Bidirectional Honesty: Thinking In Terms of Balance Instead of Justice
— Your life isn’t just a collection of good things you’ve done for others and bad things that happened to you. Everything in life isn’t about you or how you’re affected by it. You’ve benefitted from other people and from reality in the same way others have benefitted from you. You’ve made negative impacts on others and on reality in the same way others have made negative impacts on you.
True honesty is bidirectional. It doesn’t idealize self while vilifying others. It doesn’t revolve around the identity, or anyone’s desire to protect and preserve theirs. True honesty can only be realized once defending the identity is no longer the focus of everything.
If you conducted a poll to ask people whether or not they were honest, more than likely the overwhelming response would be ‘yes’. In fact, I’d wager most people would call themselves brutally honest and even say others are offended by their honesty and forthrightness.
More often than not though, this belief of personal honesty is little more than a self-assumed character trait that people use to mask vanity, aggression, competitiveness and other personality defects. What most people view as honesty is little more than a willingness to injure and humiliate others with negative opinions, feedback or distressing news. People use negative feelings and beliefs as weapons to attack and subdue others with.
If you could summarize it into a quote, this approach to interacting with others would go something like: “I’m honest because I’m not afraid to hurt people’s feelings with my opinions, knowledge or beliefs. I enjoy making others feel emotional discomfort to satisfy my own sense of justice and righteousness. My idea of honesty is using negative feedback as a weapon to hurt others with, towards stripping them of value and subjugating them to me. I like breaking people down so they’ll look to me to build them back up. I use my approval, disapproval and dissent to manipulate and control others.”
The thing is, that’s not really honesty though. It’s just aggression. And unfortunately, most people don’t know the difference between honesty and releasing anger, because they can’t tell the difference between honesty and expression. Expression is simply conveying what’s within you — and verbal aggression isn’t being honest, it’s just letting off steam.
Life in society is stressful. We collect and store up aggression in us every day. Be it through our interactions with others or through the demands life and social obligations place on us, we’re constantly being stressed out and pushed into aggressive states of mind. This is why people falsely equate aggression with honesty. Aggression and hostility is what most people genuinely feel inside.
Aggression isn’t honesty though. It’s simply the desire to cause or see injury (pain, suffering, humiliation, punishment) brought to or inflicted upon others, or external values.
Here are some examples of aggression being conflated with honesty:
“I tell it like it is!”
“People hate me because I keep it real!”
“Don’t be mad at me! You wanted my opinion so I gave it to you!”
“You’re not as great as you think you are!”
“That looks terrible on you!”
“Everybody thinks this [bad] thing about you! I’m just telling you how it is!”
“You look/sound/play awful!” (a la a Simon Cowell critique)
Other times people believe they’re being honest when they talk about traumatic experiences they’ve lived through, or when they speak on their personal frailties to others. Protecting reputation is critical to safety and advancement in society, and humiliation or victimhood can negatively impact other people’s perceptions of an individual’s strength, potency and desirability.
Being transparent about traumas and frailties is in fact a type of honesty (social honesty — which we’ll get into shortly), however, not all that’s required to be honest. Self-humiliation is risky because it can result in loss of respect from others. Losing respect from others is necessarily exposing oneself to potential criticisms and attacks. In this sense, social honesty does require bravery because it entails risk of loss.
Unfortunately, this type of honesty is easily exploited, as people can use stories of victimhood or frailties to extort sympathy, compassion or compliance from others. Speaking authentically about traumatic experiences or frailties can entail honesty and bravery, however, honesty and bravery aren’t actually required to speak about such things, as any person who wants to benefit from victimhood, or extort favorable treatment or considerations from others can use such divulgences to do so.
So what is honesty then? If it isn’t sharing our feelings and beliefs sans filters or qualifications, or speaking openly about bad experiences or our frailties, then what is it exactly?
Well, let’s start with a bit of framing so that we can achieve a proper, principle-based definition for the word. We’ll start with this premise…
Reality is God and God is reality. Simple enough, right? Not to worry folks, this definition doesn’t fundamentally deviate from any religion’s view of God, as reality is the source and (arguably) “creator” of all things. By this I mean, all things that exist can only exist within and because of reality — ergo, reality is God.
This brings us to the next concept, which is truth. What is truth? Truth is best defined as what’s consistent with reality. If something is true then that means it can be verified by and within reality, and that it isn’t limited by or to idealism, or to anyone’s internal narrative (feelings, beliefs, ideals, experiences, etc). Truth is what’s consistent with reality, and reality is God.
This brings us to the subject of honesty. What is honesty? Well, honesty is the individual’s will and effort to recognize and be in sync with reality. Honesty is the person’s will and effort to be in sync with God, and as such, to function as a source and conduit for truth. If you’re honest, then you become an agent for truth and reality. It’s really that simple.
