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BS: If you were completely honest...

Amos 02 Mar 00 - 04:26 PM
Callie 02 Mar 00 - 04:49 PM
MMario 02 Mar 00 - 04:55 PM
Amos 02 Mar 00 - 05:04 PM
wysiwyg 02 Mar 00 - 05:08 PM
Amos 02 Mar 00 - 05:22 PM
Callie 02 Mar 00 - 05:22 PM
wysiwyg 02 Mar 00 - 05:30 PM
GUEST,BeesWing 02 Mar 00 - 05:35 PM
Amos 02 Mar 00 - 05:41 PM
Rick Fielding 02 Mar 00 - 05:46 PM
wysiwyg 02 Mar 00 - 05:48 PM
Midchuck 02 Mar 00 - 05:52 PM
Little Neophyte 02 Mar 00 - 05:52 PM
wysiwyg 02 Mar 00 - 06:00 PM
Amos 02 Mar 00 - 06:01 PM
wysiwyg 02 Mar 00 - 06:10 PM
Mbo 02 Mar 00 - 06:11 PM
Callie 02 Mar 00 - 06:22 PM
Little Neophyte 02 Mar 00 - 06:26 PM
catspaw49 02 Mar 00 - 06:40 PM
Allan C. 02 Mar 00 - 06:46 PM
Osmium 02 Mar 00 - 07:06 PM
Amos 02 Mar 00 - 07:10 PM
Little Neophyte 02 Mar 00 - 07:27 PM
Metchosin 02 Mar 00 - 07:51 PM
Little Neophyte 02 Mar 00 - 07:57 PM
Allan C. 02 Mar 00 - 08:21 PM
Amos 02 Mar 00 - 08:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Mar 00 - 09:07 PM
Amos 02 Mar 00 - 09:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Mar 00 - 10:29 PM
Amos 02 Mar 00 - 10:39 PM
Sorcha 02 Mar 00 - 11:28 PM
Amos 02 Mar 00 - 11:42 PM
Lonesome EJ 03 Mar 00 - 02:09 AM
wysiwyg 03 Mar 00 - 02:38 AM
katlaughing 03 Mar 00 - 02:45 AM
Night Owl 03 Mar 00 - 03:19 AM
wysiwyg 03 Mar 00 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,Patrish 03 Mar 00 - 04:33 AM
wysiwyg 03 Mar 00 - 04:39 AM
katlaughing 03 Mar 00 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,Patrish 03 Mar 00 - 05:28 AM
Little Neophyte 03 Mar 00 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Neil Lowe 03 Mar 00 - 09:05 AM
Amos 03 Mar 00 - 09:19 AM
Little Neophyte 03 Mar 00 - 09:27 AM
MMario 03 Mar 00 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,Patrish 03 Mar 00 - 09:46 AM
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Subject: If you were completely honest...
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 04:26 PM

By way of a thought for the day, or week, or until our resident intellect returns:



We all have collections of "adjusted truths" -- for reasons that are sometimes forgotten, things we have asserted that were other than we first clearly saw or knew them to be. We do it from discomfort, a personal "flinch", confusion, a sense of practicality...but I think we all have several degrees and kinds of honesty and dishonesty we use in different situations and with different people.

If I were entirely honest, for example, I would be perfectly be willinbg to say how much time I waste maundering around in various universes of thought, word, verse and other mental notion, instead of actually exerting myself to move things forward in the stange stage we think of as the real world; I would speak more freely about the uncertainties which plague me, instead of making loud noises which sound certain; I would be able to say exactly how many times I have lied about bad habits like not-quite-quitting smoking, mental lechery, turning blind eyes to people in need, using a great array of explanations, settling for comfortable mediocrity in various ways when I could envision something better...I suppose I could go on and on.

If we could feel completely free to be wholly honest in all ways, with ourselves and each other,
(1) what kinds of things would we be honest about? and more important
(2) how would this change the way we feel and act in our ordinary daily lives?

As Áine might say, "double-dog dare ya....". But only answers given freely count...


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Callie
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 04:49 PM

I think that a lot of "lies" could be more aptly described as survival techniques. If I was more honest I'd spend a lot of time admitting I was hurt by people or disappointed in people. However, I think it's best to cover up a lot of this and just get on with it, or there'de be no getting out of bed, you know? Besides, I always get the sense that if you let people know your vulnerable side, it can be (and is) used against you.

I'm not a people hater by the way! Or a whinger!

