I am still riding the honesty wave. The past days were very giving in that regard. From a real dive down following my dishonesty to an uplift that came with the experience of finding the honesty again; today I am able to take a step back and look at honesty from an observer’s perspective.
There are many angles to understand what honesty is and what role does it play in people’s lives. There seems to be a real revival of honesty nowadays. Radical honesty, meta-honesty, all these different ways to implement honesty into the daily practice. This idea, looking at honesty as a separate practice, was always fascinating to me. Think about it, if someone asks can I be honest with you? first reaction is oh no, it is going to hurt. Honesty is seen as a weapon, the fear of sharp penetrating truth is a default. I discovered something very different, deciding for honesty all the way. An important aspect, which I didn't discuss yet, is the responsibility for being dishonest. When we are in a situation that involves other people, we are creating a shared information field. We exchange ideas, experiences, generating ideas together. If one person is being dishonest she starts to distort this shared space where everyone thinks they are exchanging truth. And you can imagine how tricky it can get, if the person who is being dishonest doesn’t know it for herself. It is our personal responsibility to be in check with honesty and be careful to not distort the signal of the collective space. When we listen to someone else’s ideas and agree with them, we give our trust into the person’s beliefs and arguments. Sometimes it is good to check with ourselves, whether sharing is worth it or it would be a better strategy to make a decision to keep silent and avoid taking responsibility for greater disruptions in the network.
I can’t say that I payed particular attention to such type of responsibility in the past. In retrospective I can see how I messed up shared space in some relationships because I wasn’t honest with and had no full awareness of my decision making process. Today I was thinking, how to catch the moment and not engage in a conversation if there is no certainty on my side about what I am about to tell. Words are tricky, they carry many different functions besides communicating the truth. It is also quite difficult at times for thoughts to catch up with words. Thinking something through, analysing and making a decision isn’t a quick process. I was thinking of the body — what if the body can be used as a detector of my dishonesty? When I make a new artwork, I often have this feeling of contraction in my belly, when I know the work is not good. Sometimes, I decide to ignore this feeling and proceed with the work. It depends how ignorable this feeling is and how strict are the deadlines. If my internal compass is very erratic, then there is no doubt in changing the work, but it it is just a contraction, an intuitive call, then I just go with it. I’ll make an educated guess and say that it is the same feeling as when I am dishonest in other situations. Perhaps, catching that feeling can be a good way to fight against velocity of words.
Except self-monitoring, another way to protect ourselves form deception, is to develop good intuition and a feeling of discernment towards other people. Getting aquatinted with body language and cultivating presence can definitely be helpful in protecting oneself from potential mud in the water. We shouldn’t forget that most of the times people are not aware of their dishonesty and not many are thinking in terms of responsibility for bringing misleading information into the shared space. What we can do is to make sure our radars are set. Checking in internally, am I being honest or not? Do I feel anything in my body that points out to dishonesty or not? And then look externally, is there anything in the body language of the other person that shows any possible signs of dishonesty? Aligning these two scans of the situation will allow for an accurate assessment and lead to a decision which will minimise potential disruption of truth and eliminate multiplication of free flowing dishonesty which circulates in shared spaces.