On a scale of 10, tell me how honesty do you think the average person is? How often do you think people will chose the right thing to do over the wrong but beneficial thing? Take for example the case of a businessman who has to choose between palming off old groceries that he has lying around and sending fresh goods in a home delivery order. Or the young executive who finds it very hard to resist making an inflated travel voucher- a little extra money to party with or may be save up for the girl friend’s gift. Or the lady who wants to get on the good side of her mother in law and has the option of resorting to spinning untrue stories about her sister in law to get there. What do you think these people usually do? Listen to their conscience, if indeed they do have one, or do what they think meets their immediate purpose? More money, a better life style, social standing, a good impression on people in positions of power- how do people weigh all this against honesty?
Being honest all the time is hard, I wont denying that. As wonderful a value as it is, it doesn’t seem to pay much. Not immediately at least. I mean look around. How many people do you know who are dreadfully honest in their personal, professional and social lives and are materially prosperous too? Not too many. I can count a few- it’s a small number, not a very impressive. But I am very happy that I can count at least a few. How many people do you see who are either entirely dishonest or moderate how honest they are depending on how desperately they want something seem to be getting the better of life. The painfully honest person at work is often the one who works the hardest and doesn’t always get the highest increments. Those who smooth talk and butter up the boss, say the right thing at the right time, get promotions and increments on with shocking frequency. They may be a pain as colleagues and may perform at sub-optimal level at work, but merely on the basis of skills other than those they were hired for, they get ahead of others.
How hard is it to be lured to ditch honestly for short term benefits? From what I see and hear, very. So is honestly a value of the past? One that doesn’t work too well in the future? One that needs to be replaced by a newer kind of “value”? A “value” that says it’s ok to be dishonesty as long as it gets you where you want to be. I hope to God not.