On Honesty

On Honesty

Updated: Mar 5


Honesty is a form of bravery; it’s the courage to speak up your truth while not being intimidated by what it that expression may lead to due to the response of others. It’s a risk that we take to either be more understood by others or as a form of catharsis, of relieving oneself out of a burden they have yet to confess about.


Depending on what the content of the honest expression is, the response to it may change in accordance to the nature of the people and in accordance to how they receive and understand your honest words.


Regardless, honesty is usually very appreciated trait in a person, because people usually appreciate honesty and disdain from intentional pretentiousness. There are, however, cases where honesty can work against your benefit if your honest words may make the environment cause you harm of any sort, depending of course on the environment at hand. Therefore, even if pretentiousness is disdained, there are, unfortunately, cases where it’s better to tell a “white lie” than the truth.


North Korea, for example, forces its citizenry to admire and glorify the current supreme leader of the country, and whenever that leader dies, they are forced to cry, even if they don’t really admire the leader and even if they don’t really feel like crying. In such country those who are honest against what the system dictates to say and behave, they are likely to either be executed or be sent to a concentration camp. If I’m not mistaken, their families also receive punishment.


And while most of us don’t have to suffer the punishment of honesty that is against the “system”, there are still, unfortunately, cases where the honest person is either bullied, stalked, harassed, whether it’s online or in real life, and even be the victim of death threats from anonymous callers, simply for expressing their personal truths. Therefore there are some people who won’t go as far as expressing their thoughts and opinions in public, as they either fear or don’t want to be victimized and/or be put to shame by those who don’t want people that think differently than them in their own and their society’s lives.


The various possibilities of consequences can indeed show in theory that honesty is a form of bravery, whether that bravery is smart or counter-productive. It’s an interpersonal bravery to put your words out there and risk being on the receiving end of a toxic treatment, whether you’re in a totalitarian dictatorship, in a democracy, or on the internet.


However, as long as you’ll surround yourself with caring, tolerant and non-dangerous people, as much as you realistically can, you can increase the possibility that others will appreciate you for being honest with them and with yourself, rather than being cursed or bullied by those who dislike honesty that goes against their own, at least according to them.

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© 2019 Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosopher