(Disclaimer: This may or may not have anything to do with well-known public figures. Whatever the case please let’s not turn this into a political discussion. )
I’ve always been wary of self-styled “no-nonsense people” that in blurting out the unfiltered contents of their minds believe they have stumbled upon a higher moral truth. You could almost hear them claim they are being “virtuous at first sight”. How does someone become this honest? I know of at least 3 theories:
- The “Gay Radar Writ Large (GRWL for short)” theory, which emphasises the salience of learned moral infallibility through hard won, seemingly non-tranferable, life experiences.
- The “Elephant in the Room” theory. According to its proponents, “honesty” is acquired through the iterated process of looking for the elephant in the room the person finds herself in at that moment and then proceed to name it to all and sundry. “Follow the elephant” is this school’s motto.
- The “Naked Emperor” theory. There is no reason why the budding moralist should cease to see naked emperors as he grows up. “In the land of the blind the impetuous judge of men is king” sums up this glum philosophy.
I’m not suggesting that all “honest” people are in actual fact dishonest, rather, that an honest look at the quality of the honesty of people claiming “to be honest” should probably yield the 3 following observations:
- Self-referential, self-serving definitions of “honesty” are almost invariably unsound and ultimately rooted in vanity (when not hubris) and lack of insight into the complex and multidimensional nature of honesty.
- People claiming “to be honest” are also claiming “to be right”. To them (the naked emperor seers) both statements are virtually interchangeable. An “honest” person will not admit to being wrong anymore than they would ever admit to being dishonest.
- People “being honest” assume those around them, whether through gullibility or excess of good manners, are somehow less honest than themselves.
What are your experiences with not-so-honest people?