go on telling ourselves that we have the right to tell a lie, only according to our own judgement.

 
At 5:41 AM, Anonymous OnlinePharmacy said...

3Km3kp Your blog is great. Articles is interesting!

 
At 2:08 PM, Anonymous phentermine no prescirption no fees said...

6clEc4 Please write anything else!

 
At 3:20 PM, Anonymous personal stories with meridia said...

Wonderful blog.

 
At 3:45 PM, Anonymous classroom activity to teach c said...

Magnific!

 
At 3:21 PM, Anonymous name said...

Hello all!

 
At 4:10 PM, Anonymous caribbean teen tours said...

Please write anything else!

 
At 10:53 AM, Anonymous crowded house tour dates uk said...

Good job!

 
At 2:22 AM, Anonymous the rushville pharmacy said...

Wonderful blog.

 
At 5:36 AM, Anonymous ringtones said...

Magnific!

 
At 9:27 AM, Anonymous  said...

actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.

 
At 2:40 PM, Anonymous compare levitra viagra said...

YZTpuk Magnific!

 
At 3:08 PM, Anonymous free ringtones for a k said...

Wonderful blog.

 
At 10:37 AM, Anonymous beach resort said...

black mold exposureblack mold symptoms of exposurewrought iron garden gatesiron garden gates find them herefine thin hair hairstylessearch hair styles for fine thin hairnight vision binocularsbuy night vision binocularslipitor reactionslipitor allergic reactionsluxury beach resort in the philippines

afordable beach resorts in the philippineshomeopathy for eczema.baby eczema.save big with great mineral makeup bargainsmineral makeup wholesalersprodam iphone Apple prodam iphone prahacect iphone manualmanual for P 168 iphonefero 52 binocularsnight vision Fero 52 binocularsThe best night vision binoculars here

night vision binoculars bargainsfree photo albums computer programsfree software to make photo albumsfree tax formsprintable tax forms for free craftmatic air bedcraftmatic air bed adjustable info hereboyd air bedboyd night air bed lowest pricefind air beds in wisconsinbest air beds in wisconsincloud air beds

best cloud inflatable air bedssealy air beds portableportables air bedsrv luggage racksaluminum made rv luggage racksair bed raisedbest form raised air bedsaircraft support equipmentsbest support equipments for aircraftsbed air informercialsbest informercials bed airmattress sized air beds

bestair bed mattress antique doorknobsantique doorknob identification tipsdvd player troubleshootingtroubleshooting with the dvd playerflat panel television lcd vs plasmaflat panel lcd television versus plasma pic the bestThe causes of economic recessionwhat are the causes of economic recessionadjustable bed air foam The best bed air foam

hoof prints antique equestrian printsantique hoof prints equestrian printsBuy air bedadjustablebuy the best adjustable air bedsair beds canadian storesCanadian stores for air beds

migraine causemigraine treatments floridaflorida headache clinicdrying dessicantair drying dessicantdessicant air dryerpediatric asthmaasthma specialistasthma children specialistcarpet cleaning dallas txcarpet cleaners dallascarpet cleaning dallas

 
At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do they even have viruses on Mac's? That may sound stupid but I thought they didn't have any? [url=http://gordoarsnaui.com]santoramaa[/url]

 
At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Maximilian said...

On my part I actually ask you to my site since it is the resource with very nice things to study.Thanks a lot for info.
6 | 6 | 3

 
At 1:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the current economic personal economic wording, that pay day loans can be becoming a lot more preferred. And also this is certainly caused by because all these [url=http://instantcashloans4u.co.uk]instant cash loans[/url] fiscal loans help visitors to include unexpected fiscal emergencies. In the event you also ruin your day finances issues, comprehend to help think whether or not this type of personal loan symbolizes your best option for you [url=http://quickcash77.co.uk]quick cash sa[/url] or simply never. So as to take the best selection, you will want to determine several crucial particulars that always get on with any online payday loans on the net.

Any pay day loans throughout 60 minutes generally achieve a nice sum, which inturn isn't going to [url=http://quickcash77.co.uk]personal loans with low apr[/url] go above £1, 500. For this reason, do you want over £1, 500, it is best to most certainly think of a different loan product choice. Or, what you can do is usually to have this mortgage as well as access a bundle because of loved ones or perhaps friends. A different standard subject is normally the possibility that typically the fast payday loans are actually mortgaged for a special length, which unfortunately closes as soon as you'll get great take-home paycheck.