Callie


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: MMario
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 04:55 PM

If I were completly honest, I would probably either be dead or a total hermit.

and I KNOW I would be unemployed.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 05:04 PM

So, were we to magically become honest to the core, the first things out of our mouths would be several bales of critical opinions and hurt feelings and other reflections on our view of others.

And likewise, we would probably be surprised at the unburdening of criticism and disappointment we would receive from others similarly transformed.

Suppose we got through that part, and were still commuinicating somehow.... Then what? (see 1 and 2 above).


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 05:08 PM

Amos, I went fishing partly to ponder this very thing, and reflected quite a bit on feelings of hypocrisy, especially here. My own hyposcrisy, I hasten to add; after reading the old thread on Spaw's close call, I felt that some people here are SO honest that by comparison, I am a fraud. Yet I know that what I lend my attention to makes a difference around me. So what was up?

I had come to care far too much about what people said back to me here. (Old baggage sneaking up.) What I came back with was a commitment to communicate not "from" my comfort zone to get answers that increase my comfort zone, but to make an intentional effort to communicate "to" what I perceive as stated needs. And to do so only as fully as the recipient seems ready for. It's a tough approach to hold to, especially as a committed Christian. I've committed to live in submission to a number of priorities and it can be hard to be honest to that (and ABOUT) that without going where people do not wish to go.

AAaaarggghhh!!! Words.

I also did some off-Cat e-corresponding while fishing that was totally no-holds-barred. Since coming back to active posting, that no-holds-barred approach is (I hope) enlivening what I choose to post. I'm putting my bullshit self-check up front as intention, not running it as a self-second-guessing monitor after the fact.

And also, the longer I live, the more I focus not on honesty but on accuracy. "Honesty" is such a loaded term. "Accuracy" however means refusing to settle for less than exactly what's in one's heart to say. In accuracy, you don't need to worry so much about the comfort zone. One of the things I love about your writing is that you don't need to be verbose to get the accuracy. (Envious.)

Finally, about comfort zones. I'm against them. I find life much more satisfying staying in that zone where there is safety enough to risk discomfort. That's where honesty can actually flourish. That zone comes either when all parties agree to maintain it with love and attention, or/and also when you have declared yourself safe from the inside. The Mudcat strives for the former, and I have the latter, so I especially find this a good place to communicate.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 05:22 PM

Well, I see there is a lot of "corona" around the word honesty, even though it is a simple, basic word. When you see what you see, and can say plainly that you saw it, you are being loyal to your own sense of what is true. I think one of the things I am dishonest about, and I will use the plain word directly for what it is, is my own love of being right, which is so strong that I conveniently forget what I thought or said if I think it was wrong. I was going to put his in the first person plural, but I am not here to speak about others. I greatly appreciate your remarks about comfort zones; I think they are treacherous in the extreme, allowing me to believe I am making good,or well-felt, well-reasoned choices, when I am making only comfortable ones and taking the work no firther than that. If I were going to list the top few things I disappoint myself in, that would be one of the key areas. And I can't even put it into clear language, it is so ingrained.

I am interested to know who else has insights they might add to this thread, as I think Catters are more direct and outspoken than the average to a large degree...


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Callie
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 05:22 PM

What sets us apart from other members of the animal world is that we have the power to reason. Part of this reasoning, I believe, is knowing what is reasonABLE and knowing how one's behaviour might affect others. Therefore, there are more important things than pure honesty. If everyone were honest and returned to a Darwinist state of affairs, maybe only the rich and physically strong would survive.

--Callie


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 05:30 PM

Well, Amos, this is excellent. The question and the way you have put it have made for some frontier thinking already.

Regarding your last posting, I make you an offer. Shall we choose to assume, you and I, that henceforth we will not respect the comfort zone on our communication with each other? I am available for practice. However, since we don't know each other well, it might make for a too-challenging starting point. So it's not a time-sensitive offer; take me up on it any time.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: GUEST,BeesWing
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 05:35 PM

If I were completley honest I would truely be ALIVE and F***ing free!


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 05:41 PM

I will commit to trying to push this envelope.

Callie, a thought, just for the reflecting on:

Our social network is like a matrix in which we are the node. And the sum of the awareness of reality of that network -- the intelligence of the group -- depends, to a large degree, on how "accurate" the data it exchanges is. One of the harder lessons I have had to start learning since I tied my fate to that of a loving wife and a loving daughter, is that inserting false realities into the matrix, out of a sense of self preservation, actually undermines the ability of the others in the group to see clearly. This is unkind to strangers, and treacherous to friends.

