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Honesty

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posted on May, 3 2013 @ 02:50 AM
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I was thinking about something lately: honesty. It is something that most people on the planet value. Whether it be a piffle magazine survey or a legitimate psychological study, honesty is among the highest-ranking traits we value in others. I personally hold honesty in the highest esteem above all other character traits. In all relationships personal, professional, social, and romantic—I value honesty the most.

In fact, psychological study has shown that honesty is directly correlated to improved health. In other words, dishonesty is stressful, and we all know what effect stress has on the body.


Over the course of 10 weeks, the link between less lying and improved health was significantly stronger for participants in the no-lie group, the study found. For example, when participants in the no-lie group told three fewer white lies than they did in other weeks, they experienced on average about four fewer mental-health complaints, such as feeling tense or melancholy, and about three fewer physical complaints, such as sore throats and headaches
www.apa.org...

I would be very interested in seeing a long-term study on the effects of telling the truth. I would guess that the physiological benefits of truth-telling would be even more apparent and pronounced.

Okay, so telling the truth and being honest may be important for our overall health and well-being. And yet, there are so many subtle ways of distorting the truth and being dishonest, and we’re all guilty of these in some way, at some point:


• Error—a lie by mistake. The person believes they are being truthful, but what they are saying is not true.

• Omission – leaving out relevant information. Easier and least risky. It doesn’t involve inventing any stories. It is passive deception and less guilt is involved.

• Restructuring—distorting the context. Saying something in sarcasm, changing the characters, or the altering the scene.

• Denial—refusing to acknowledge a truth. The extent of denial can be quite large—they may be lying only to you just this one time or they may be lying to themselves.

• Minimization—reducing the effects of a mistake, a fault, or a judgment call.

• Exaggeration—representing as greater, better, more experienced, more successful.

• Fabrication—deliberately inventing a false story.
quickbase.intuit.com...

I said earlier that honesty is a virtue that is seemingly universal. Let’s take a look at what some others say about honesty and truth-telling; starting with the scriptural, and then the secular.


Keep your conscience clear.
2.Christianity. 1 Peter 3.16

One should utter the truth.
3.Buddhism. Dhammapada 224

Let your conduct be marked by truthfulness in word, deed, and thought.
4.Hinduism. Taittiriya Upanishad 1.11.1

Be honest like Heaven in conducting your affairs.
5.Taoism. Tract of the Quiet Way

May the true-spoken word triumph over the false-spoken word which destroys the holy order.
6.Zoroastrianism. Yasna 60.5

Putting away falsehood, let everyone speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
7.Christianity. Ephesians 4.25

Straightforwardness and honesty in the activities of one's body, speech, and mind lead to an auspicious path.
8.Jainism. Tattvarthasutra 6.23

He who utters gentle, instructive, true words, who by his speech gives offense to none--him I call a brahmana.
9.Buddhism. Dhammapada 406

Master Tseng said, "Every day I examine myself... In intercourse with my friends, have I always been true to my word?"
10.Confucianism. Analects 1.3

One should speak the truth and speak it pleasingly; should not speak the truth in an unpleasant manner nor should one speak untruth because it is pleasing; this is the eternal law.
11.Hinduism. Laws of Manu 4.138

If a lie runs for twenty years, it takes truth one day to catch up with it.
The truth got to market, but it was unsold; lying costs very little to buy.
12.African Traditional Religions. Yoruba Proverbs (Nigeria)
www.unification.net...




“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner

“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.”
― James E. Faust

“The truth is the kindest thing we can give folks in the end.”
― Harriet Beecher Stowe

“No one tells the truth to people they don't actually know, and if they do it is a horrible trait. Everyone wants something smaller, something neater than the truth.”
― Ann Patchett,
www.goodreads.com...

Okay, these last 2 quotes are what I want to discuss.

“…truth is the kindest thing we can give…”

Check. I agree.

