Are people claiming to be "honest" actually honest?

(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. :slight_smile: )

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?


I have a problem with running my gums and a broken down filter.

That’s why I’ve not volunteered even though I hear a calling a lot of times.

But it may not be worth it if I bring shame to my family OR have my fears of persecution with grandeur shift even one iota more to the negative.

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What do you mean by running your gums?

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It’s just another way to say you talk a lot.

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read some of this. it went over my head.

John Mayer says, Say what you Need to say.

I agree, but maybe because I’ve done too much therapy.


I think there are degrees of honesty in everyone. For example, almost everyone will lie to protect your feelings. They are also likely to defer an embarrassment from themselves in most cases, depending of course what that might be. To me, these are Little White Lies.

But when someone is dishonest, and intends to hurt or manipulate you by misleading you, that is a black lie.


Groucho Crook


Exactly. I try to be honest about most things, and I don’t lie to people, but there are plenty of situations where I don’t speak up about my thoughts. Like I won’t just flat out tell people their ideas are stupid even if that’s what I think. I won’t tell people I severely disagree with them on a political issue unless they really push it into me directly. That kind of thing.


This quote has always stuck with me.

A half-truth is darker than the blackest lie

This makes me think of politicians for the most part, telling you part of the story… Some of it true… But hiding so much of it as to obscure the truth of the matter

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I’m open and honest for the time being.
That’s why People basically are saying the words im thinking. It has happend one some occasion where People are saying Word for Word what im thinking.

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People who repeatedly say things like, swear to god or, I wouldn’t lie to you, are usually are up to their nose in ■■■■■■■■.

But course who I let into my close circle is now very selective bc of past life experience.


There is no such thing as too much therapy. :smiley:

I don’y usually go for that kind of argument but when it comes to virtue signalling I do.

Amen. ,

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I Have Found. In My Personal Point Of Breath. Existence And All Of The Prison And Freedom Therein. That!, Honesty…, Really, Truly…, Is…, The Best Policy.

I Wondered In My Elusive Past. Considering The Endless Psychological Tombstones Of Liars. Within Spheres Of Self Admitted Ignorance. ‘How Do They Sleep At Night’?.

Strangely Enough, I Had Trouble Sleeping Myself.

I Understand Thus Post May Seem Off Topic Slightly.

Jus Thought Towards The Embracing Bond Embers Of Justified Reasoning.

Where There’s A Will, There A Way. . . . . . .

Ya’know (???).


Not off topic at all. But I’m not convinced that morality has that much to do with sleep patterns.

TBH, I sometimes withhold information. Or is withholding information a form of lying?

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Maybe, but it doesn’t have to be dishonest. The kind of dishonesty that bothers me is the one rooted in bad faith or a spurious sense of moral superiority. But then again no one really likes a hypocrite.

Once you find out someone is lying to you, you lose trust in them. It’s hard to regain that trust. I see that in my kids all the time when they lie to me. Honesty is very important to me. If you lie to me all the time, I’m just never going to trust you again. That’s why I am honest. I want people to trust me.


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