On the other hand, you and MM have both pointed out that there is significant risk in being "too" honest, among those who would use it against you.

So we have a situation that almost forces us to be torn between risk from being honest, and another risk, more subtle but perhaps no less dangerous, from being dishonest. Hard puzzle, once you start to fiddle with it. I am not thinking of moral codes, here, as I think we have an abundance of them, but more ofthe practical ramifications of decisions in a communication matrix of living humans.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 05:46 PM

Wow, great thread Amos. Naturally the cyber-anonymity (to a certain point) makes us a bit more courageous, but I'm afraid that if we were completely honest in our dealings with each other (and ourselves) we'd find almost instant isolation...and those that seem to welcome that state must live terribly sad lives. One example would be our most vocally vicious Mudcatter...would anyone really want to be in his shoes? And yet... he may also be the most honest in terms of expressing his dislikes.

I think I'll stick to a little dishonesty now and then, rather than risk hurting people's feelings. I realize to some, that's a totally wimpy attitude, but I really like people, even when they irritate the hell out of me. When I've gotten REALLY honest with someone about what I consider an important issue, there's always been a lot of residual fall out, and after a while I often feel sorry for having been too blunt. I often use humour when I'm ticked off (as a reading of some old mudcat posts will attest)

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 05:48 PM

Clarity comes and goes, too.

Amos, I would go back and put 99% of what you said above in bold type.

Then I would ask, how come you titled this thread under the prefix of BS?

Then I would go take your recent advice to shut down the computer. Then I would take a shower, see if Hardiman is anywhere around, make dinner... and see what a real-world application of these thoughts leads to.

You made my day today, just being yourself.

BTW, man, ye'll need to get accustomed to heerin' ye've made me day wi'out even tryin', if we're ta stretch the old #10 oot t' th' full manila mailer it may yet be!


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Midchuck
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 05:52 PM

What MMario said.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 05:52 PM

Amos, sometime you have to unravel the feelings to get to the core of honesty.
Becoming aware of how you honestly feel about something, that is a good start.
Then ask yourself 'Why do I feel this way?'
Learn your personal list of defensive mechanisms and observe how much of what you feel is a defense for this or that issue you have carried around for years.
Under all those issues & defenses you will find what your heart honestly feels. And I bet your heart would honestly say something different.
Once you reach an awareness of what your heart would honestly say, you will not need to ask any more questions and you will feel safe to say anything your heart truly feels. And believe it or not others will feel safe to listen to it too.
It only takes one open heart to get some honest communication going.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 06:00 PM

There's that zippy Little Neo I'm getting to know-- I see why she is so loved here! Zip! Zap!! And away!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 06:01 PM

BeesWing:

Welcome to the Cat, and thank you for a very interesting answer. I feel that way myself sometimes, but I have never been quite able to articulate whythis would be so...can you? I'm just curious how it looks, not trying to push you. Wondered if you had any thoughts about it...

Priase,

Thanks so much for the kind words. A delightful unanticipated effect. Lemme know how it goes with H if you would like to...

Rick:

I have thought about what you said -- I care for people, and I think there is an interesting dilemma that you point out. It can be brutal to speak more bluntly than another can experience comfortably. It can be equally unkind to leave them with false realities. Maybe in betwen there is the fine art of the acceptable truth, the honest thing kindly said. And it is an art, certainly one I haven't yet mastered. One thing I know that makes it easier is that I have come to think that when I have highly critical thoughts about the way another person is, it may be true that I am having them, and they may be persuasive tome at the moment, but I don't think they are true. Any more than a pimple is a true statement of how I feel about eating. SO throwing them out without the additional perspective that they are transient and only symptomatic, would not only be harmful to my communication with others, it owuldn't be, I guess, the best truth I could muster...

Man,this is a thorny little path sometimes, isn't it...

See ya later...

A


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 06:10 PM

Last on this today from me-- a HUGE difference is, are you hanging in with the person once you've said yer piece, and working through the resulting stuff, or dumping and going? My preference is obvious.

I try not to loose what I won't help handle. Can't remember the Biblical quote exactly-- what you loose shall be loosed, what you bind shall be bound...

And when it's uncomfortable stuff someone needs to hear, and in the context of a relationship that calls for people to deliver these words when appropriate, then it is important to make the time to catch the reaction fallout which has to come before the caring words can be integrated by the recipient. You have to be willing to take that freight for the honesty thing to work in relationships you care about.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Mbo
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 06:11 PM

Oh, I thought you ment country matters.

