Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about truth. Specifically, the importance of honesty. You know that proverb, “honesty is the best policy”? Whoever came up with it was on to something. Honesty is a good thing; it allows you fully express your perspective and hopefully influence other people in a positive way. Lying requires effort; not only do you have to craft something that seems believable, but you have to carry it with you. Those extra bits don’t seem to weigh much on your conscience and mind, but they add up. Trust me, I know all about it. That depression thing you keep hearing about on the news? Yeah, that’s me. Maybe it’s you, too. It devoured me from the inside out, and yet for years I had the witty, smiling, snarky persona down perfectly. Seriously, I fooled everyone. By the time I got help for it, I was reduced to a nervous wreck. Not just because I was stressed and angry, but because I’d become too exhausted to keep the lie – and my life – going anymore. Admitting and dealing with it was what kick-started my desire to see myself and world on my terms.
Oh, if only it were that simple.
Honesty is the best policy…as long as it doesn’t present a danger to yourself and others. Imagine you know a secret that meant the deaths of countless people if revealed. Let’s say you’re in the military and get captured by enemy forces. Are you going to spell out the logistics and tactical information to your captors, resulting in the annihilation of your comrades? If you’re a secret agent, you’re not going to walk in and say, “Hey, I’m a spy! Can I see your plans?” If you’re trying to bluff your way out of a situation – be it poker or any other appropriate metaphor – you’ll have to lie. You know how some people wait years to come out of the closet? There’s a plethora of reasons for that. In a perfect world in which everyone was accepted and worked toward the betterment of humanity, lies wouldn’t necessary.
But they are, and I hate that.
Lies can save lives, too. Take Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat in Budapest circa 1944. He raised enough money to rent 32 buildings and have them protected with diplomatic immunity. Not only did he manage to fool the authorities, but he housed nearly 10,000 people. He even intercepted a train carrying Jewish prisoners to Auschwitz and handed out as many fake passports as he possibly could. While guards were shooting at him, even. Those who had his documents – again, not legit – were allowed off the train. The deception was so huge and ridiculous, but it worked. And Wallenberg wasn’t the only one; World War II had resistance efforts all over the place. Countless lives were saved, and all because people were willing to lie and fight to protect others.
So, I guess it’s really a matter of balance and context. Honesty is the best policy. You should always strive to find the truth and benefit from it; that’s the point of learning. You need honesty to develop as an individual. Most people appreciate honesty, and it leads to a healthier and more productive life. But if you can’t be honest, then lie for the right reasons. Do it help others, not hurt. Just don’t rely on deception too much. After a while, the only one you’ll fool is yourself.
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