Is honesty the best policy?
Work By Wilfred Kalf http://www.wilfredkalf.nl
What is still honest?
Honest to goodness? We are surrounded by deception. We were dropped into it by our parents and with so much deception around us it is hardly surprising that we cannot see it. Psychology claims that you accept everything that was here before you were born and question everything that came after that. A sweeping statement perhaps, but it is a lot more right than it is wrong.
Conventions for where we live, sleep, eat and breathe and how we interact with our peers (also equally well-fooled) guide us through life. If we had to question everything around us, it would take an inordinate amount of time just to get out of bed in the morning, never mind navigate the rest of the day. Sometimes people are confronted by things in life that coerce them to question a convention and they change their religious beliefs, work, eating habits or relationships. Many say they came to the realisation that things could be different, but they had to wait until they felt confident enough to shed the harness they were wearing. But rarely does anyone say they suddenly realised that they had been deceived. Honesty can be difficult.
Perhaps deception is more closely tied to not losing face than we realise. Admitting that you were hoodwinked into complying with a tradition or convention that you now believe is foolish is not easy.
If and when we are conned we usually feel a need to justify the deception, in terms of its level of complication, so that at least we feel personally that we did not lose face. Just look at on-line reviews. They are generally polarised into fans and haters – one star or five. After all, who wants to be thought of as a fool, least of all by themselves.
Even though we accept deception as a matter of course, when we encounter honesty we instantly recognise it for what it is. When someone creates an object that is what it appears to be, is simply beautiful and quietly comforting, it possesses an inherent honesty. Which makes it remarkable in today’s world. Honestly, is that too much to ask?