“No one tells the truth to people they don't actually know, and if they do it is a horrible trait. Everyone wants something smaller, something neater than the truth.”

Oh, so true!

So, if truth is so valuable, why is it also one of our greatest social hindrances? Honesty can be both too much, too soon, as well as too little, too late. It’s not brutal honesty that we value, because that can be unattractive—it can make one appear insecure, needy, and unstable. And it’s unappealing when we conceal our feelings too much—this tends to make one appear distant, unemotional, and secretive.

It would seem there is an unwritten guide about how and when to be honest, and to what degree that honesty should extend.

In my experience, being too honest, upfront, and matter-of-fact voluntarily is not a desirable trait. When one volunteers too much personal information, we may prematurely label them as someone who “has issues.”

Conversely, not volunteering personal information can have a similar result. Being reluctant to share information and being deflective can also arouse suspicion. This person might be accused of being untrustworthy, unstable, and antisocial.

So, in an attempt to find a balance between overly honest and minimally honest, some may start exaggerating and omitting truths. This is to make information more agreeable, acceptable, and attractive.

Heck, even the scriptures I was so confident in earlier abide by this:


You may modify a statement in the interests of peace.
21.Judaism. Talmud, Yebamot 65b

It is always proper to speak the truth. It is better again to speak what is beneficial than to speak what is true. I hold that this is truth which is fraught with the greatest benefit to all creatures.
22.Hinduism. Mahabharata, Shanti Parva 329.13

Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.
23.Christianity. Matthew 7.6

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. To the Jews I became a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law--though not being myself under the law--that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law--not being without law toward God but under the law of Christ--that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I become weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
26.Christianity. 1 Corinthians 9.19-22
www.unification.net...


So, what I gather from these verses is that it’s sometimes okay to bend the truth if there is a greater good to be achieved. Socially, we’ve all had to do this at some point I’m sure—to spare someone’s feelings, or to diffuse a volatile situation. But is this right? Is this socially acceptable?

It must be (if you accept my premise that brutal, over-honesty is deemed to be a negative trait,) because we tend to bend the truth in a variety of social situations; especially while dating, meeting, and working with new people.

While on a first date we might omit some truths about our previous relationship to appear more suitable. We might exaggerate our achievements during a job interview to help secure the position. We might restructure, minimize, deny, and fabricate certain truths when confronting friends, family, or people in authoritative positions.

Now, admittedly, truth is very difficult to define. But honesty is usually an ethical decision that is much easier for us to identify. We know when we’re doing something honest or dishonest. We have a moral compass that aligns us with what we perceive to be honest (most of us do, anyway.)

We feel good about being honest, and we feel bad about being dishonest. And most of us probably feel okay telling white lies and tweaking the truth to make good first impressions; or if the ends justify the means, we may feel okay about bending truth.

As I said, honesty is the most important character trait for me. All honesty, all the time is what I value. But that’s being idealistic. There are times when I’ve been brutally honest (divulging too much personal info) and minimally honest (failing to adequately answer questions.) Although I try my best not to omit or exaggerate, I can’t honestly say I’m guiltless in that department either.

However, a policy of total honesty, at all times, for better or for worse, is what I strive for. This is my highest ideal.

Why is our reality so incongruous with our ideology???

Time for the rapid-fire question lighting round!

Can you think of a time when being truthful and honest has gone wrong for you? Can you think of a time when compromising the truth has worked to your advantage?

Has there been a time when someone else’s honesty has hurt you?

If you knew that truth-telling was better for your health, would you do it even if you did not benefit in any other aspects of your life?

Why are you honest? Why aren’t you honest? When?

What does honesty mean to you?

******
I think my biggest flaw is that I can be too trusting. Because I am usually painfully honest, I usually expect people to reciprocate. I’m a terrible liar and have felt physically anxious any time I have ever had to lie—I find it easier just to deal with the consequences of telling an unpleasant truth.

