Tuesday, April 14, 2009

on the limb

When you are posed with a question that usually should be answered honestly, what do you do? Does answering a question honestly depend on your knowledge of what the outcomes and/or consequences will be? Does the inquiring party affect your decision to answer honestly? Does the reaction of the inquiring party or parties force you to modify your answer or response?

I have to say that all of these play a part in how we react to a question that we answer. I was recently forced to answer some questions. The questions were personal questions and they were asked of an entire group where the answers were not shared, but the answers would be information available to the instructors. I didn’t think of the ramifications of answering the questions honestly. I really didn’t think that I would be such a small percentage of the group that answered the questions honestly. I answered the questions honestly.

Do you ever feel bad about answering a question honestly when the result is you being punished, bashed, or in worse shape than you were prior to being asked the question?

I’m a somewhat intelligent person. If someone asks me a question I respond with either an answer of truth or an answer of opinion. That depends on the type of question.

Is it easier to tell someone what they want to hear? Sure it is. I mean, if you tell someone something they don’t want to hear, you have to explain yourself. Usually, that is in a specific situation. But when we’re talking about factual responses, what is the benefit of telling a lie? If you ask a group of people the same question and the group knows that the answers could get them in trouble, do you question the majority or the minority of differentiated answers? Does this make sense? Maybe not so clear.

A group of kids is caught stealing in a department store. When confronted, all of the kids says they didn’t steal anything. When confronted individually, these kids all have different answers. Two admitted to stealing and two do not admit anything. Where does the blame lay? Did all four steal or did two steal and admit they stole? Did two get off easy and two face the music? Could we ever really know unless we were there and witnessed them stealing? No.

You know what sucks about the story above? The kids that stole and admitted it are telling the truth and they are the ones who will be blamed and charged. While two kids that could of also stole are not admitting it and are being let free. Does that seem right? I don’t feel like it is, but maybe I am the dumbest intelligent person out there.

I think we’ve almost been programmed to tell the truth to a certain extent. Tell the truth until it becomes a weapon against your armor. I don’t get that logic, but why does it seem so common today? Well, I’m going to figure it out very soon. I decided to tell the truth in a very important situation and when confronted with being the small minority of people who told the truth I was also punished. Now it’s my turn. I have confronted the people who asked the questions in the first place and had one thing to ask. I asked how a small percentage of honesty can be measure by a large majority of liars?

When a lie travels through a large group isn’t it interesting how that lie starts to become the truth? I guess we’re still on the playground, but there is just so much more on the line these days.

"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple." -Oscar Wilde

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