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I'm reminded of something Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: "truth that is not spoken in love becomes a lie." Truth, in the meaningful human sense, is bigger than whether something is factual or an accurate depiction of your feelings at the moment. I think the latter is really what is being discussed here, and that's not really what honesty is about so much. As an earlier commenter noted that kind of "truth" without grace can simply be cruelty. There was an interesting story on NPR (http://www.npr.org/2012/05/01/151764534/psychology-of-fraud-why-good-people-do-bad-things?ps=cprs) the other day about how people end up committing fraud. Often it's in the service of what they perceive to be helping others—cutting people more slack than they should with rules, fudging results to help a friend or family member, etc. No one ever starts by saying "I'm going to be a liar today." It's easier to lie in that circumstance than to hold on to some abstract principle like "loans should only be given to worthy people" and "lower emissions will save the environment." Everyone imagines he or she has altruistic or "good" reasons to be dishonest, but it's exactly that sort of untruthfulness, practiced on a mass scale, that ends up wrecking economies and polluting the earth. So you don't have to always say exactly what's on your mind. But honesty can mean looking "mean" and "hurtful" sometimes.
Commented May 2, 2012 on
Trust Me, I'm Lying
Trust Me, I'm Lying
We reflexively instruct our children to always tell the truth. It's even encoded into Boy Scout Law. It's what adults do, isn't it? But do we? Isn't telling the truth too much and too often a bad life strategy – perhaps even dangerous? Is telling children to always tell the truth even itself th...
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