Within the sunny little bubbled classroom of Idealism 101 it is indeed the best policy, and definitely one I TRY to subscribe to.
However, I think Gen X’ers tend to hang their hats in Cynic-ville, where most of us look at a weak statement like “best policy” and think “Says who?”, “Well, it depends on the situation” or “Fuck that, every time I’m honest with someone I get screwed over” and so on and so forth.
I mean lets look at some interesting, yet completely irrelevant best policies in the work place:
Don’t make personal calls. Don’t surf the web during work hours. Don’t date your co-workers. Don’t call your boss an asshole in front of 30 people during your first week on the job.
What?!?! Honesty is the best policy and he was being an asshole. ‘Nuff said.
But for me, the most amusing is just taking the time each day to see how people respond to the easiest of questions, “How’s it going?”
It seems that – and rightfully so -people always upgrade their day so not to seem like a drag, or a stick in the mud. I do tend to agree with this though, as the last thing I want is to share with my co-workers the fact that this morning I found out I may have hemorrhoids. Not the best “team building” exercise in my opinion. But just for a few days I’d love for people to answer me with the truth.
I’d like to walk into the office one day with a huge smile on my face, and just yell, “Good morning, how is everyone today?” And then from the depths of every cubicle hear a puke-fest of truth-telling.
“This job is stealing my soul”
“Can’t talk, watching porn”
“Today I realized I should’ve never had kids”
“I couldn’t be better, my this morning my wife finally let me use the back door”
Nevermind, that would be horrific. And I thought Facebook and blogging impaired my workday productivity. There is in fact such a thing as too much information.
But I think the TRUTH of the matter is that honesty is a great thing, and brings people closer together, but without an element of common sense can get far out of hand.
I think its somehow all rooted in our own personal fears. We’re all scared of what someone may think of us, scared of what their perceptions might be. Some of us are scared of who they are, who they might be, and what MIGHT be said about them. From your thoughts, to your actions, to your words, they’re all yours, and to have someone else pass judgment on them isn’t always gummi bears and lollipops.
But the worst part, is that we’re usually not even afraid of the tangible, definite facts, mostly just phantoms. The scenarios that exist in our own minds are the ones keeping us from saying or doing the things we’d most like to. In most cases, we’re either scared, or sometimes even terrified of being who we really are.
I think in a lot of ways honesty has taken a seat on the bench, since its really not in play as much as it should be anymore. I mean how are we as individuals supposed to grow into compassionate, wiser, more intelligent people if the whole world is one big group of yes-men. If we’re never exposed to different opinions to contrast our own there’s no way of knowing if we’re heading in the right direction or not (see: Texas).
Obviously there’s a huge gray area here, and again, like everything in life, I don’t believe anyone should speak in absolute terms; but I like to think all of us would benefit from adding at least a little more truthfulness in our lives… Honestly.