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Honesty

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posted on May, 4 2013 @ 09:00 PM
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reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
 

Dear NarcolepticBuddha,

Thnk you a dozen times over. This subject is important to me, and I think, to society. It is a problem we are facing now. The idea of honesty determined by having a feeling of otherness (or unity, I forget which) then acting in accordance with how you happen to understand what's best, frightens me silly. But rather than use my unpersuasive words, allow me to copy yours.

For me, honesty is not a matter of "needs of the many." That rationale can always be used to do injustice.

No, honesty is not always about doing what's good for everybody. "Do I look fat in these jeans?" You can be honest, but tactful. Or you can be dishonest with a perceived notion of "white lie that's good for everybody."

What I value and respect, is honesty taking a precedent to "common good." Lies can also serve the "common good." Honesty serves the conscience, whiles lies cannot.
The vaguer ideal posted in this thread, is unworkable, corruptible and entirely subjective.


Thanks for presenting different scenarios in which our honesty may be tested. When it comes to examples like "Where are you hiding your family, we're going to kill them," I think people have the right to remain silent. There is no greater good in allowing harm to come to others.
And there you have the solution proposed by St. Augustine. Lying is a terrible thing to do. There are only two ethical choices when one is in a position where lying is a possibility.
1) Be honest, tell the truth, (and, yes, diplomatically is fine) or,
2) Don't say anything and take your lumps. Whatever happens then is between the bad guy and God.

This is a clear cut standard which can be explained to anyone. It is simple, clear and universal. It is not, however, always easy, but it is right.

And, yes, you are making a lot of sense. To be honest, your post is a refreshing drink of water in what is becoming a very muddy swamp.

With respect,
Charles1952

P.s. Yes, I picked up law degree, but I am not currently practicing. It has been a very interesting life. - C -




posted on May, 4 2013 @ 11:41 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 
Hello Charles.

I think you misunderstand what I am saying - I very much value honesty, and feel I am honest and trustable myself. But I also understand that surrender to, and love of, God - and recognizing my inherent unity with others - grants this trait of honesty more than anything else I have ever done on my own in order to become honest. So in this sense, I feel honesty is a result, a gift even, of such practice - not a goal to be achieved through self-effort.

Maybe the following will help clarify what I am saying. Given you are speaking of St. Augustine, I assume you also trust the teachings of Jesus? Jesus' commandments of love speak to our primary obligation to love God fully, with the whole heart, mind, soul, and strength - and one's neighbor as oneself. He did not say to first be honest, he said to love God. He also mentioned the heart first. Why do you think he did this? Because without first loving God, no one has the capacity to live completely morally, honestly, cooperatively, and as love or unity with one's neighbor. No ego is going to do this - no ego can do this.

It is only by utterly surrendering to God that one is granted this capacity to be free of selfishness. It is only by such surrender that one recognizes that God is the indivisible unity in which we all arise - not as separate, selfish egos, but in relationship, in prior unity. On this basis, we simply are moral, honest, loving, tolerant, etc. because that is what our hearts, when turned to God, are.

Best to you,
bb

P.S. I have always enjoyed your style of writing to others in the form of a letter. It seems more respectful, so I thought I would give it a try. Thanks!

edit on 4-5-2013 by bb23108 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 12:11 AM
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reply to post by bb23108
 

Dear bb23108,

Thank you, I was misunderstanding you, and I'm sorry for that. You have made it clearer to me and I appreciate the fact that you took the time to do it. I'm a little uncomfortable around the edges of your comments, but it is so small that it is not worth considering.

One of the things I like about Augustine's position is that when I'm weak, sorely tempted, or my love is temporarily wavering, he provides a guide that I can hold on to. It's a principle that I can test my conduct against when I'm uncertain (and that happens more frequently than I'd like to admit) and know that I'm on the right path still.

The same sort of thing happens in combat when a soldier is scared into a massive fecal deficiency (forgive the crudity), but his training comes through and he does the right thing anyway.

This has been a valuable lesson to me, and, again, I'm grateful to you.

With respect,
Charles1952

P.s. Thank you, I'm glad you see my writing that way. I think we need more respect for each other, here and around the world. I do have rules, though. I start adding the salutation when someone has addressed me so I have a chance to see if they are really respectable. There is only one poster that I took the salutation and signature from after horrendous behavior. Oh, and there is one other poster I avoid completely. I will not post in a thread I see he has posted in. Which only shows we can all be unreasonable at times.
- C -



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 04:59 AM
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Originally posted by charles1952
there is one other poster I avoid completely. I will not post in a thread I see he has posted in. Which only shows we can all be unreasonable at times.
- C -

(what the heck, I'll join the bandwagon..)

Dear Charles1952,

Although unintended, your remark has forced me to consider another moral dilemma. I am guilty of the behavior described above. There are a handful of members whose threads I no longer give my attention to based on their posting history and/or thread history.

If someone has a predictable, well-established pattern of lying, do we not learn to protect ourselves from their dishonesty?

If someone has a predictable, well-established pattern of making unfavorable posts, should we not learn, adapt, and ignore?

