By Mark Antony Rossi
If you poll the majority of people you meet they will swear to heaven that honesty is the most important trait they seek in friendships and relationships but later you discover many consider whistle blowers dishonorable characters and most use privacy and painful pasts as justification for less than honest conduct.
What is actually at play during this obvious contradiction of words and deeds? I rule out hypocrisy only because it inaccurately paints with a broad brush. Social complications are rarely explained with psycho-ethical tag lines. What often occurs with honesty is people demand it as a means of security but usually don’t return it for nearly the same reason.
The subject of whistle blowing requires deeper inspection due to multi-layered responses that frequently reflect cultural backgrounds and possibly cinematic influences. Many strongly feel speaking truth unacceptable if it conflicts with loyalty. An Italian proverb “any fool can be honest; it takes a man to be loyal” helps one partly comprehend that many feel more deeply about loyalty than honesty.
I believe honesty in the social construct is not a priority in practice. Too many of us live a lie or two or three and sometimes pay a price to maintain an illusion. We preach the importance of truth and hide every imperfection with colorful cosmetics. We bullhorn the streets” age is just a number” and quickly rush to dye the white in our hair. We sing poems about self-worth and independence and get seduced nightly with marketing campaigns distilled into one simple message: “You are not whole — buy my product.”
Loyalty is one of those camera-ready concepts made to gain wide support. Its populist and noble. It’s macho but romantic. No moral dilemma. No ethical quandary. No bones about it. Until you get hit hard by the dark side of loyalty as someone you needed betrays fair play or common decency because they are loyal to someone else. Doesn’t feel life affirming–after all?
In the final analysis if humanity wants to improve the world more doses of honesty and loyalty are not the answer. Being honest about witnessing poverty and depravity is but the smallest step on the road to a solution. And being loyal to stupidity is not an elevated principle but rather the basic description of a slave. We need to learn to forgive and love. Only through these constructive powers can we hope to repair a broken world.
About the Author: Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York. http://markantonyrossi.jigsy.com