Honesty: how self-deception robs us of meaning
Excerpt from my soon to be released book:
This book is about being more honest, not about finding The Truth. There's a reason for this. Looking for the truth can be a way out of having to be honest with ourselves on a daily basis. Once the final truth has been found, in the form of The One in a romantic relationship, The One in a religion or any other field of endeavor, we feel we can relax knowing the work has been done - and often by somebody or something else. In contrast, being honest isn't a final destination, it is a process by which we engage with even apparently insignificant moments. It is a process of deconstruction in which we expose our vested interests rather than cater to them. It is a process that can be uncomfortable, and can threaten the structures in our lives that are woven together by the warp and weft of incentives and fears.
No absolute promises as to the utility or benefit of this process will be made - that would be dishonest. There is every possibility that when you start to become more honest with yourself, it will affect those around you. It might seem that more honesty would be a clear benefit that others would enjoy, but as this book will make clear, in almost every aspect of our lives, being dishonest is the expected norm. Honesty is the wrench thrown into a dishonest system. Rather than the system grinding to a halt, you might find yourself thrown out of the dishonest system or relationship. This will be a great relief on one level, and as the tool of honesty grows sharper and you use them with ever-growing skill, being consciously dishonest will grow more painful and may be eventually impossible for you. I say this by way of both warning and encouragement, for I wish to live in a more honest world, and to the degree that you choose to become more honest, you'll add integrity to the human domain.
Another warning: I'm a selfish person. My sense organs orient me in such a way that I feel I am the center of the universe. North, East, South and West all radiate out from the center-line of my body, no matter where I go. My two eyes and two ears place "me" right in the middle of the stereo spectrum. My memories, aspirations, loves and hates are patterns that live and die in me. As a selfish person, I tend to justify my actions and desires so as to make them palatable to others, for I want the friendship and love that other people provide. Because I want the richest possible relationships, I am also motivated to confess my selfish nature to others. I want to have the most interesting conversations, I want to laugh at the complexity of my own unconscious duplicity, and I want to be appreciated for who I actually am. The only way to do that is to be transparent to the degree I'm able to, and let the relationships that require opacity fall away.
There is no reason to think any of us will get more than just this one life to live. I want to optimize my experiences, to feel what's happening now and reflect upon what happened without hiding from life. To identify stories that try to explain away sorrow, grief or loss as what they are - stories. I desire to watch the drama unfold in its entirety without looking away from the stage. Honesty is the seat that faces the drama - the best seat in the house.