Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Honesty, while always having been considered one of the virtues, I believe is grossly undervalued. It is the lifeline between two human beings. In the wider world it is the act of opening a door for diplomacy and understanding – but why? Honesty is an admission of fearlessness. The person who is free enough to be honest is one who has no fear of judgment, ridicule, or retribution. It definitely takes courage to be honest. I do not, here, want to simply defend the virtue of honesty: I want to show the advantages of it.
Robert Frost, in his poem Revelation, says “we make ourselves a place apart behind light words that tease and float, but oh the agitated heart till someone really finds us out.” Why is this? If we live our lives behind masks we are safe from the shame of our past, right? That’s the key. All of our presents and futures we feel are inhibited by our past.

How someone views us in a moment then is contingent on where we’ve been. If they don’t see then they don’t know. If they don’t know we do not have to worry about being denied. After all is not this at the heart of life. We interact with others because we want them as a part of our lives whether it is strangers on a bus or two lovers melting into one. However, we have this preconceived notion that if others find these secrets out then they will leave us. Insecurity and security are both why we lie: Insecurity for fear of abandonment and security because we have faith that our lies will save us the pain. How then shall we live?

When someone is honest with another person, a rarity in our world, the other person is left with two options: a) become abashed and confirm the fears outlined above or b) love. Complete understanding, if it is even possible, has only one logical conclusion – love. No one, when he understands why someone has done this or that, can hate for it is there that he empathizes. Therefore, it is naught but our own pride that keeps us lying. True humanity, true communion, knows no fear for it finds its completion in love. Without fear we stand naked to our neighbor; with honesty we trust them not to laugh.

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