How Honest Can You Be? (2)

“Friends are honest with each other. Even if the truth hurts.
― Maggie

The discussion on ‘How Honest can You Be? (1) has gotten us all in a twist. It seems to me that some things we assume are normal understandable concepts are, when you come down to it, not as agreed upon as we think (at least all our lovely contributors to our last post last post will agree).

When you talk about honesty, we automatically bring the question of truth into account. We can agree that being honest is, at the very least, telling the truth (although for Bassey, honesty has more to do with what you want to achieve than what is true. We'll get back to that later). Therefore, if we're going to discuss honesty, we have to at least discuss what truth is.

 So what is truth? Someone would go “brrr kani, you can twist us with honesty, but truth? Be real”. But unfortunately, truth is not as simple as it sounds. In my first year in university, my philosophy lecturer made me understand that the meaning of truth is actually under dispute. According to great thinkers there are three theories of truth; correspondence, pragmatic and coherence (hold onto your hats! We’re still together).

Correspondences believe truth is whatever that is line with reality. Like one of our contributors 'Integrity' who believes that truth is reality and any divergence from it is a lie. In other words, if you say the sky is blue and you look up, the sky should be blue. Pragmatics are like Tolu in our story and Bassey, yet again one of our contributors, who believe truth is whatever works, that truth is what makes life livable and successful. Bassey feels to be insincere in business is allowed because what is most important in business is success. So if been dishonest will help you succeed, then it is practically ok. Coherence propents are a bit philosophical (weird actually). For them, truth is anything that agrees with all other things and a lie is something that even though it may make sense, does not agree with something else that is true. Hey! Don’t look at me that way, I didn’t postulate it, I’m just reporting.

The second challenge with our topic is with the word reality. The dictionary and every right thinking person defines truth as “that which conforms to reality” or “the true state of reality” but we back up a tree when we realize that ‘reality’ means different things to different people. Reality to a religious fanatic is whatever his belief says is true; whether it’s that killing innocent people is a righteous act or that the human body is only a suit to a hard core scientist who believes in atoms and molecules, but disagrees that there are spirits and afterlife. Alright, you may think this is all basic, but there are underlining beliefs that carve your own reality. Example, a spoilt child who grew up believing she can get anything she wants because everyone is in love with her, moving around with a sense of walking in the cloud and believing everyone is nice and a boy who grew up on the street, fending for himself believing that the world is a cut throat kill before you are killed system and that you have to generally be aggressive to survive will both have different definitions truth. Catastrophe is if they happen to date each other, and the girl sees the guy as a knight in shining amour while the guy thinks she’s a ticket out of poverty.

If we have so many different personal views, how then do we come up with the notion of truth that we all have in common, which seem to be the same everywhere, truths that we learnt in moral education at schools, even TV shows like Sesame Street and tales by moonlight”. There are certain society accepted moral codes that seem to permeate all culture and religion, they serve as bedrock for what is generally known as truth. Our personal convictions now determine how we define and respond to these universal moral codes.

Kani, this was meant to be a simple and fun discussion among friends (I thought so too), what are all these codes and diverse realities? (Sounds like a scene from matrix), but I know that if we want to understand how we interpret honesty, we must first be able to answer two pertinent questions; 'what is my reality?' and 'what do I understand as truth?'. Think about how you live your life and answer these questions, not just what you have been taught at school or church, but what you have come to accept in practice.

“To conceal anything from those to whom I am attached, is not in my nature. I can never close my lips where I have opened my heart.
― Charles Dickens

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a writer, entrepreneur, blogger, public speaker and an all-round knowledge junkie who likes to view life from different angles.

1 comment:

  1. *yawns*almost slept off but thank God I didn't.quite revealing.saying most times is highly overrated. ONA