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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

About Honesty

In this blog I can say everything I want. 

I can be bluntly honest and say that I hate your guts, with your stupid hat. 

For I am protected by 25 Kms of mountain range and you will not find this tiny village anyway. 

But I won't do so. 

Complete honesty is not an intelligent virtue. It's easy and it's basic. Any peasant can be honest. 

Only when balanced with understanding, empathy, mildness, and the wish to contribute rather than to tear down, honesty can turn into the most brilliant of virtues. Then it shines as the inside of a diamond. 

Who am I to say your hat is stupid? Perhaps that hat makes you happy? Perhaps you come from a background where such a hat meant something? Perhaps it has a deep, not yet discovered, meaning for you? 

Am I so egocentric I see my own idea of what a hat should be as the one and only guideline for everyone? 

I believe this is the discussion between Aristotle and Plato. More: I believe it's the battle between Islam and the west. 

Aristotle always was more popular in the west, and Plato more popular in the east; because they found fertile ground there. In fact: they only said what people already believed. 

In the west we are Aristotelians. Is it right, correct, honest, clear, simple, mathematical, one plus one = 1. "Do you swear you will tell the truth and nothing but the truth"? And we say: "Yes". 

And then the judge and jury and the whole court will sit down because truth will be told. Because that man said so. 

In the east we are Platonians. Is it friendly, kind, harmonious, in balance, 1+1 might be 3.  

"Will I find a job here"?  
No, of course you won't. There's a 66% unemployment rate. You don't speak the language, you don't have the degree and nobody is going to hire you with that stupid hat. 

But don't you look sad and lost. Isn't this a far too beautiful evening to make you go to bed with even less hope for tomorrow. And we are sitting here in such pure harmony, with our tea, enjoying a rare moment of friendship. "Of course you will find a job. Look at all your talents"! 

Let's make a charicature of it: The American president goes to the Middle East. 

He hands over contracts with stipulations. The host president responds with smiles, nods and a tea, to reinforce the harmony and beauty of the moment. One month later they are furious with one another. "Arabs are such liars"!  "Americans are so rude"! 

Aristotle or Plato... who is the better friend? It's impossible to tell. We need both. 

One that puts us with our feet on the ground, and prepares us to be stronger for the future. And one that shines a bit of light in a rather difficult and unsatisfactory life. 

"Do you think my hat is stupid"? 
Well, we have not left the house yet. I do not want to hit you in the face with it but yes, your judgement of hats is not perfect. Let's try another hat. 

Or no, we are already at the party. Telling you my opinion about your hat will make you feel ashamed and ruin your dancing mood. And don't you look all excited and hopeful about the evening... your glow and happiness outshine your hat. You could be naked or wear a tracksuit and still be beautiful. 

I am not being dishonest when I say "no, your hat looks great". Because I think that in reality, it's not the priority and maybe not even your real question. You should not be worrying about hats anyway or pay any attention to the opinion of people who do. 

I want you to feel beautiful, because if you feel beautiful, you are. And not wearing 20 stupid hats will change that. 

And THAT's the truth, and nothing but the truth. 

Ben

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