Anatomy of Honesty

Are you an honest person? The question may turn out to be much more interesting (and life changing) than you imagine.

by Brian Curtis, PhD

Are you an honest person?

If you’re like most people … including me … your answer to this question is likely to be, “Yes.”

One problem with the concept of honesty is we often view it in this all-or-nothing way.

Either we’re honest or we’re not.

After all, you’re not in the habit of lying to your friends and family … not even to total strangers if you think about it …and if you tend to tell the truth … doesn’t that make you an honest person?

If you listen to Dr. Christian Miller on the Experimental Honesty podcast or in the Conversations section of the Experimental Honesty app, you’ll likely gain an increased appreciation for the structure and complexity of honesty:

- Lying vs. Truthfulness

- Misleading vs. Forthrightness

- Stealing vs. Being Respectful of Property

- Cheating vs. Proper Compliance

- Promise-Breaking vs. Fidelity to Promises

And Dr. Taya Cohen will give you a more nuanced understanding of the multidimensional nature of honesty:

- Are you not only truthful in conversations … but also someone who seeks out the truth in your daily life?

- Searching out and evaluating information for accuracy and incorporating this accurate information into your beliefs about yourself, other people, and the world.

- How do you tend to communicate your beliefs to others?

- Do you accurately report and truthfully disclose what you believe to be true in your verbal conversations and written statements?

- In addition to truthful communication, do you actually behave in ways that foster understanding in others?

- And by doing so … help other people develop a more accurate understanding of themselves, other people, and the world?

- And what about the complexities of disclosure?

- If you’ve ever used the phrase “TMI” … you’re likely aware of the importance of the depth and amount of information you tend to either share or withhold from others … which often brings up the ethical, legal, and moral implications of acts of omission and acts of commission.  

Let's not forget about Dr. Emma Levine and her amazing work on benevolent honesty to remind us all that we can be truthful AND kind. [Read that sentence again. It might save your next relationship.]

So … are you an honest person?

The question may turn out to be much more interesting … and much more life changing … than you imagine.

Honesty in Your Inbox

After you download the app, deepen your practice by joining the Experimental Honesty email list. Continue building an honest, open, authentic life from your inbox.

Download Experimental Honesty on Google Play. Download Experimental Honesty on the App Store.