Archive for the ‘I want’ Category

Honestistan, my Utopia

If I could design my ideal world, the first trait (maybe even the only one) that I would choose for its inhabitants would be full honesty – towards the others and towards oneself. I’ve noticed that, although it’s seemingly a clear concept, honesty is understood in different ways by different people, so here I am explaining my own understanding of it.

First, does honesty mean saying everything that goes through our minds? Some people say it does. But I agree with others, who state that believing all you say is being honest, while saying all you believe is just being boring.

I also don’t think that we have a duty to tell each other everything; if I ask you about something that you don’t want to share with me, it’s perfectly honest of you to say “I don’t want to talk about this”.

Second, is honesty all that beneficial that it would set a good base for a Utopia? What if people just start insulting each other and passing judgmental remarks in the name of honesty? That would surely create damaging conflicts, not solve them, wouldn’t it? Indeed, that’s not the kind of world I dream of. Then again, it’s also not quite what I understand by full honesty.

If my position towards you is a judgmental one and I express it just like that, that’s partial honesty. Honesty towards you, cause I’m speaking my mind – at least what’s on the surface of it. But whenever I’m in this position, I lack some deeper honesty towards myself, cause I’m ignoring something about my own role in the situation.

In any relationship, each of those involved is responsible for his or her part of the interaction. So if a problem arises and I blame it all on you (because “you’re mean”, or “you’re stupid”, or “you’re deceiving me” etc.), I’m implicitly denying the contribution that I have for the current state of our relationship.

Or if I’m judging you for something that does not directly affect me (for example, if you like some books or movies that I don’t, is it really any of my business to judge your taste?) maybe I’m hiding from myself the fact that I need to strengthen my ego and this is the real reason why I’m looking to compare myself to other persons whom I can find inferior by some criteria that is relevant to me. So the actual problem is my own insecurity, but I turn it into your problem by focusing on your taste in books or movies.

Or if I’m judging you based on your race, social or economic status etc., maybe I’m just using my negative opinion of you to cover the fear I feel when I’m among people from your social group (this scene from the movie “12 Angry Men” gives a clear illustration of judgmental anger unfolding into the fear that lays underneath).

You might say that talking about all this is much easier than actually behaving like that; and I agree. If Honestistan existed, would I be ready to live there? I’m sure I wouldn’t be an ideal citizen. I’m also sure that I want to get as close as humanly possible to being that kind of person. And the people I enjoy the most are those who also value this kind of honesty. So I’ll keep developing in that direction, hoping that in this way I can build my own little – inherently imperfect – version of the land of deep honesty.