Now then, if the framing I’ve supplied is correct, then how does a person become honest at the principle level? What’s the difference between verbally assaulting others and striving to be consistent with reality? Is releasing pent-up aggression not being honest? Is telling others how you feel not being consistent with reality? Are you not being open and honest when you share negative feelings, feedback or experiences with others?
Before we can get into these questions, we have to start by making critical distinctions between reality and the “internal narrative” (also called the “identity”).
I’ve explained this in previous works, but as I understand it, God is what humans refer to as reality. Reality is a living sentient being and closed system which houses the meta-states commonly referred to as existence and nonexistence, in addition to all states, processes, systems and effects therein. Reality is also the facilitator and source of balance. Balance can most aptly be characterized as the natural resting state of symbiosis between two or more values: systems, beings or effects. The easiest way to understand reality as an entity though is to think of it as a perfect accountant, which manages balance within and between systems.
On a more relatable level, reality can be viewed as the actual state of things — that is, how things are and function and perform independently of idealism. Reality is how things are irrespective of how they’re perceived. As an entity, reality is the source, protector and facilitator of balance. It’s a living sentient and self-aware system that’s comprised of infinite layers and entanglements of systems. Reality according to how we experience it is the system we share and perform within, which exists independently of our internal narratives — that is, reality is what exists in spite of our feelings and beliefs.
Contrastingly, the identity (or internal narrative) is the collection of meanings, symbols, stories, beliefs, habits, practices and social effects that individuals acquire and seek to self-actualize through. The identity is basically the story the individual tells themself about the world around them and their place and value within it.
Identity is a product of perception. Perception is the process through which information taken in through the sensory faculties is converted into ideas. Perceptive valuation (or idealism) is the system of learning and reasoning that parasitic life forms run on. Idealism is fundamentally divorced from reality. By this I mean idealism is not part of the intuitive network: the operating system that nature and reality run on. As such, life forms that run on idealism are required to learn through study, imitation, reaction and theory, as opposed to learning through being, sympathetic connection and natural purpose.
As a system, idealism works by capturing and/or recording data from reality, and then transforming it into ideas, which then go on to become meanings, symbols, beliefs, concepts, customs, expectations, and other such effects. If you consider for instance a virion and the virus it belongs to, it’s pretty easy to surmise that such beings upon infecting host bodies would necessarily have to learn the systems they invade, as opposed to the bodies’ authentic cells, which would have inherent understanding for the systems they emerged from. Virion and other parasitic life forms have to form ideas of how things are, as opposed to natural life forms, which are imbued with inherent (intuitive) understanding.
This brings us back to the subject of honesty. So, if truth is what’s consistent with reality, and honesty is the individual’s will and effort to recognize and sync up with reality, and idealism (which houses the identity) is fundamentally divorced from reality, then how does one reconcile honesty through idealism? How do we understand and achieve honesty while working through perceptive valuation? Let’s revisit some of the questions from above:
“What’s the difference between verbally assaulting others and striving to be consistent with reality?”
True honesty is about synching up with reality. It has nothing to do with making reality or others conform to you. Honesty isn’t about imposing your feelings and beliefs onto others. In fact, your personal feelings and beliefs have nothing to do with reality. Reality exists mutually independent of idealism, and of however you might experience or feel about it. Trying to make others recognize and conform to you and your values, or to your pride and sense of justice, or to your feelings and beliefs isn’t giving them a reality check. That’s not making people recognize or get consistent with reality; because you are not reality. Your internal narrative isn’t reality. Trying to make others conform to you is in essence elevating yourself, your feelings, beliefs and experiences to the level of truth and reality for all things. That’s not honesty, it’s self-worship (narcissism).
Synching up with reality is working to develop and exercise awareness for what’s actually happening around you, and then being cognizant of and brave enough to accept responsibility for the variety of impacts you make on others and the world around you. That’s honesty in a nutshell. It’s choosing to face reality instead of retreating into the internal narrative or trying to defend the identity.
Is releasing pent-up aggression not being honest? Is telling others how you feel not being consistent with reality? Are you not being open and honest when you share negative feelings, feedback or experiences with others?
Releasing pent-up aggression is honest in the sense that its not withholding, or using social acting to mask one’s true feelings and intentions towards others. For instance, if you harbor aggression within you, but use social acting to deceive others into believing that you’re peaceful and calm, then you’re being socially dishonest. Dishonesty is dishonesty. Whether social or natural, it’s still willfully disregarding and blocking out reality, in efforts to honor, protect and preserve the internal narrative.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a difference between true honesty and social honesty. True honesty is the individual’s will and effort to be in sync with reality. Social honesty is about being consistent in character. It entails things like describing events as they come to pass sans embellishment or withholding, and honoring agreements, and conveying information and awareness to others in a non-distorted fashion. Social honesty can also entail not taking from others without permission — i.e., stealing or exploiting others, however, seeing as the basis of society and social transactions and interactions is exploitation (that is, living and benefitting at the expense of others — e.g., the principle of “business”), this topic is too broad and nebulous to address within the given frame.
