Honesty is always the best policy, and it is always possible to be honest in a way that is a contribution to the listener(s).
Some people use honesty as an excuse to be less than a compassionate contributor - it is not.
People's feelings are never directly related to the facts of any situation, they are related to the framework of interpretation of those facts (the meaning we give them).
The art of honesty is creating a context (framework) in which the listener experiences both the facts, and that they are loved, honoured and respected. In such a context - anyone can deal with anything - to think anything else is to not think very highly of their abilities.
about 3 hours later
Having read Starlight's response, I think I need to add some to this.
When we be honest, that honesty must contain the uncertainty that is inherent in all belief.
It is not an honesty that is “absolute truth”, rather an honesty of belief held with conviction, while also being open to new information, new interpretations and new contexts.
Honesty in this sense has little or no relationship to the notion of “truth”.
Honesty acknowledges the aspect of belief, and the eternal search for “truth” (whatever that may be).
That, at least, is my honest belief, if not “the truth”.
about 3 hours later
So honesty is how I see things and express what I see without denying any aspect of them….not necessarily how those things actually are?
That makes sense.
about 4 hours later
Ted - this is a great post. Thank you!
about 5 hours later
Ted, that clears up a thing or two for me. Honesty is a personal thing. While the hat may not be truly hideous, in my honest opinion, it has no business sitting on any one's head, much less the head of a friend. The friend who doesn't have any better sense than to ask me what I think of it.
about 6 hours later
Ted, I'm surprised to hear you say that honesty is an art! Sounds like manipulation to me! When you do your work and research, do you do it artfully, or state the facts? Now please don't respond with an artistic reply.LOL
about 13 hours later
To my understanding there are three distinct and key aspects to the “art” of honesty.
The first is developing one's awareness of one's own understanding. Developing distinctions between the “what happened” of life and the “meaning” we have added to it. This can be further broken down into the depth and models of interpretation and association that we use, and studying the limits and quirks of our perceptual systems and the data they deliver to brain (and enhancing those with tools where required).
The second aspect of the “art” is developing an awareness of and compassion for one's “listeners”. If one is to be responsible for communication, then one must make one's best efforts to understand how that communication is going to be received and interpreted by the listener. It is not sufficient simply to “say it how you see it” without also being responsible for how your words and actions are going to be received and interpreted by the listener.
[And yes - we cannot know that perfectly and everyone is responsible for their own choices and interpretations - that is part of what I mean by an art - it is an imperfect two way process.]
The third part of the “Art” is choosing language, actions and context that are most likely to cause “a concept in one mind to be replicated in another mind” (communication), and bringing those into being.
If you, or anyone else, believes you have all three of those aspects down to a hard science, then I might be persuaded to co-sign your committal papers ;)
1 day later
Ted,In regards to honesty, integrity, truth, we are not mere oceans apart, but more like distant galaxies. The truth is simply what is so, and does not require being shaped, formed or arranged to gain approval. To think that you know the capacity for another’s understanding, reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld’s response to the truth and facts; “the public is not mature enough to understand”. With that Philosophy, truth, honesty and integrity can be obfuscated, manipulated, to suit one’s needs….to gain approval! It appears to me that it is generally accepted as the norm to say almost anything for effect in order to gain respect and the approval of others.
I see man as a great potential and in honoring that potential I will speak my truth, express my integrity, maintain my dignity and above all, bathe in my self esteem. I see no value in seeing man as a helpless and depraved being, and work to keep him from discovering otherwise.
1 day later
I don't think we are very far apart at all in essence.
I agree with you that the truth is what is so.
What seems to be at issue is our ability to “know” what is so.
In my understanding, we have limited access to that.
In the realm of the normal - chairs, tables, billiard balls, etc, we can generate very strong agreement about what it so.
When one starts dealing outside the range of what we have evolved to deal with, and get into the physical realms of the very large or the very small, then gaining agreement about what is so becomes ever more difficult.
When it comes to knowing what is so for each and every one of us - it becomes more difficult still.
Most people have a model of the universe which is based on intentionality - some sort of notion of God or Karma. I don't have that.
I have a very different understanding of the world.
My understanding includes notions like probability, uncertainty, models within models, emergent properties of complex systems, evolution by natural selection, cultural evolution, and on top of all of that (but not underneath it) intention. My understanding of the world lacks a notion of universal time, the notion of time travel makes no sense to me, because there is no “time” to travel through. Time is local to each and every particle, but because we are all made of particles going much the same speed in much the same space, we experience time as something shared. This illusion has profound effects on how most people model the world. Einstein's mathematics and thought experiments showed the difficulties with the concept of time, but even he didn't “get it” at the time. He found a complex formula to preserve the notion of “time”.