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Callie
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 06:22 PM

In a totally honest society, what happens to principles like generosity, charity, persistence, honour, acceptance of all people, physical safety, the distribution of food resources, public service etc etc? --Callie


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 06:26 PM

Amos, sometimes when we become irritated by someone else's behaviour, we are actually seeing things we despise about ourself only we see it magnified in someone else.
For instance, if deep down in side I feel kind of stupid (for no valid reason, I just do) then I may find myself being more judgemental or criticial about someone else's stupidity.
It is a lot easier to see the things we don't like in someone else than to honestly face seeing how we truly feel about ourself.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: catspaw49
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 06:40 PM

Good thread Amos.

Spaw---that's as honest as I can get on the subject.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Allan C.
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 06:46 PM

"What a tale my thoughts could tell!" "But if you read between the lines, you'd know that I'm just tryin' to be real."

Being completely honest is something I really strive to do. I speak straight from the heart, for the most part and try very, very hard to tell people what I think without injuring them in the same breath. Usually this is possible. Sometimes, even though it causes problems for someone, it is good to set things straight.

For some reason I am reminded of the time when I was a store detective. I watched a woman load a color television into a shopping cart. Then she pushed the cart out of the store. I stopped her when she got outside. She was charged and convicted of grand theft. She spent some time in jail and paid a rather large fine. A few years later I was working as a convenience store clerk and the same woman walked into the store. She recognized me immediately and walked up to me and gave me a hug and thanked me for what I had done.

I imagine there is some sort of parallel here, but I'll be damned if I can find it. Good story though.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Osmium
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 07:06 PM

Hi Amos
This is coming slow because I'm having to think about it. I can only approach this on another tack (sailing again Praise).

In some sense the human condition may be brought about by the smallest preferntial desire to teke care of one's own children before others. There is a selfishness to all of us but (to my mind) it is not necessarily born from the "enemy of evil" but can be generated by preferential love. I'm not trying to raise flames here but to go very gently. It is natural for a parent to want the best for their children, and the result of children that grow up lacking this love are clearly evident everwhere, but this very gentle preferential pressure becomes the syndrome known, I suspect, as the selfish gene or the original sin. Once selfishness in some degree is accepted as natural then the offspring is something of the problem to which you refer.

I can't for the moment put any more of this down, but we are all human, it's not a perfect world, and sometimes the listening stick will be required. To be honest may require that we forgive ourselves more freely than we have been used to for a failing that was never a failing but something that was thrust upon us for survival.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 07:10 PM

A great story...y'know I think sometimes that the worst rage our worst maniacs feel is just an extreme case of soemthing we all boil from in lesser amounts -- a bunch of turth wanting to get out, the pain coming from the failure/inability to communicate when something is desperately needing to be spoken. And I suspect that the understandable polish, the hypocrisy we all agree is "necessary" to make our social lives work...is part of the reason why our species keeps turning up homicidal and stupid.

Neo, I am really struck by the truth you have pointed out...I am never so critical of others' stupidities as when I am sitting in the middle of my own and not wanting to admit it. I think here agian that Rightness for its own sake (as distinguished from a rational "right" analysis or feel of things) is the devil in the works. If we didn't have to be right, how much righter we could get, eh? :>)

Spaw,

I hear you , and thanksfor the remark...I imagine you coul add some brilliant insights tot his paradox-ridden thread should you wish to...

Thanks to all those who have added to this...Iactually feel like we are getting somewhere...dunno where, but it feels that way to me...

Beeswing said if s/he were totally honest s/he would be f***ing free. I'd like an understanding of this if anyone can offer one...


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 07:27 PM

Amos, I figure if Beeswing feels he/she would be f***ing free if they were totally honest it may mean that they are just basically feeling frustated because they are not able to be totally honest. But being totally honest is something they really want to be.

Not too complicated, I think.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Metchosin
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 07:51 PM

One thing that I have personally learned about "truth", the hard way, is that one should be prepared for the fallout that may result, it is quite often very painful for all and the freedom is sometimes a long time coming.

At one time I thought that to live by the credo "do no harm", would suffice, until I was once struck by the thought of Bruce Coburn playing If a Tree Falls on a piece of Brazillian Walnut. I realized I cannot be in the world without doing "harm"; the paradox. Now I just try to lean towards the light, and because I am human fail miserably quite often.