Spiritually, I equate honesty with purity. I have read in many Eastern traditions that one manifests truth by speaking only the truth (duh!) In other words, if you are always honest, then truth manifests itself to agree with your words (so as not to make a liar out of you!) An interesting philosophy nevertheless.

edit on 3-5-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 3 2013 @ 02:53 AM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 02:55 AM
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I think it depends on the context of the lie... For example,
All the big corporations and the government lying to us - that's not OK
When my hamster died when I was 6 and my Mum bought a new one and just told me that smudge could change his patches which is why he looked different - that's OK


I think if it's protecting someone else then a lie is alright, in moderation, obviously it's not cool to go way over the top



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:04 AM
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Dude, you warped the simple trait of honesty into this crazy as* theory that includes stuff that should not be included. And not only that you subscribed a bunch of rules to that theory.

I say pfffft.

Sometimes brutal honesty is not needed for obvious reasons.

Are we talking checkbook honesty? OK we don't don't take stuff that doesn't belong to us.

I think honesty is something real personal. We all know what is real, and we know what is right and wrong. It is innate, no one has to ascribe some kind of formula.

You are puffing up a human virtue and adding all kinds of gibberish to it that does not coincide with man's natural nature.



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:12 AM
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reply to post by GrantedBail
 


My apologies. I wasn't aware that someone made you expert of the philosophy forum. How dare I share my thoughts when it contradicts your opinions? Shame on me



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:20 AM
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A very nice post about honesty. The study was interesting.

Since I was little I noticed how lying hurts society and each of us individually.

For example if everyone was a man of their word their word is all that they would need to give. Unfortunately, the fact that most people consider their word to be their bond only as far as it serves them makes the world a much harsher place to live in.

Let me give you a little example. I've posted online in different forums before about certain things, and I naively thought people would naturally believe me, as I naturally believe other people, unless they prove themselves to be liars. But I never prejudge a person as a liar. Well, instead of intelligent conversation I will get bombarded with accusations of being a liar for absolutely no reason.

Obviously there are enough liars out there that make these other people naturally tend to disbelieve you unless you can prove yourself truthful. This is damaging to society.

At a previous job my supervisor once asked me if I owned a cell phone because she wanted the number to get a hold of me if she needed too, and I told her I didn't, and she called me a liar. I was very offended because I was telling the truth. This is another small example of how distrust and dishonest behavior by others affects us all. There it may only have affected my feelings, but I remember when I got married to a foreign woman I was accused by immigration of doing so to get her legalized in the States which was a blatant lie on their part. I argued the truth but they refused to believe it. This had real-world consequences that we had to deal with for years after our marriage.

I wish people were honest I really do wish. But the more I've lived the more I see how dishonest people are. And what is unbelievable I see that people prefer lies to the truth. They will believe any lie thrown at them, while truth they discard and look down upon and trample underfoot.

I wanted to point out some of those scriptures you were pointing to about being truthful. I've always liked this one and have tried to apply it in my life:

"He has sworn to what is bad [for himself], and yet he does not alter." - Psalm 15:4.

A righteous person keeps his word, even if it means it turns up bad for himself. Let's say you agree to something, but later on you realize that you could have gotten a better deal, or whatever, most people see no qualms in breaking their word, even when it comes to something important like marriage. But an honorable person will stick to his word.

Also another point I thought I'd bring out. Not everyone deserves the truth. That is why Jesus said not to give it to the swine. They only trample on it, for they don't see the value of it, but not only that Jesus says they will then turn upon you and rip you open.

But withholding the truth from people who do not deserve it is not being dishonest.

In Nazi Germany many Jehovah's Witnesses refused to report on family members and other members of their faith. They preferred being thrown into concentration camps and killed. Likewise in the genocide in Rwanda this happened.

Withholding information from evil people who do not deserve it is not lying.

