Nietzche once said, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
Often we are so focused on the fact-based realities of whether or not we have “lied,” as if that is itself the arbiter of right and wrong, of positive or negative consequences. Isn’t the real issue whether or not we have nurtured trust with other people?
There is a lot going around about the technical aspects of truth in some local community dealings. And it really seems to miss the point by a wide, wide margin. The point is that in order to continue to function as organizations, as government, as friends and neighbors and lovers and the rest, we have to have a bedrock belief that the information we exchange with one another is not only technically correct but that it comes from a place of purposeful honesty, not evasion.
Sadly, it is so easy to take for granted the good will and belief in us that most people offer up front; you only internalize what you have lost when you realize that gift is gone once you’ve treated it too casually. Getting it back can be a long road.
What holds you back from purposeful honesty, in personal as well as public life?