Maybe one of the hardest thing in the world to be is honest. Not to shade anything. Not to take away any part you don’t like or to add to any part you do like.
TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. There are over 900 Ted Talk videos on www.youtube.com. They range over a huge array of different subjects such as :
art–brain–channel–dance–education–food–gratitude–happiness–introvert–jill bolte taylor–kidney–motivation–neuroscience–octopus–play list–quantum physics–religion–sixth sense–technology–universe–vulnerability–women–x–yoga–zimbardo
You can find talks on failure, orgasms, public speaking, puppets, and weight. You can also find talks about apples, lies, regret, and youth.
But what you can not find is a talk on honesty.
On Google if I search “honesty” I am rewarded with 18,200,000 possible places I can click to read about honesty.
Wikipedia describes honesty as “a facet of moral character and denotes positive, virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, and straightforwardness along with the absence of lying, cheating, or theft.”
So why can I find over 18 million clicks on Google, but absolutely nothing on TED whose very reason to exist is to present Ideas Worth Spreading? Isn’t honesty an Idea Worth Spreading?
Perhaps it is easier to write about honesty than it is to get up in front of a room full of people with the video cameras rolling and talk about honesty. It might be somewhat less stressful to stroke the keyboard than it is put our face before a possible audience of several hundred thousands and be identified with honesty.
Or it might be none of the above. It might be something entirely different. But I wonder what?
All of us have had the experience of seeing something advertised, but once we’ve purchased it, found it not to be exactly the wonder product we expected.
We’ve all been faced with situations where we have manipulated the truth to the point where CSI couldn’t reconstruct the case.
Let me be more personal, I have lied about stuff for no apparent reason. Once when I was working with a gigantic manufacturing firm I made the mistake of slamming down a container of loose parts. One of the parts bounced up and struck me in the nose causing me to look like an animal had been slaughtered on my face. Blood was everywhere. A co-worker immediately came up to render assistance and asked the obvious, “What happened?” My answer was somewhat less obvious, “I don’t know.” The co-worker looked at me like I had lost my mind. How could blood be running down my face and soaking my shirt without me having the faintest idea why? Then the plant manager came over and said, “What happened?” Once again rather than say the obvious, which was I had stupidly slammed down the parts resulting in the temporary rearrangement of blood flow from the inside of my body to the outside, I said, “I dunno.”
Years later I came clean to all the participants in this escapade and admitted I was just too embarrassed at my own ignorance to be honest. We all laughed and each one told similar stories of lying through their teeth rather simply admitting they had been careless.
Yet how indignant I can become when a giant corporation tries to put one over on us trusting customers. Or let a politician be anything less than completely honest and I am on the soapbox proclaiming a need for honesty in Washington, now.
I can’t rail against the crimes of others until my own house becomes slightly more law-abiding. So this is the beginning of my one man crusade to improve my own small bit of humanity. I am going to tell the truth. In a future blog I am going to talk about how telling the truth is like brain surgery, but for now just let me say it begins totally with me.
Of course, I am praying my little heart out that my wife does not ask me about the new makeup she bought.