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Honesty (Introduction to the book)


As evolved creatures, we are here because of millions of years of ancestor competition. Winning that competition didn’t mean being the most straightforward - it meant surviving until your genes were passed to the next generation. Nowhere in the rulebook of evolutionary biology does it state that honesty is the prime value. Rising in hierarchies of competence, social organization, physical power, and sexual attractiveness were and are the programs we run without re ection. They are the drives that motivate us. More recent evolutes of the human brain include moral theory, lifelong aims to life, and abstract thinking such as philosophy. But the ancient evolved framework runs in the background of all human relations and affects every thought we have. To win at the evolutionary games we’re forced to play, often means losing at being tenaciously sincere. I’m suggesting turning the tables on the old game. Many of us are conscious and re ective enough to understand that there isn’t a given meaning to life - it is up to us to feel the signi cance of moments of our lives. Without honesty, we fool ourselves and others equally and miss out on where authentic communication might lead. Because the dominant games are still often won by maintaining a certain disregard for the truth, chances are, by holding honesty as the prime value, you will lose most of the human games being played at the moment. You will fail, but you will not be a failure. You will fail at what you don’t want to succeed at: deception, justi cation, obfuscation, and concealment. You will fail not with shame, but with magni cent clarity. And by desiring to be more honest, you may become more and more of exactly what you really are - a concept that will be explored in a later chapter..

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