Also, I have come to notice that the character bent of some people is to love lies. They actually relish evil and badness. Jesus pointed this out when he stated:

(John 8:44) . . .YOU are from YOUR father the Devil, and YOU wish to do the desires of YOUR father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of [the lie].


The desire of many is that of their father, and that is to lie. Actually the meaning of devil means literally "Slanderer" someone who lies to besmear another's good name (in this case Satan against God). There are many "devils" on this website who relish in doing their father's (the devil's) desire by slandering God.

One recent thread as an example is one about how God hates women and the Bible, to some such effect, which is totally slanderous and lying. But people love it. Those who have the dishonest disposition of the father of the lie.

But to understand the high regard God has for honesty he shows that only those who are honest are allowed to walk with him:

(Psalm 15:1-3) 15 O Jehovah, who will be a guest in your tent? Who will reside in your holy mountain?  2 He who is walking faultlessly and practicing righteousness And speaking the truth in his heart.  3 He has not slandered with his tongue. To his companion he has done nothing bad, And no reproach has he taken up against his intimate acquaintance.


cont...



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:22 AM
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Sorry, I was running out of room.

I also wanted to point out that God hates liars so much that he states he will take action against them:

(Psalm 5:6) . . .You will destroy those speaking a lie. A man of bloodshed and deception Jehovah detests.


Notice, out of the things that God detests how many pertain to lying:

(Proverbs 6:16-19) . . .There are six things that Jehovah does hate; yes, seven are things detestable to his soul: 17 lofty eyes, a false tongue, and hands that are shedding innocent blood, 18 a heart fabricating hurtful schemes, feet that are in a hurry to run to badness, 19 a false witness that launches forth lies, and anyone sending forth contentions among brothers.



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:26 AM
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Qur'an

2:40-46

'children of israel, remember my favor i have bestowed upon you. fulfill my covenant, and i will fulfill your covenant with you. me, you must fear.

and believe in what i have sent down confirming what is with you, and do not be the first to disbelieve it. do not sell my verses for a little price and fear me.

do not confound truth with falsehood, nor knowingly hide the truth while you know.

establish your prayers, pay the obligatory charity, and bow with those who bow.
would you order righteousness on others and forget it yourselves? yet you recite the book, have you no sense?

who reckon that they will meet their lord and that to him they will return.
edit on 3-5-2013 by mideast because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:28 AM
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reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
 

Sorry, I didn't mean to offend.

I guess this is a philosophical discussion that I have no business being in.

Pardon me.



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:34 AM
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reply to post by GrantedBail
 



Originally posted by GrantedBail
crazy as* theory that includes stuff that should not be included



I say pfffft.



all kinds of gibberish

Yeah, okay. If this is what you call discussion, sure. Welcome aboard.
edit on 3-5-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:35 AM
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I went to St. Augustine who wrote an essay called "Lying." It is a difficult text to simply read through quickly, his points are developed thoroughly and with care.

You can find a preview of it here: Lying---St. Augustine It only allows a portion of the essay to be read, you'll find it on Pages 51-94 (which is where the site closes the reading). I expect you can find it in it's entirety somewhere.

Two key points from it are that he defines lying as the knowing and intentional telling of a falsehood, with the purpose to deceive, and that lying is a serious sin which defiles a person and robs them of their relationship with God.

If you're seriously interested in his thoughts, it may be worth working through.



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:35 AM
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Originally posted by iSomeone
Sorry, I was running out of room.

I also wanted to point out that God hates liars so much that he states he will take action against them:

(Psalm 5:6) . . .You will destroy those speaking a lie. A man of bloodshed and deception Jehovah detests.


Notice, out of the things that God detests how many pertain to lying:

(Proverbs 6:16-19) . . .There are six things that Jehovah does hate; yes, seven are things detestable to his soul: 17 lofty eyes, a false tongue, and hands that are shedding innocent blood, 18 a heart fabricating hurtful schemes, feet that are in a hurry to run to badness, 19 a false witness that launches forth lies, and anyone sending forth contentions among brothers.