I don't know if I have stayed on track regarding the original question but that is where I went in my mind after a bit of preoccupied thought.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 07:57 PM

Great story Allan.
Sometime when the issue is really important, like Rick was mentioning, it is best to be honest and say it like it is. Even if there is a fall out.
Sometime we will regret being blunt, but I feel in the end maybe it was the best thing. Though painful, sometimes you never know what impact it will have on the other person. It may be exactly what that person needed to hear.
Sometimes being totally honest can be really scary, but after all the storm has cleared, your relationship with that person may be much closer.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Allan C.
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 08:21 PM

Yeah, that's what I was trying to say, Little Neo. Thanks for putting it into a complete thought!

I am forever puzzled by people who habitually speak unkindly or act in a way that can only be construed as being purposefully hurtful. Sometimes this, too, falls under the heading of being "honest". We sometimes laugh and refer to them as being "caustic". But, in their way, they are, I suppose, being honest (sometimes!). It is a fine line between being "perfectly honest" with someone andtelling them something that, although true, is not constructive. I guess what amazes me is the folks who either don't know the difference; or don't care. I just cannot fathom that behavior in some folks.

But regarding our view of our own children, I would have to agree - partially. I think for many it is quite natural to turn a blind eye to some of the things our kids do. But I also have seen those who are sharply critical of each and every thing a child attempts. Which is truly "natural"?

I think that in any endeavor to find the middle ground in our behavior, we have to battle one tendency or another. It is a struggle, usually. So, if we follow a bit of logic, it would seem that one extreme or the other would be the natural one and the middle would be somewhat UNnatural. Wouldn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 08:24 PM

I guess perhaps the other side of truth -- however we communicate it -- is the willingness (is that a word, really?) to experience the effects if the truth as we speak it is something another does not wish to hear.



Well, this is a puzzle, because you have to ask, under what circumstances would someone really feel better not knowing how things are or were?

I don't mean the dramatic, social expression, "O, please, I'm sure I don't want to know" but in actuality, assuming one is not crippled emotionally, how would it come to pass that one would prefer not to know the way of things; because the obvious consequence of that choice is a preference for delusion.

Of course we all know people who are emotionally damaged, overwhelmed, weakened through drugs or biochemical causes, etc... -- perhaps this too is just a matter of degree, and we all have a truth threshold above which it requires too much attention, or too painful a re-thinking, or is too much for any iother reason, and we would rather shut it out even at the cost of not knowing.

This brings up an interesting thought, because it is one I have never seriously entertained before but am looking at seriously now: that both intentional truth and intention ignoral are virtues in their appropriate moments.

Maybe even intentional falsification...the most unacceptable conclusion, in some ways, but one that also deserves to be weighed.



I don't have facile answers but I am grateful to all of you for the opportunity to wrassle with these (I think) under-estimated issues.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 09:07 PM

Being honest to yourself matters, and it's hard. Recognising when you were putting on a front, pretending that you had good motives for doing something, when really you were showing off, or getting your own back.

Being honest to other people, in the sense of saying what you really feel - I think that's something different. In fact one of the things we are dishonest to ourselves about is just that - we say something to hurt, and tell ourrselves we are saying it because we are being open and candid and honest.

There's an expression they use in religious communities -"custody of the tongue". To some extent it's the same as the advice Thumper gets in Bambi which goes something like "If you cain't say something nice, don't say nothing."

Thee are times when it is important to let other people know the full truth about what we are thinking. But there are also times when we have no right to do that. And there are times when we do in fact have a duty to deceive other people.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 09:49 PM

Wow, McGrath...a duty to deceive...this boggles me, and I am expanding my mind just trying to get my mental arms around it. I have been jejeune and naive in many ways in my life, in spite of many adventures to strange places, and I don't think I have ever encountered a situation where I felt directly I had a duty to deceive, except where I believed I was dealing with someone who was already busy being an enemy to me. Hard to say.

I remember a bosn coming up to me one time with the idea of lifting some lumber he thought he could use from a large pile of it stored on the quay....and I told him I wished he'd never asked me, because then I had to say no. But that was a sort of practical hypocrisy, no duty there.

I guess I could see it plainly if there was no better way, in dealing with enemies or protecting the weak, or ill, in very peculiar circumstances...at least I could imaghine it.

When, then, have you really had such a duty, or known someone to...I am just curious to understand it better...


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 10:29 PM

Amos, you've given examples of the kind of situations where there is a duty to deceive.