So I agree with you. There is, in all probability, only one reality out there. I think I have a reasonable handle on how quite a bit of it works, and there are huge areas of uncertainty for me, particularly in the realm of the very very small.
I have a very good handle on how my sensory systems work, and how my brain interprets signals, and am thus aware of how easily I can be deceived. I have studied with professional hypnotists and magicians.
So while I am very confident that there is a “reality” out there, I am much less confident about exactly what it is.
It is in the gap, between what is so, and my model (my understanding) of what is so, that the “art” arises.
There are no simple rules that one can follow in all circumstances to guarantee that what one perceives is what is so.
There are so many ways of misinterpreting, so many possible starting points to build models and understandings, so many ways for errors to creep in, so many ways for the mind to stuff “square peg” observations into “round hole” expectations.
That anything even remotely resembling communication ever happens is often little short of miraculous.
1 day later
Ted, Your concerns seem to be focused on the essence of reality, or the absoluteness of reality, that is beyond the scope of being honest, or expressing one’s integrity. When I speak of truth, I speak of personal truth, the integrity of my mind, the what is so for me, nothing mystical, just the way it is for me, I am not looking for, or seeking agreement to my truth, I look to state my truth so that when I look in the mirror, I see integrity and a friend. My truth is created by my reasoning, mine alone, the conceptual faculty that identifies and integrates that which stimulates my senses, and to that I must remain true to myself. How my truth or integrity lands in another’s ears is not my responsibility. I am responsible for, and honor the integrity of my mind. No one can think for me, nor can I think for another.
I have no respect for duplicity, fabrication of words to please another, nor do I desire to fit in and accept the collective mind with its social conditioning and mindless discourse of altruism, sacrifice and selflessness. The notion of living for another is an endeavor as mindless as having another live my life for me. There is little agreement on thoughts like this because society has been co-opted by the Grand Conspiracy to reduce or more accurately; destroy the human spirit which moves man to be dependent upon himself, making no demands of another man.
I’m getting off track…..so….
1 day later
I am, like you, simply concerned with my own integrity.
I wish to know what I am at the deepest level I can manage. I do not expect to ever come to a conclusion in that search - it seems likely that it will be infinite - and some essence of the understanding is likely to be always just beyond the next distinction (the distinguishing of which will open yet another set of unknowns). I'm enjoying the journey.
So yes, I am concerned about my integrity, my truth, and that truth (for the most part) only has meaning in so far as it relates to reality (whatever that is).
I am very much at ease looking in the mirror.
In so far as it is my intention to communicate with another, then I disagree with you. In so far as it is my intention to achieve communication, then I will be powerful to the extent that I take responsibility for all aspects of that process. That is, for how the communication lands with another.
Like you, I have no respect for duplicity or fabrication.
If you read my websites, you will find many things about me that are unique. I am not seeking same-ness. I speak what is true for me, even when I have no agreement.
I have no time for the mindless altruism of socialism; and I do have respect for all entities. If one can conceive of living a very long time, then self interest and altruism become indistinguishable.
If you look at www.solnx.org - one of the outcomes, would be complete independence. Every human being would have the tools to meet all of their needs for food, shelter, education, transport, communications met - without any reliance on any other human being - just the distilled wisdom of much of our society encapsulated in a set of machines and their codified set of instructions to perform certain tasks on command.
Talk to any great engineer - there is an art to technology. There is "art" in science; in knowing when to follow an intuition, and when to bring the tools of mathematics and logic to the situation. There are no recipes for science in every situation.
The "art" part I refer to is the bit that the human mind brings to the situation that cannot be codified.
In my model this intuition is the side effect of the holographic storage and retrieval of information. But to those without an understanding of the mechanics of holograms, or the underlying theory (which is 99.999%+ of humanity), that statement would be meaningless.
So most people just call it intuition, or "heart" or "being at one with god" or "in the flow" or whatever. They recognise that it is not the ordinary activity of the conscious mind, but they do not have an adequate framework to relate it to rocks, flowers, stars, cellphones and dance - in a set of mathematical equations. I do. That makes me more than a little "unusual".
It also means I can translate between many different reference frames, because they are all subsets of the set I use most of the time.
So within me, I find the process of determining what is "integrity" for me (in my own terms) something of an "art" - much more "art" than science. While I may understand many of the equations involved, there is no way I can work them out in real time - so I resort to intuitive shortcuts - as we all do - and then I submit those to meta level analysis. No certainties.