I can’t really tell. It was a simple question where almost no one replied that lies hurt. I’ll try to rephrase if I’m doing a research like that again but the point was to see how people react to this question. Some of them answered from a personal point of view while others were more philosophical.
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I’ve been reading a lot of these posts here and elsewhere, watching people get acclamations for honesty or just chewed up and spat out, and I just want to know what your immediate reaction is. If you could just answer yes or no then maybe someone else can start a discussion on why it is overrated or why it’s not overrated, but here on this discussion I would just like your knee-jerk reaction, from as many people as possible.
Please think as openly as possible – from cheating on a paper, lying about drug use, having an affair, taking a stapler home from the office…to government policy and climate change.
Is honesty overrated?
It depends. Using your examples:
-Cheating on a paper? Totally ok in my book. Most likely it’s just something you need to do to get through a course to get to something else. If it’s really important knowledge, then you’re only cheating yourself and no one should take offense.
-Lying about drug use? It depends. To authorities who could punish you? Absolutely ok, especially since I don’t believe drug use is something they should be able to punish me for. If it is wrong to lie, then they are wrong for creating a situation where it is to my advantage to lie since I disagree with their belief to impose their will on me. To family members? I suppose so, simply because it avoids an argument and causes them less stress to lie than to tell the truth. I bear my family no ill will, but we have differences in opinion on drugs. In that case, I would call it a white lie, where the truth does more damage than the lie.
-Taking a stapler? Totally ok once again, if you’re working for someone else then they’re probably not paying you what you’re worth so that they can have a bigger piece of the pie themselves. If anything, you owe yourself to steal from work if you can.
But as for government policy and climate change, I would say no, since they are things that have the ability to affect the whole planet. In those cases I’d say the truth is best. Also with an affair, it would be best to tell the truth because I feel it is wrong to string someone along like that, and I would hate for someone to do that to me. For the most part, I would say honesty is a virtue, except in matters of self-preservation and white lies.
i guess its ‘cool’ to say it is and all, but no, it is in no way overrated…
in hindu mythology, Krishna (that awesome, youthful, wise, and flirty rockstar of a god :)) advices dishonesty in certain cases (10 i think). like when it comes to saving another’s life… i dont remember the other situations, :P
but honesty FTW, i say!
oh yeah guys, if you want to really see the beauty of following truth in your life, and its beautiful i tell ya, read Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography ‘the story of my experiments with truth’…
probably change your life.
i read the first few chapters and i was affected.
vishnu do you mind further explaining this ?
both you n skafish bring this up
get this (hopefully this makes sense)
question ->answer->a lie or the truth->justification for prev choice.
1 2 3 4
any subdividing after 3 , and we loose objectivity.
I would still love to hear the hindu take on this.
yess ghandis’(nice) sounds very intresting, soo many things soo little time
question ->answer->a lie or the truth->justification for prev choice.
sorry, i did not understand what you meant by that… but are you asking — if someone asks you a question, do u answer with a lie or the truth? thats probably not what you’re asking…
what are you asking!?
haha yess ofcourse,
the instant we justify our reason to lie we are in the land of moral subjectivity….
but i still wouldn’t mind hearing the hinhuism behind this.
the thing everything is subjective when it comes to morals, but now if we can create some artificial objective view: using the intersections of individuals’ subjective. One day ethic might prevail.
@praneeth, i’ll get back to you shortly with the hinduism take on this
and @praneeth and @lisa, ok to put it very simply, i think we are all talking about being honest to ourselves… if you think about it, moral subjectivity is nothing but that.
so, in SkaFish’s exaMple of being questioned about drug use by authorities… its cool to lie to them cuz we are asking ourselves, “according to me, this guy trying to punish me, on doing what i think is right, is right?? ” and the answer is no. he’s wrong in the first place. so we are being honest to ourselves, and dishonest to the authority…
does that make sense? (pleasedo pleasedo)
as someone who used to lie and misrepresent myself a lot and has totally turned that around, honesty allows me to live a very simple life, without any pretense. everybody in my life knows where I stand and accepts me for who I am today. I never have to “fake” anything. in fact, when I started being honest it really helped me grow, because I was setting much higher standards for myself, raising my expectations for my own behavior.
as skafish illustrates above, lying and cheating are actions people use to cover weaknesses, compensate for making bad choices, and avoid changing.
Life certainly does get a lot simpler when you aren’t wearing masks or trying to remember what you said to who and whether it matches up to what you told someone who might possible talk to lie-ee A.
It can avoid some discomfort in the short term but often causes more stress than necessary. There are some things you just want to keep to yourself (e.g. “You are quite ugly.”) but you make things easier for everyone when you’re just upfront.
I really think people would be a lot better off if we just stopped lying to each other–lies lead to misunderstandings, which can quickly escalate to hatred and war.
…kind of on the topic, has anyone seen, ‘The Invention of Lying’? Check that out to see what a world of all-truth would be like…lol
No. Lying to yourself is bad enough. I don’t know why people lie to others.. I’m also reading Plato’s The Republic right now. The first book was really good about the just vs the unjust. His arguments always lead the just to be the “winners” in life, and the unjust the “losers”. I have always been honest before I read it though. Of course everyone will lie to themselves or others every once in a while, we’re human! But everytime you do it just realize it and think, “Ok, I’m not going to lie again for a while” just so habits don’t start.
‘If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.’
I think many white lies are fine. I used to know a guy who was just a right dick to people but used the excuse ‘I’m just being honest.’ e.g. We went to see a play, and at the end of it, he told one of the cast that he thought all his characters were annoying as hell and it was a piss-poor performance. What does anyone gain from this? Shit like that is completely anti-karma, and I think encouragement is at least as important as honesty.
Optimism craps all over realism.
I am an honest person, but I think sometimes we have to lie. I am going to be honest 90% of the time, unless it will fuck up my life. What I mean by fuck up my life if I am honest, lets say you have weed on you, I am going to lie about having it on me if I get pulled over. I don’t think that is the same as lying to someone about there partner cheating on them, or lying so you can have personal gain.
Well, I have troubles with a lot of people for telling them the truth. I just can’t stand ass-kissers. And I had a tiny trouble with the law for telling the truth in someone’s face in front of an audience. It’s always fun to see how other people lie and then it comes back to them. I don’t know why they do it. It never ends well. I’m talking about big lies. Small lies are for everyone. Silence is dishonesty. Two months ago I made an experiment. I wanted to know the opinions of at least 50(they might have been 200. I stopped counting when I saw the major result) people that I chose randomly. My question was: “Which hurts more – The truth or that someone lied to you?” The majority answered the truth. I’d like to do the experiment again but on a bigger scale. I’m not sure if they answered adequately but I was amazed… Most of the people want to hide from themselves.
Sasho, very interesting findings. I think that may be a big problem with many, many people today. They are scared of the truth and don’t have the ‘balls’ (excuse my french) to face it, like they know they should. They keep running from it until it becomes a habit of their ego. Then it just becomes the norm.
Running from the truth may make you feel safe for the time being, but in the end you’re always running. If you just face it in the first place you can nip it in the bud and deal with it from the get go. Then it’s out of the picture after that. Once this becomes a habit, you learn to deal with your problems instead of constantly trying to escape from them. Every problem has a solution.