February 06, 2006
i can't answer that
I decided to take another blog test (that I found here) because I really wanted to know my "Five Factor Personality Profile." My score was close to what I expected. I'm not going to post the results (Hell--- if you read this blog, YOU rate me on Extroversion, Concientiousness, Agreeableness, Neuroticism and Openness to Experience.), but I am going to discuss one of the questions.
You value honesty and following the rules.
MY answer: Yes and No. It all depends...
I've written before about how I believe that little white lies are lubricants that keep the wheels of society rolling without a lot of unnecessary squeaks and squeals. The nekkid TRUTH sometimes acts as sand in the gearbox. I also believe that we have too many got-dam rules and that only a complete sheeple even tries to follow them all.
Yet, I still put a high value on trustworthiness. Do I sound confused? How can I possibly say that lying and breaking the rules is okay, then turn around and claim that trustworthiness is a virtue?
Easy. I'm a big believer in situation ethics. Take "honesty," for example. I don't cheat at cards and I've never fooled around on a wife when I was married. I've never lied on an expense report I filed for work travel. I've never cheated on my INCOME TAX, for cryin' out loud, although not from any moral constraints. I would cheat the IRS in a heartbeat, if I could only figure out a clever way to avoid detection. See? I've told the truth even when I knew that doing so would cost me dearly.
But I'm a liar, too. Often, telling a little white lie is more a matter of diplomacy than it is deception. ("If you can't say something nice, keep your mouth shut!") If I go to a friend's house for dinner, you can bet your sweet ass that I AM NOT going to tell the cook that the meal sucked, even if it did. I am going to eat it and say that I enjoyed it. Pure social lubrication-- situation ethics--- that's all.
I try to keep my word and I am successful most of the time. But I still agree with my favorite line from The Wild Bunch, when Dutch tells Pike: "It ain't your WORD that counts! It's WHO you give it to!" If a person's OWN word doesn't mean anything to HIM, you ain't gonna break his heart when you trade in the same currency, which is worthless.
I have no problem lying to a liar. He's gonna think you're lying even if you tell the truth, because he's a liar, so give him what he expects. He doesn't deserve anything else.
I keep my word to people who keep theirs. It's trading in the same currency again, only this time with precious tender. So, give him what he expects. He deserves nothing less. Situation ethics.
Those are MY rules. I don't violate THEM. But I see a BIG difference between "the rules" and "the law." I am a habitual offender under laws that I think are petty, stupid or despotic. In fact, some of those LAWS violate my RULES. Given a choice between the two, guess which way I'll lean?
I think of myself as an honest man, while I admit that I lie. I follow my rules, but I don't always uphold the law. See why I thought that question was complicated? I thought about my friends (who are kinda like me--- liars and rule-breakers themselves) and decided why I love and trust them.
I value consistency.
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