on honesty


Someone who used to bask in the commitment with honesty told me how a lot of people are vain and pretentious. She pointed out to me, at different junctures of our time together, the behaviors and the intentions of these people, which are not very much far from the tragedy accentuated and hyperbolized in shows such as Arrested Development. Of course people aren’t so dumb in real life, but they are equally pretentious.

Someone else who used to influence my thoughts a lot pointed to me the subtleties of beauty and life, and at the same time she balked at the people who carry on their lives without the slightest hinst of these subtleties. In doing so, she created a hierarchy of sorts, between the ones who perceived the subtle, and the ones who could only do so in shorter bursts. She spoke of sincerity as if it is a badge to be worn.

I am dishonest. I break things. I am insensitive. I am at times quiet and indulgent and prone to ignorance. energetic things carry me away from seeing the darker spots. But aren’t we all human enough to have done this numerous times?

Water logic is illogical. Water logic has no compartment for definitions, distinctions. It flows from one end to the other. Categories are just placeholders for feelings.

the one who speaks often of honesty is dishonest in their relations to others. They are also quite dishonest when it comes to things inexpressible in words.


Author: oligothoughts

poetic hermit

6 thoughts on “on honesty

  1. honesty carries a moral value. I prefer genuine.


    • or rather, just being as it is.


      • doesn’t this carry a moral value too?


      • Hmm, when I say moral, I mean something that is prescriptive, condescending. Good vs bad. Honesty implies that you have to be good (I think of honor), otherwise you wouldn’t disclose yourself. But “being as it is” is rather descriptive. If you’re a liar then lying is authentic to you. But maybe my preference for it over honesty is also a prescription.


      • My concern with being “as is”, or any sort of labeling for that matter, is that it ultimately categorizes people into types, as in as-is and not-as-is. Categories can very quickly become hierachies, without clarification and discussion. It is a quite messy endeavor. This is the limits of Western scholarship: to begin with defining things, setting up an artificial order, sometimes in places where every concept, every word, are like adjacent water tanks waiting for the walls to break down and for the water to mix all over. The walls are then quite artificial.

        My exercise of words then comes naturally with a need to be self-contradictory, so meaning can be retrieved quicker, and wordlessly. This is what the monks do with zen koans (and Alice in Wonderland, oh I wonder how). Smart, but to some this is also thrifty (coming back to that point about saying what you mean, which is kind of equivalent to honesty/ being as-is).

        Let’s start over. Say you do not go with a constructive process in using language, i.e. you can say things without attachment to the words, you say them without a concrete definition, but more as pointers to a supposed deeper and more integrated meaning that go beyond the word itself. You don’t define it, you accept that it could be a reference to everything- “happiness” can be “joy” (specialization), “smiles” (example), “love” (transcendence), or even “sadness” (sarcasm, or simply following the contention that opposites exist for each other). Then look at honesty, honesty must also imply dishonesty, but you are saying “honesty” to point more strongly to one aspect of the collective integrated meaning. This is okay, I suppose. This is actually the only reason I can bring up to justify my using of words to discuss with you, or writing blog posts, or writing anything for that matter. This is making sure that the water tanks are still in the shape of water tanks, but now the compartments are connected with “tubes”, so water flows everywhere.

        Here is where we become aware of the imperfection and artificiality of language as we use it in our daily life. In a sense, we are embracing our artificiality and its very opposite- natural and organic. This is the human experience, to define himself as separate and different from nature and creation, and yet having to come to terms with how he is indeed part of nature and creation.

        Interesting how you bring up the prescriptive v. descriptive split. I guess there is a subtle difference, between these two. Maybe every single term has a built-in moral value to it, depending on their intertextuality. This is not new. People talk about histories that make the word. When one looks into your preference, suppose as-is is also prescriptive, but in a milder sense. But I am going to point out that even being as-is does require the existence of the label “honesty”; “things you can describe as it is” imply an honest evaluation of what as it is could mean.

        Then again, in terms of intertextuality, “as it is” does have milder tones and milder prescriptions than those of honesty. The word honesty does not imply moral values, the moral values only come up because we ascribe morality to honesty as we use it. One water tank is closer to the other.
        Thanks for speaking your mind. (see what I did there)


  2. But I agree with you on this “the one who speaks often of honesty is dishonest in their relations to others”. Same thing with authenticity, or being genuine. It’s something unaware (I guess). The moment you start talking about it, you lost it.


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