Now trying to think of whether there have been times when in deceiving other people I have been doing so because that was the right thing to do, or whether that's just an excuse because I'm not being honest to myself, that's the question.

Essentially, if telling the truth means that someone is going to get hurt who doesn't deserve to get hurt, I'd say you shoulkd avoid telling the truth. If the only effective way of avoiding telling the truth is to tell a lie, the right thing to do is to lie. To act otherwise I'd see as moral self-indulgence.(Mind, if you use language carefully, most of the time you can avoid directly lying - but there's no moral distinction in my mind, it's just that I'm a lot better at avoiding the truth that way than I am at directly lying.)

And yes, I can think of times that's actually happened in my life and in the life of people I know.And I'm afraid I'm not going to go into details.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 10:39 PM

Well, sir, I respect that. I think back on times when I lied to avoid causing waves or to preserve an apparency of innocence, and it was always that it was so much easier than it was to spit out an unpleasant truth. This other thing, though, is one I am less familiar with...perhaps symptomatic of the black holes in my make up, or perhaps just the nature of the draw.

I think I will first practice my honesty until I get much better at it; then I will see if I can also develop an ear for genuinely dutiful deceit.

I am open to anything anyone cares to add. I think this is a most rewarding set of answers, and thank you all for them.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 11:28 PM

I think for the most part, I think I have to agree with McGrath of Harlow on this. As per the original post, "completely" must mean everything, and yes, it would change my life. If being totally honest would ir-remdeemably hurt someone I care about, I would not do it, thus, lying IS a type of survival technique.(ie, if I had an affair, and decided I wanted to stay with my husband, you damn right I would lie about it!)
And Praise, yes, my feelings have been hurt here at Mudcat, and I have said to myself, well, that is it, I won't go back, but I do, because the positive here out weighs the negative.I decided a long time ago to decide what is really worth getting hurt over, and what is not.
I basically am a People Hater, and do not consider myself a "Nice" person, even thought others say that I am. I do not deal well with crowds, or Wal-Mart congestion, but I keep my comments in my head, for the most part. It takes a FLAGRANT breach of public etiquitte for me to lose it verbally.

I think if we were all totally honest, there would be far too much pain to deal with; we would all be overwhelmed. And Praise, don't let the (very) few bastards on this board get you down, it's not worth it.
I am still trying to operate on the Do No Harm principle, but that does include myself. I am coming off a very bad year, where I know I did a lot of harm to myself trying to avoid doing harm to those I love.
I am not a Christian, but there is a lot of good advice in their Book, and the one applicable here is, Love one another as you love yourself. I take this to mean that no one (except your god) can love yourself as you do, so love all others in that manner, and this does not bode well for our resident vociferous vocal personality, does it?
Thanks Amos, for this thought provoking thread, but you know who will probably cause us to have to change the litter box again!


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 11:42 PM

Neo:

I just reread this thread and I wanted to say thank you for your very comapassionate and insightful answers. I am reached by them

Love,

A


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 02:09 AM

Chekhov said in The Lady and the Dog that all humans were possessed of a secret life that lies within the husk of their apparent life. Both the secret life and the husk (job, relationships, social roles) have their own laws, ethics, goals and rationale. Intimacy may yield glances of the secret life of two individuals, but since so much of the secret life takes place in the mind of the individual, it is ultimately untranslatable. Only in the artificial construct of a fictional composition, ie a character in a novel, are both lives of an individual known to us. This is why, at least for me, many characters in novels are more real to me than people I encounter in daily life. In some respects, people in this forum take on some of the attributes of the fictional all-revealing characters. Freed of the normal set of social roles and expectations, I believe that people here reveal more about themselves to each other, are more honest in the revelation of the secret life, than they would tend to be in their normal lives.

An interesting phenomenon occurred in this forum several months ago. The phenomenon of self-revelation requires a non-judgemental audience. This was a state that evolved to a peak about July of last year. The level of honesty in this forum was amazing. And then a series of attacks were launched (and I'm not using this example to condemn this individual)very arbitrarily. The entire tone of the forum changed, with people regressing in the intimacy and honesty of their communication. Styles were adopted, in defense, that are probably quite accurate reflections of the social (husk) styles of the forum members. Now, we seem to be slowly regaining the level of non-critical acceptance that held sway previous to the flurry of attacks.

Not sure this rant was on topic, Amos. I've enjoyed this thread immensely, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 02:38 AM

Amos, the envelope is shrinking again, it's all soggy from whatever that is running down my face all salty hot wet and discouraged. It must be a woolen envelope, paper would strecth form this.

