The Cost of Honesty

Pile of labels lie and truth

How do we reconcile compromises in our principles for the sake of an easy life or maintaining relationships? Where should we draw the line and where should we rub bits out and redraw them to accommodate others?

How many small incremental allowances does it take before the gap between who we intend to be and who we accept being is too wide to bridge with wordplay and justification,  that we actually need to re-evaluate who we are in reality?

I decided not to sugar-coat my reply to a particular question today. It didn’t go down well. It wasn’t just a point of principle, and while I fully understood that the truth would be difficult to hear, I genuinely saw no benefit in lying about my position on something.

Sure, there would have been temporal benefits; a few less hurt feelings for example, but this wasn’t an ill-considered or reactionary response, I was very careful to explain the reasons why I couldn’t agree to the request, and at pains to balance that with what I could agree to.

Sometimes the ability to understand someone else’s position is clouded by inner emotional responses and I get that, but that doesn’t mean we should put on a mask with a smiley face when everyone knows it is just that, a mask.

There is enough fake news to deal with these days. No one needs to be adding to it, so I won’t. 


PS. On the subject of lying, white lies, or general circumventing of the truth, I thoroughly recommend the short book / essay by Sam Harris: ‘Lying‘. As usual he is incredibly considered, and exposes the topic to almost a surgical level of analysis.

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