To Be Perfectly Honest About Honesty
More than once in the last week I have heard people say “Well, to be perfectly honest,…” and then some kind of backhanded insult telling me I shouldn’t wear stripes and polka dots together. Fashion fascists.
It was the first part of the sentence that got me thinking (mostly because I was on a chocolate danish sugar high). Why do we even say ‘to be perfectly honest’? The implications for human society are staggering. Ok, to be perfectly honest, that last sentence was hyperbole multiplied by a billion.
It’s a curious turn of speech, “to be perfectly honest” since it implies most of the time we as gum-flapping, bi-pedal bags of genetic material are being dishonest. A lot. And that means there’s a whole lot of lying going on. Which leads to mayhem. As well as electing mentally ill leaders to our respective corrupted democracies.
Without any scientific proof, or even an online degree in scientific proofery (it’s a real degree, I swear) I honestly believe we like being lied to so we don’t have to deal with any more stress than we already do. Oh sure, we get upset when we find out we have been lied to, but we have built in many layers of psychological protection to deal with all the dishonesty that is daily life.
It’s not just humans who lie, animals do it too, but for different reasons, like not wanting to get eaten. Many an animal will change its skin color or pattern so the larger thing with teeth doesn’t eat it. But it’s a form of a lie, mostly for self-preservation.
Humans need self-preservation skills, and being perfectly honest is not one that is conducive to making money on the stock market, having a successful marriage or getting elected to any position from dog catcher to president. Being perfectly honest in marriage and politics especially is a recipe for disaster.
Can you imagine telling your significant other he/she/it/they/thy/them looks like a dishevelled sack of discarded toilet tissue when they show you that article of clothing they bought online thinking it would make them look younger/thinner/cooler/hipper when in reality they really look like a dishevelled sack of discarded toilet tissue? Me neither.
Lying & Human Organs
If you ask any random passers-by if they would be willing to commit an act of charity that would save a life, most of them would probably say yes, providing you didn’t ask the aforementioned passers-by while they were in the changing room at the Victoria’s Secret store (Yes, I am obeying the court order, all right!)
Now if you asked those same passers-by if they have signed their organ donor cards, most of them would say yes and be lying to you. The second they think they’d have to give up a brain, a kidney, or a nipple – posthumously – they’d hide their heads in shame knowing they want to keep their organs.
Same goes for money-making. If someone said you could earn millions of dollars selling your kidney, you’d say No way! But if the question were you could earn millions of dollars selling somebody ele’s kidney, particularly that of your boss, you’d say “where’s the scalpel?” Now that to me is being perfectly honest.
On a side note, I skilfully slid in the human organs reference because it’s in the comic that no one reads, and I have a pretty odd idea how to work it into the next issue. It’ll be a doozy. Trust me, I am being perfectly honest here.
Dr. Mendacious Schopenhauer Druker