(I think I let somebody jump up and down bositerously on my toes which were already sore and I guess not healed yet. One in particular was donwright mean.)

However, I am sure that the envelope can be dried out and made pliable, and re-enlarged, and I'm not going away. No doubt it stretches better after such a wetting.

Honesty is complicated; we can usually only see the part surrounding us... the farther reaches are quite foggy sometimes.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 02:45 AM

Related to what LeeJ said, I am with Spaw on this one. I can honestly say anything I say can and will be used against me.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Night Owl
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 03:19 AM

"Freed of the 'normal'set of roles and expectations..." Thanks for those words LEJ. While reading through this thread, I was trying to find a way to articulate the reasons that I feel my work (adults with brain injuries)requires honesty and why I love my job.....and why I have such difficulty transitioning back into the 'normal' world. We had a discussion here, a while back, about why those "magic" music moments happen between people late at night. If I remember, part of the dialogue had to do with peeling layers off of our protective coatings until eventually the music could really be "shared" openly, honestly...which simply takes time to do usually. I am VERY thankful to be working in a field which requires me to leave my protective coating at the door. The transition becomes difficult when I forget to put the coating back on when I leave work. Thanks for starting the thread Amos!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 03:43 AM

I guess I experienced today what Spaw and Kat said, and to be honest (!), not just as a recipient but also as a disher-outer. If we could all read minds it would be so much simpler. It would probably suck though.

A friend of mine was talking about her workplace and co-dependency one day. She said, "Well there's that handy line down the middle of the floor of the long, long hallway-- to one side for co-dependency, to the other side for health." We joked about walking around at work, demanding that people tell us whuch side they are on so we could avoid the bad side!!! She was talking about how on any given day, people she knows well might appear on either side of the line, depending how they're doing with their old baggage on that day.

It got me started thinking about a lot of other things you could put along that line, side by side. Things that might look a lot alike, but one would be a healthy thing and the other, not.

In the idiom of earlier postings here, we could put Comfort Zones on one side of the line, and Safety on the other. You could put Responsible Honesty on one side and Irresponsible Flaming on the other.

Today I was thinking about Barriers and Boundaries. (Back to comfort zones and safety zones.) One I barely see, don't want, and hope others bash right through any I have left. The other I search for and try to respect, and hope others do too.

I think one of the difficult things about honesty is that the line is seldom straight, clearcut, continuous, or even visible. It looks different from either side too. This is much more complex than simply the old joke, "I'm persistent, you're stubborn." What I find interesting is that some of the stuff on the unhealthy side of the line is often really taken as gold. It seems the two can masquerade for each other, even fooling smart and perceptive people sometimes. So along with the need for honesty is the need for discernment-- a good bullshit detector. The ability to "see" what's in the heart. Some have a lot of this gift. It makes the honesty work intensely and well.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: GUEST,Patrish
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 04:33 AM

I have read through this thread thoroughly and feel unable to write what I feel. I have stared at the empty message box trying to repond. The honest answer is, I don't know how, there are so mant thoughts going round my head about truths and lies I have told and those that have been told to me.
Two things come to mind.
I want people to be honest in there feelings for me
But I dont think I would like people telling me they hated me, even if it was the truth. I suppose I am not very brave, but I will reread this thread and think on
Patrish


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 04:39 AM

Patrish,

I think that right here is as safe as it gets. I hope you'll keep reading and sharing. What you just said was a good chunk to start with. It's a big challenge just to ponder this. Try to use that sense of things going around and around to let new perspectives bubble up... It isn't important how soon you know what you think, but it makes a lot of difference just to wonder about it.

Again, I can honestly say even after having a pretty raw day here at the Cafe, it's all worked for my good, and it isn't safer anywhere else on this earth. I've looked. I'd bank on it. It's a good place to take a risk. when it's the right time.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 04:40 AM

Patrish, IMO, sometimes it takes more courage to protect yourself from hateful words than to allow them as some misguided example of so-called honesty.


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: GUEST,Patrish
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 05:28 AM

Praise
I am still wondering.......thanks

Kat
I not quite sure I understand you. I have one over rinding memory of my younger sister launching a tirade against me. I remember thinking while it was going on that I was quite calm. Afterwards It was like grief, disbelief, anger and great sadness. I never want to through that again - is that courage or cowardice?
Patrish


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 08:09 AM

Thanks Amos, that was really kind of you to mention.

