Honesty, to me, is almost like sand. One can grab it and try to hold it, but eventually when the hand is opened again, it will be empty. Honesty can not be held or grasped. It is mutable. It can only be filtered through the perception of the medium through which is passes, which is also mutable in nature. What is empirically true, is absolute. It cannot necessarily be defined, but it is fixed. And it can be observed. When the observer merges with the experiencer, it may also be experienced.
But truth is different than honestly, isn’t it? Truth is what is. Honesty has more to do with the level of genuineness correlating to one’s nature to express and be in close relationship with their perception of “what is”. Their capacity to understand, and therefore the place where they are able to make assessments and take actions from. If one is intentionally dishonest with himself or his brothers and sisters, one lacks authenticity in his or her character. But if one’s baseline model of “the world” or “oneself” is inherently flawed, corrupted, or confused — is honesty possible? This is an interesting philosophical question.
I’d say if one’s conscious mind is totally unaware of the corruption from improper conditioning within his or her thoughts and behaviors, perhaps they are capable of being honest. They may certainly have integrity. The things they say or do, the kinds of thoughts they have, are authentic based on their model of the world and themselves, flawed as it may be. Those things are in line with one another. They are thinking and behaving in moral accordance with the world which has been unconsciously created in their mind. With this sense of morality, they take for granted they care deeply about their fellow conscious beings. There is no awareness of any kind of programming outside of the one they’ve always consciously inhabited, so they have no other place from which to perceive reality. If one were to try and break down the programming, or explain how flawed this person’s foundational assumptions about the world are in relation to the nature of empirical truth to him or her, they would likely be accused of all kinds of terrible things. For once a mind has built an entire structure, an entire life, upon flawed ideas and improper conditioning, he or she will not take kindly to allowing someone to come along attempting to interfere or deconstruct it.
So is honesty objective or subjective? Perhaps that is the more specific question. I would say it is certainly subjective. Honesty relates to the mind which is perceiving it. This is why the same event can be recounted by several individuals, all with completely different versions of what actually happened. Reality must be processed through the individual’s filter (capacity), then correlated to the event itself, and then expressed in honesty (with integrity) or dishonesty (lacking integrity). The conditions which gave rise to the event itself are relevant in light of objective truth. But often the perceptions and recounting of “what happens” in the world are relevant to the projection itself, and can only be based upon subjective honesty/dishonesty.
I think this is an important subtlety to understand. That when one takes for granted their perception of the world is a true and righteous one, this is fundamentally flawed. That we must do so in order to have thoughts and take actions in this world is beside the point. Yes, that is true. But doing so while KNOWING that one’s perception is built upon one’s conditioning opens up a whole new world of understanding about both truth and honesty. It is far easier to be honest with oneself as one becomes less and less attached to the characters and identity built upon prior conditioning. When identifying more closely with the observer becomes common practice. Because the observer only observes cause and effect. Only observes that when its vehicle takes a certain action upon a certain set of circumstances, it produces a certain result. It’s easier to become aware of all the necessary conditions involved in this, how each participates in the causes and effects. It begins to work like “second nature”.
And after a while of doing this, truth becomes more and more accessible, with less and less effort. Seeing clearly and without bias and prior conditioning becomes more and more possible. It doesn’t happen overnight and without effort, but it is certainly possible. All one needs is the desire, and awareness. All one needs is humility, and to listen to the vibrations of their inner being. Do the mind and body feel consistently harmonious or disharmonious? This is the first clue.
When someone comes to me and says, “This is the way it is — ” or “This is this, and that is that — “, I often don’t listen to the words they say to me. Rather I listen to their emotions and the vibrations of their being. Do I experience their mind as disturbed or at peace? Do I observe their actions or thoughts to be based upon desperation, force, division or fear? Or do I observe their actions and thoughts to be based upon humbleness, compassion, love, and kinship with their fellow conscious beings? This is not difficult to determine if one is in touch with their own nature. I believe this is the most important baseline determination to assess when one is in an interaction with another. Both within and without. Once that is established, one will know better how to proceed in navigating honesty and truth.
“Those who speak it, know it not, and those who know it, speak it not.”