Is honesty the best policy?


That’s an interesting question. It is a complicated issue. William Blake (1757-1827), the multi-talented English poet and artist, wrote ‘A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.’ I agree with that.

WILLIAM BLAKE (1757-1827

Our society frowns on chronic liars and rightly so. Yet, the naked truth can be so hurtful, in some people’s hands it becomes a knife which can pierce the heart.

Perhaps we need another word for avoiding ugly truths which hurt others, most of which they know about anyway. So, if a friend asks you to point out his/her failings, don’t — unless you’re ready to give up the relationship. They are probably just hoping for some kind words.


In the novel ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ by Arthur Golden, the protagonist says ‘There are good facts and bad facts, the bad facts are best avoided.’ I think she has a good point.

HENRY THOREAU (1817-1862

Thoreau, the American writer and libertarian famously said ‘Rather than love, than money, than fame — give me truth’, but he was talking about another issue altogether.

Then there is Oscar Wilde, who gave me so many hours of fascinating reading, who didn’t believe in telling the truth at all and said ‘The telling of beautiful untrue things is the proper aim of Art.’ and ‘He would be the best of fellows if he did not always speak the truth.’

I warned you. Honesty IS a complex subject. Think about it during the holiday and give me your thoughts afterwards.

OSCAR WILDE (1854-1900)

Above all, do have a happy holiday and a healthy New Year.


27 thoughts on “Is honesty the best policy?

  1. Oh, Muriel, this is a good one! I’ll be happy to share my take on “truth” and “honesty” after the holidays, as you suggested. I’ve learned about this subject the hard way, as everyone does, sooner or later!

  2. To be truthfully honest is sometimes hurtful (so we avoid it). But does that mean not being truthfully honest is being deceptive? I need more enlightenment on this one. 😁 Cheers!

    • You are right, however I am talking about kindness. I wish there was another word to use when we don’t want to hurt someone and avoid saying what may be true — but hurtful. Thanks for reading and thinking about it. I often do too. All the best, Muriel

      • Yeah, what would be another word to use when we don’t want to hurt someone and avoid saying what may be true? Hmmm… Now you are making me think again! 😂😂😂

      • I wish I knew one. Maybe we can make one up, or it is possible some very clever person will read this and come up with a word which already exists that we don’t know. Thinking is good for us, right??? Chuckle. Muriel

  3. You’ve given me plenty to think. Honesty IS a complex subject, as you say. But you’ve done a great job compiling. I agree with Blake, a complex poet himself.
    I feel we can substitute Justice with Truth/Honesty in “Justice without mercy is cruelty.”

  4. Profound words, Muriel. Both saying, truths in happy times and lies in sad times, are alright. It is not a question of wrong or right, but what the times demand. Like you said above, everyone needs some kind words 😀

  5. That is an interesting post. Many a time it is better to be diplomatic rather than hurt someone. And sometimes I feel it is ok to tell white lies 🙂 if it does not hurt someone.
    Regards and best wishes, Lakshmi

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