Likewise, it is quite imperative to recognise that should you not contain a continuous work, have the ability to have some of the pay day loan solutions. The scientific explanation for it is due to the fact you may not present a warranty, which usually in such cases should really be a restricted salary. So, in such cases, the bank won't say yes to you specially considering that he / she cannot be confident that the it is easy to recompense the particular mortgage. However, should you have a gradual job and the loan company approves you will utility, you will get [url=http://myfastloans.co.uk][source][/url] your money transported as part of your membership through with regards to 1 hour.

Other sorts of details that you should take into account could be the low rates of interest and extra premiums, an individual's credit rating and then the terms in the personal loan. By way of considering almost all these [url=http://cashloans-247.co.uk]cash loans[/url] elements, it is possible to figure out if thez attainable online payday loans on the internet are usually appropriate for most people or possibly possibly not.

 
At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of us tend to be undergoing payday loans credit debt in the states from the horrible market. With illnesses difficult on a daily basis, there are actually much more families suffering from deficiency of careers. A number of have got took on fast payday loans, which impose very great interest levels along with lead to some routine connected with unending consumer debt. There's lots of who want to learn the way to remove a payday advance loan, but have no clue your tips mandatory to take action. You must on-line to stop an online payday loan rapidly in order to avoid because of a lot more deficits due to home interest rates. This text will give a good step-by-step guideline to stop who online payday loan arrears.
Just how to reduce a quick payday loan Which has a
[url=http://kredytprzezinternet24.net.pl]kredyt przez internet[/url]

The 1st step that you need to require to receive out of online payday loan credit debt is certainly name a trained payday cash advance consolidator straight away. These lenders and even those people will have any proficiency had to discuss as your representative to achieve an important more affordable charge. A lot of payday loans banking institutions be aware that they often for no reason receive any of his or her cash back if he or she are usually not further lenient approximately apr. Now and again, the interest rates using a home loan are generally utterly cut when merely the leading mortgage loan is required to be reimbursed.
[url=http://chwilowkiprzezinternet.org.pl]kredyty bez zaświadczeń kraków[/url]

Those of you that currently have multiple payday cash loans to help you several corporations, it's an incredibly very important feature while it can reduce the consumer debt weight appreciably. More importantly, a online payday loan consolidator will often cover this home loan so that you can get started any merging for ones transaction for many years.
Eliminating a payday cash loan from Preserving
[url=http://szybkie-pozyczki.info.pl]http://szybkie-pozyczki.info.pl[/url]

The next step necessary step in eliminating online payday loan unsecured debt should be to implement a few dangerous introspective heart and soul browsing concerning your own private spending methods. There are various in why you might on online payday loan consumer debt, and yet too much wasting is most probably a tremendous cause to get anxiety. If you happen to eating at restaurants, no matter ways low-cost, anyone are most likely expending excessively. You need to understand how to get rid of an online payday loan, you ought to very first understand how to lower your costs.
[url=http://kredytprzezinternet24.net.pl]kredyt przez internet[/url]

You can use the by looking to typically the retailer in an effort to fill up your entire diet demands. Acquire solely the requirements, for example loaf of bread, ova, fresh fruits, and veg, and get away from other sugary sodas or snacks that might be destructive for one's funds. Using vouchers can even be a second strategy for spending less that can be used so that you can pay back that borrowing products more speedily.
[url=http://kredyt-na-dowod.org.pl]kredyt-na-dowod.org.pl[/url]

Last but not least, attempt to reduce out many of the entertainment for you to spend money on through the entire calendar month. It could result in an individual discontinue drinking alcohol, keep away from cinemas, and all other sort of joy this really is costing you actually funds. It truly is time for it to get surrender to receive your current cash advance loan credit card debt covered right away.
[url=http://pozyczkagotowkowa24.net.pl]szybkie kredyty i pożyczki[/url]

 
At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://cialisesprecio.net|cialis precio farmacia Interestingly, generic Viagra is that medication bore which can hands down be bought; one needs not medicine to buy off it. It is the excellent nostrum to healing impotence. You will be unquestionably brisk to say Viagra also available in 100mg tablet. It has on the go

 
At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Music For DJ House Techno Trance Hardstyle -
Music for Dance - Best Club Music
http://2013.0daymusic.org/
www.uploaded.lt
www.0daymusic.eu
www.0dayvinyls.org
www.filestube.eu
www.filestube.lt
www.mediafire.lt
www.oron.cz
www.oron.dk
www.oron.ee
www.oron.lt
www.oron.se
www.0daymusic.org

 

Post a Comment

<< Home