When honesty offends

Life is impossible.

Or rather social life is impossible, because just living is relatively simple; we are surrounded by everything we “need” to live. What about what we want though? Friends, lovers, good bosses or good employees are all earned through social interaction, a skill that takes most people the first 20 years of their lives to learn; and many never quite perfect it, ever.

We are told to be fair, to be honest, to be mature and to think things through. Then we are pushed to be the best, anyway we possibly can, sometimes by humiliating our opponent and all so quickly that most of our important decisions are taken on the spot, or else we risk losing the opportunity presented.

Maybe the reason social interaction is more of an art than a science is that everybody is different and everybody then acts differently all the time, with no real pattern or rules. Why? We have emotion, and we have reason, and the two are in a constant battle for dominance. We should determine what we want with our hearts, and then how to achieve it with our minds, but there’s no switch. You can’t just turn off emotion when it would be convenient, nor can you turn off reason. Some might argue that there are ways to turn off reason, but let’s not get into recreation.

Honesty is what everybody wants, but we reward those who lie far too greatly for any real honesty to be an option. I personally subscribe to the idea that verbal communication is inherently dishonest. At best it is always inaccurate and at worst pure fabrication, but what is the difference. After all, we don’t talk to one another for the sake of understanding and being understood. Talk is to social interaction what a tennis racket is to tennis. Talk is a tool, and the way you wield it will ultimately decide the outcome.

We want honesty, but we want that honesty to be in line with what else we want, like a girl, or a friend, or a discount, or a raise. When you are in a situation to properly evaluate a socialite, verbal communication is only one of the many characteristics you rate them by, but when you just meet someone or are never really in a position to evaluate them based on verifiable facts, you have only their words.

Words are inaccurate. At best we both know the dictionary definition and at worst we associate experiences so incompatible with the same word that we argue or judge or mistake and the illusion of a communication bridge between two people seems more and more distant.

We are biased by our experiences and what truths we have accepted into our psyche. We are blind when others utter words we know we do not understand, and we are lied to when we understand something other than what the speaker intended to convey.

Honesty is in the eye of the beholder.

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