So how comes pedophilia is covered up in the church? Thats lying is it not....denying there is a problem is just as bad as saying "i didnt do it".

Why do gay Christians say they arent gay? They are lying to themselves mostly.

General reply to thread:

I love honesty, but on here for example i cannot be brutally honest or id be banned in an instant lol
edit on 3-5-2013 by AmberLeaf because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:39 AM
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reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
 


That is kind of cheap wouldn't you say? Maybe even a little dishonest. Hmmmmmm. You picked out a little piece of my OP.

I already apologized, now you want to pick a fight.

I see what you are made of. And all of your honesty is showing.

edit on 3-5-2013 by GrantedBail because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:42 AM
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Originally posted by iSomeone
But withholding the truth from people who do not deserve it is not being dishonest.


I see how this works by your real-world examples. Those who would do harm at the expense of someone else's honesty. No good! Thanks for pointing that out. I guess there are times when withholding the truth does serve its purpose. It comes down to making a moral decision that has to be carefully weighed. Unfortunately, this way of thinking also justifies the perpetuation of many lies.

I applaud your examples, both scriptural and real-world in relation to the subject matter. I really appreciate you taking the time to organize your thoughts and quotes into a meaningful, contributing post. May you serve as a model for other members. Keep it up

edit on 3-5-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:44 AM
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With a lot of things, I think it is useful to temper idealogy with realism.

I started out conditioned to the idea that being completely honest and spontaneous (for without spontanaety, can one be completely honest? If you take the time to change, or cover up, your most essential feelings and thoughts as they arise?). I didn't have guidance in things like cultural politess, "appropriate" responses and gestures. I tried to gleen them from things like spiritual texts.

But in reality, I ended up being someone who is honest, but others are not comfortable with!
-And in this distanced medium and our discussion of theory and idea, you could say well too bad for them!
-But you might change that attitude as soon as you are on the side of my being brutally honest with YOU.

Tact is a difficult thing to master, the word derives originally from "rythm"... and being able to enter and be part of the rythm with others.
Class also, stems from a heightened sensitivity, and being able to tell what is good to expose and relevant, and what isn't. I don't think there is a reliable rule book for these skills.

At this point in time I find the most important thing is that I am honest with myself- I do not need to tell everyone else everything. Some things I am being honest with myself about, others just don't care and don't want to hear!

But all of this is scrambled because of the subconscious.

We all have drives and motivations that exists on layers of consciousness, and can all be simultaneously true-example:

1 -I bumped into you accidently because I just wanted to grab a donut behind you,

2 -I wanted to bump into you because I wanted to hurt you,

3 -I wanted to hurt you because you treated me with distain yesterday,

4 -I felt upset when you treated me that way because of my instinctive drive to develop cooperative relations with others judges rejection as "not good"

5 - My mirror neurons and instinctive behaviors drive me to reflect behaviors back to people, as part of communication- to try to make the other feel as I feel (in this case, rejected)

6 -I wanted to create these relations with others to increase my chances of survival; both in defense against dangers, collection and hunt for food, defense of territory to inhabit, etc.



A person might be aware of only that top one, or maybe of the first two... or three... depending upon the depth of their self awareness. Yet they are all true... but truth has depths to it.

This makes the whole question rather complex - you can be as honest as you know it, and that still doesn't mean you were honest about the whole truth.

edit on 3-5-2013 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:47 AM
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Some people you just need to tell what they want to hear?

2nd?

yeah, and honesty can be blunt.

What should I say, I only read like one alinea of the OP.

I guess everbody likes me



I'll better my life, deal?


I might return here.



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:50 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


Whoa. That was really deep and I got everything you said. You are so right. There are layers of truth, and it is all dependent upon one's own perception of truth and their level of self awareness. I get that, totally.

We are as real as we think we are.