Unfortunately, I had to leave in the middle of this wonderful Thread of Though you started because I had made other committments. Perfect example where I should have been honest and said, "Sorry, I am busy, and stayed On line".

I would like to add one more thought about what you and McGrath were discussing when it comes to the 'Duty to Deceive'.
Maybe it is best to ask "Of what benefit will it be to the other person if I say what I want to say?" If you can not come up with one benefit that the other person may gain from your honest feelings except that they will be terribly hurt, then why say it?
There will be no purpose in your telling of the truth except to fulfill your own gratification. If you can see this and at the same time feel you care about the other person's feelings, you may also find yourself sensing a duty to deceive.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: GUEST,Neil Lowe
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 09:05 AM

I was once part of a team assigned the task of maintaining a piece of equipment. As a member of that team, I can honestly say I was a poor performer. I had neither the knowledge nor the motivation to improve my performance. I knew this. Sadly, there were other members of the team who performed more poorly than I - who, either through pure ignorance or mindless devotion to total self-deception, thought they were God's gift. I sucked but at least I could console myself with the fact that I knew I sucked. No murky denials to cloud honesty's dead reckoning. The other pitiable bastards hadn't a clue and for that were truly in shite's state of affairs. Shakespeare must've drawn inspiration from their forefathers when he quilled his memorable line about being true to oneself.

Neil Lowe


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Amos
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 09:19 AM

An amazing group of people. Thank you all for your remarks.

About hateful, angry and critical communications...let us remember what it feels like when someone is not only being honest and direct but also knows with understanding what s/he is saying, not just swimming through a bunch of 'stuff' and not acting it out.

Under those circumstances you get almost always communication that is at least intending to bring about understanding, and is almost always clear, at least reasonably rational, and has no hate in it.

Conversely, there's no liar like an angry or badly frightened. It is in the nature of anger to be unable to differentiate or understand; it is in the nature of understanding to calm anger. Truth tends to dissipate anger and hate. (Usually). Surely there is a relationship between the amount oft ruth we get and give, and the degree of rationality we live with?

Critical and hateful feelings are not just "normal" and they are almost never caused by what they are attributed to, but rather by the individual's own fear of discovery, disappointment in self, sense of guilt. If those were to be defused the criticality would dissipate even though the target of the criticism has not done anything to "change". In other words these "attacks" are confessions. It is easy to lose sight of this and thus get intrigued by the hateful words, and therefore take them literally and allow them to tear you up.



But this is kind of like taking demagoguery for political guidance. It misses the nature of the thing. An easy mistake, since we are conditioned to understand by the word, not by the intent. But if you remember that there have to be untruths predominating in the mix for someone to get into so vituperous a frame of mind, there's some comfort in it. I have never known anyone to rant critically while experiencing a moment of truth. For that matter, I have never known anyone who was really critical in the sniping and cutting and vituperative way to be telling the truth or much interested in doing so, in fact, even when they assert they are "just being honest" while tearing your heart to shreds. That is not what it purports to be.

I think learning to make these distinctions is perhaps the hardest lesson of all. When does a soft answer turn away wrath, how do you get such a one to shift gears, and when and how do you just have to put the hobnail boots on and blast because there is no other remedy.

And how do you preserve your own strength or clarity in such a complicated mess of a place?


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 09:27 AM

Well Neil, to feel safe enough to honestly say you are not up to par, is admorable.
It is a matter of feeling secure and comfortable with who you are that offers you this freedom.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: MMario
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 09:29 AM

been thinking on this quite a bit....and something I feel to be the truth I need to say.

It seems to be the prevalent attitude in todays culture that silence is "lying" - or somehow dishonest. I disagree.

Honesty does NOT necessarily mean brutality. I have met people who pride themselves on their "honesty" - when in fact, they often offer their brutal opinions unasked. In this case, I don't think they are being prompted by honesty, but a desire (conscious or unconscious) to hurt.

Silence is not necessarily dishonest. I have sometimes flat out told people I would not answer their questions as I was unwilling to lie. (That in itself tells them something)


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Subject: RE: BS: If you were completely honest...
From: GUEST,Patrish
Date: 03 Mar 00 - 09:46 AM

There is a saying "To your own self be true"
In my previous post I told you about an upsetting experience with my sister. The only reason I got through this was my sense of right. I knew I was being true to those I love and, to be honest myself.
I used the silent thing I did not say anything in haste.
Honesty is what I expect from people, sometimes I am disappointed, but I live in hope.
Patrish


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