Just how much truth is too much truth?
After watching last Monday's House MD episode, "The Social Contract", I got to thinking about life and truth and lies and social contracts...
I'm not going to spoil the episode (I'm only going to suggest people to watch it), but I am going to try to come up with an answer to the eternal question: just how honest is too honest?
I consider myself an honest person, as honest as one can be, actually.
For one, I don't out right lie, I don't say I think your shoes are pretty if I think they're ugly, maybe, though I could think they're pretty one day, and a year later I could change my mind and think they're rather ugly, can't say it hasn't happened, but that's changing my opinions, evolving, growing, if I were consistent throughout my entire life, there would be no growth and that is actually quite a depressing thought.
But as far as honesty goes, as far as saying everything that is in your head, I just don't think that's possible, I don't think society is ready for that yet. I sure do it with my husband (in fact, I fell in love with him because he not only put up with my brutal honesty, but he was also very appreciative of it), but it seems like the more you are open about your feelings, the more people are likely to shut you down and consider you someone they do not want to be around.
The question is, though, how much of that 'not saying what's in your mind' is actually lying, and how much of it is just part of the social contract?
See, I think you're lying if you say something you know isn't true, but sometimes, the social contract forces you to shut up about things that are actually true. Is hiding the truth a form of lying? Not at all. Sometimes you just shouldn't tell your wife you think she's not the brightest bulb in the box, or sometimes you shouldn't tell your daughter that you think she's less smart than average (I know I said I wouldn't spoil it, and I hope that's not more than you were willing to know about the episode), and maybe you do think it, but you're not saying it, because you know it isn't correct, because you know nothing good will come out of it. But which is it that makes you a horrible person: feeling it or acting up on it?
Well, a part of me wants to believe there are no bad people, but that just ain't so, so let's just go on the basis that some people are good people, and some people, well, they're not.
There's someone who repeatedly tells me "Everybody has had bad feelings, that doesn't make them a bad person", well, really? Are we not bad people if we have bad feelings? Are we better people if we do
feel those things, but just censor them, just keep them in deep enough that they don't come out and make us act on them? I don't think so.
I think what makes you a good person is not whether you say those things or not, it's whether you feel them or not. What comes out of your mouth is completely irrelevant compared to what is in your heart.
What's the use in doing good actions, if they're based off of bad feelings? What's good about a person who feels envy, desires revenge, wishes bad onto others, but then doesn't do anything that will reveal they feel that way? Would they be good just cause they're good at hiding just how bad they really are?
No, in my opinion, you're good if you're good inside, and you're bad if you're bad inside. It's easy as math. Sometimes good intentions hurt others, sometimes good feelings have bad consequences, that doesn't make a good person bad, so why should it go the other way around?
I know we have no way of knowing other people's feelings, all we can base ourselves on is their actions, but actions are controlled by the mind, feelings are not. Actions can be dishonest, feelings can't. So the answer to my question about whether it is feeling a certain way or saying it that makes you a bad person is a very easy one: with or without the social contract, with or without the control of our mind over our words, we can be good or we can be bad, so why bother shutting up?
Society forces people to censor themselves. Would the world be better if we all had frontal lobe damage? Yes, I absolutely believe it would be better, so let's all grab hammers and start banging each other in the forehead with them...