Great post. Star for you.



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:51 AM
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Originally posted by AmberLeaf

Originally posted by iSomeone
Sorry, I was running out of room.

I also wanted to point out that God hates liars so much that he states he will take action against them:

(Psalm 5:6) . . .You will destroy those speaking a lie. A man of bloodshed and deception Jehovah detests.


Notice, out of the things that God detests how many pertain to lying:

(Proverbs 6:16-19) . . .There are six things that Jehovah does hate; yes, seven are things detestable to his soul: 17 lofty eyes, a false tongue, and hands that are shedding innocent blood, 18 a heart fabricating hurtful schemes, feet that are in a hurry to run to badness, 19 a false witness that launches forth lies, and anyone sending forth contentions among brothers.


So how comes pedophilia is covered up in the church? Thats lying is it not....denying there is a problem is just as bad as saying "i didnt do it".

Why do gay Christians say they arent gay? They are lying to themselves mostly.

General reply to thread:

I love honesty, but on here for example i cannot be brutally honest or id be banned in an instant lol
edit on 3-5-2013 by AmberLeaf because: (no reason given)


You pose this question to me. Is God responsible for the Church? His word the Bible says he loves truth, and it also condemns fornication (of which pedophilia is definitely).

In fact God's word states that anyone that is a fornicator will NOT inherit God's kingdom. So I still don't see your point, except rightfully pointing out the hypocrisy of the Church.

The Bible exposes their hypocrisy, and nowhere in any scripture I quoted you does God condone the badness of the Church's dealings with people.

So why is it that you are willing to blame God for what other people do, against God's own word?

Perhaps you also did not notice this scripture I quoted Jesus as saying:

(John 8:44) . . .YOU are from YOUR father the Devil, and YOU wish to do the desires of YOUR father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of [the lie].

Do you know not of whom he was speaking?

Jesus here was talking to the religious leaders! If the Jewish religious leaders in his own day who claimed to have truth were really liars and followers of Satan the Devil, and Jesus exposed them as being such. Do you wonder that today the religious leaders of Christendom are any different?:

(2 Corinthians 11:14, 15) . . .And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. 15 It is therefore nothing great if his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. But their end shall be according to their works.


It is not anything to wonder about that these evil men try to appear as "ministers of righteousness." But get the sense of it. "Their end shall be according to their works."

It is that simple.
edit on 3-5-2013 by iSomeone because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:57 AM
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Originally posted by GrantedBail
reply to post by Bluesma
 


Whoa. That was really deep and I got everything you said. You are so right. There are layers of truth, and it is all dependent upon one's own perception of truth and their level of self awareness. I get that, totally.

We are as real as we think we are.

Great post. Star for you.


I remember reading someone someone once asking. "What is truth?" in a rhetorical way in effect stating: who can know truth?

But is truth really subjective to our own perception?

Truth is truth no matter what another perceives it to be.

I will use a simple illustration. There is a force in the universe, which we call gravity, although we really don't understand it, we know its effects. One of the effects is that if you jump off a high cliff you will fall downward until you impact against the earth and if you fall from high enough you will likely die.

If a person decides to wish not to perceive this truth, and decides that since in his mind the truth of gravity does not exist, thus it does not affect him. What do you think will happen to him after he takes a walk off that precipice?
edit on 3-5-2013 by iSomeone because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:58 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


Very insightful post. I appreciate you making the distinction between tact, class, truth, and personal honesty...all layers of the same cake, right?

I did make a clumsy attempt to distinguish truth from honesty in my OP, but I guess I took that paragraph out before posting
Thanks for picking up my slack there


Truth is multi-layered and complex, yes. And we are not always fully conscious of its entire breadth. However, honesty is something we are usually aware of. We are guided by our own standards. So, while truth is often being disputed, personal honesty is something that can find expression--and that's what I value.

Thanks again for a fulfilling post.
edit on 3-5-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



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