This is akin to the "boy who cried wolf" moral. Now, by refusing to acknowledge the posts of members we may find unfavorable we are, in effect, standing idly by as they are eaten by the wolf.

How honest can we be if we're not giving someone a chance for redemption? Conversely, where is the line drawn when someone has betrayed our trust in them? Does it take X amount of times before we put an end to the pattern? Is it based on the degree of our emotional response?

Although I did not expect my thoughts to arrive at this destination when I began writing, I think there is a moral responsibility to give these posters a second chance, lest we feed them to the wolves. Would we not want others to give us a second chance?

Interesting how a thread based on the concept of "honesty" has led me to dwell on the concept of "forgiveness."


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



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 01:04 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 

Originally posted by charles1952
One of the things I like about Augustine's position is that when I'm weak, sorely tempted, or my love is temporarily wavering, he provides a guide that I can hold on to. It's a principle that I can test my conduct against when I'm uncertain (and that happens more frequently than I'd like to admit) and know that I'm on the right path still.
Dear Charles1952,

Well said! That is what is useful about various formal principles for living rightly and lawfully. Of course these moral principles relative to our behavior, honesty, unnecessary violence, etc., are required, but what I was getting at, is that if we put these rules for behavior first and foremost and try to perfect them (e.g., honesty), this will not be possible because no ego is capable of perfecting one's behavior.

However, when in any moment we really put our love relationship to God first, then our lives become inherently moral (in the moment of this turning) because that is how the heart in love with God simply lives. It is the "easy" way, so to speak - as opposed to endlessly trying to discipline ourselves into some kind of perfection in the future.

And, as you rightly point out, during those times when our primary relationship to God is not so obvious, then these formal moral principles provide the tangible basis for living rightly during those "darker" times.

Thank you.

bb

edit on 5-5-2013 by bb23108 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 05:04 PM
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reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
 

Dear NarcolepticBuddha,

I can't come up with an answer that satisfies me, but I'll give you a little more background. (And no, the additional info doesn't make me look good.)

In a thread, a member, who is still active, called me a liar. I responded that I didn't think it was a lie, provided my source, and explained that while I might be mistaken, I wasn't lying. He repeated the charge, and I told him I thought he was being too harsh in his characterization. The charge was repeated again. I told him my reputation for honesty was very important to me and I wanted an apology. He refused. I became furious and complained to the Mods, vehemently. Then I sat back, asked myself what in Hell (and I mean that literally) was going on, and I left ATS for about three days to calm down. (No, there never was an apology.)

It may very well be irrational and mentally unhealthy, but I still want to have nothing to do with him. It certainly doesn't hurt him, it may even be hurting me, I don't know. But the sins of pride and anger are at play in this one particular case. Honestly, I can understand that God would not want me until I resolve this matter.

If someone has a predictable, well-established pattern of lying, do we not learn to protect ourselves from their dishonesty?
You are correct. There are a number of people I like, but don't trust their word in the slightest. That's reasonable self-defense.

If someone has a predictable, well-established pattern of making unfavorable posts, should we not learn, adapt, and ignore?
Absolutely correct again. A large percentage of posters (Myself included?) rarely have anything of value to say on any subject. They're like dust on the TV set, a minor annoyance, but nothing to worry about.


This is akin to the "boy who cried wolf" moral. Now, by refusing to acknowledge the posts of members we may find unfavorable we are, in effect, standing idly by as they are eaten by the wolf.

How honest can we be if we're not giving someone a chance for redemption? Conversely, where is the line drawn when someone has betrayed our trust in them? Does it take X amount of times before we put an end to the pattern? Is it based on the degree of our emotional response?
Magnificent question. Because of my emotional involvement, I'm not sure I'm thinking clearly here. Does the offender need to take the first step? Does he know that he's wronged someone? Has the effort for reconciliation been made? What about forgive "seventy times seven."

And, as you say, what is meant by forgiveness? Cleanse our heart, then go on? Tell the person he's forgiven? If the offense was public, should the forgiving be made public?

A wonderful, thought provoking, post. As I've said, I'm not clear on my thinking and would appreciate any help.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 05:09 PM
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I always try to be honest. It feels great when I tell the truth, I have a warm feeling inside.

And I always loved that Picard video about the truth, though I haven't watched it in some times, so thanks for reminding me how awesome it is.



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 11:22 PM
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reply to post by extraterrestrialentity
 


It's a brilliant episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation titled "The First Duty." It should be available on Netflix from what I hear.

It's a powerful episode with a powerful message. Picard is one of my role-models, as embarrassing as that is to admit. I later learned about truth and its importance while living life and practicing compassion.



posted on May, 6 2013 @ 12:31 AM
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Originally posted by NarcolepticBuddha
reply to post by extraterrestrialentity
 


It's a brilliant episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation titled "The First Duty." It should be available on Netflix from what I hear.

It's a powerful episode with a powerful message. Picard is one of my role-models, as embarrassing as that is to admit. I later learned about truth and its importance while living life and practicing compassion.



Loved that episode. Wesley was part of a conspiracy to cover up the death of a friend, and then Picard starts lecturing him about the truth.

Don't mean to go off topic, but I couldn't resist talking about Star Trek.



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