Social honesty is about how you interact with other humans (usually those within your social group) and not about how you interact with reality, or the types of impacts you make on it.
You’re not actually synching up with reality when you describe how you feel to others. The reason for this is because your feelings and beliefs are limited by and to your internal narrative. When you tell people what you like or dislike sans embellishment or withholding, it means you’ve chosen to be transparent about what you feel inside, to not interact with others in a deceptive way. You’re not actually synching up with reality when you express yourself or communicate information in a non-distorted fashion though, or when you honor agreements with others (even though technically, you’re not negatively impacting others, so as to create ripple effects or delays that add to systemic corruption). In such instances, you’re not being honest beyond the point of choosing not to mask your emotions or intentions with deep social acting. Again, the difference between true honesty and social honesty is social honesty is about how you interact with people, and true honesty is about how you interact with reality.
The reason it’s important to know the difference between true honesty and social honesty is because it is possible to be socially honest without ever being truly honest about anything. You can consistently lie to others and even to yourself about reality and still be perceived as honest within a given social frame. However, it’s mechanically impossible to deceive reality. As such, being honest in your dealings with others isn’t tantamount to synching up with reality. You can be a fundamentally dishonest person who honors social agreements and contracts, without ever acknowledging or accepting the reality of the impacts your decisions, attitudes, actions and behaviors make on others or the world around you. Social honesty is choosing not to use acting or pageantry to mask your feelings or intentions towards others. It can also be described as making a conscious decision to not use outright deception to alter other people’s perception of you or your actions.
Beyond this, unlike true honesty (which is absolute), social honesty is highly subjective. In social settings, what qualifies as honesty can change from one context to another. In social settings, the word “honest” is more akin to a status marker, whereas in reality, it’s more of a practice and process. True honesty is the practice of working to sync up with reality, whereas in society, honesty is more like a title that’s awarded to people who are either liked, or who don’t use deceptions to exploit others.
This actually brings us to another type of honesty, which I refer to as “conditional honesty”. Conditional honesty is a subset of social honesty, and it basically holds that honesty is the last resort, and should only be used in dire or extreme circumstances. An example of conditional honesty would be a situation in which a people were only honest with members of their group, and then licensed and even encouraged to be dishonest with out-groupers. Another example would be a situation in which people were only kept honest by, with or through social contracts and agreements, or by threats of penalty.
Conditional honesty holds that it’s only proper to divulge information when or if necessary. It’s the type of reasoning used in gaming. When people employ conditional honesty, it means they’ve chosen to approach interactions with others through an outlook of competition and scarcity. Conditional honesty is rooted in hostility, and is usually indicative of corruption. If summed into a statement, it’d go something like: “I’m honest with you as long as I consider you an ally, and only on the points we’ve discussed and agreed to, and as long as I know I have the upper hand and have secured assurances that I can’t lose to you and will ultimately benefit ahead of you, then this is the version of truth I’ll share with you.”
The operating contracts presented to citizens by social institutions and corporations are based on conditional honesty. In mutual dealings, citizens are generally held and expected to abide by traditional social honesty, whereas institutions and corporations rely almost exclusively on conditional honesty. Legalese is the language of conditional honesty. The laws and legal justice systems of the world are based on conditional honesty. Conditional honesty is inherently deceptive. It seeks to exploit perceptive angles, towards benefitting those who utilize it ahead of others. Again, it only divulges information when it’s convenient or absolutely necessary. Conditional honesty is basely parasitic.
The biggest problem with all forms of social honesty is that they’re very easy to cheat, distort or work around. Again, you can be socially honest without making any attempt to recognize or sync up with reality. For instance, when considering or discussing any subject, object or topic, you can omit or avoid acknowledging critical information and still technically be socially honest. For instance, saying you didn’t do something isn’t the same as having no part in it. You can be socially honest in professing that you didn’t do something directly, yet inconsistent with reality in not recognizing the part you played in it.
This is because social honesty is based in perception, and perception is a function of idealism. Idealism isn’t concrete. It’s broad, nebulous and malleable. In idealism, belief rules the roost, and the internal narrative is what creates the perception of reality. Social honesty has nothing to do with being consistent with reality, and instead, is based solely on saying or doing what’s consistent with the internal narrative. This glitch…this failure to reconcile meanings is what allows people to be both honest and dishonest at the same time.
This is one of the main reasons for why the legal justice system is so unstable. You can be socially honest and lie through omission at the same time; thereby making both the system and practice of law fundamentally paradoxical.
Then too, choosing not to actively deceive others doesn’t preclude one from deceiving themself, or preclude others from deceiving themselves, when or if certain information isn’t divulged to them, or actively considered. For instance, a person who lives their life in a belief bubble (e.g., an organized religion or structured belief system) may never engage in outright deception, however, they can also go their entire life without trying to learn or understand reality from outside of the perceptual lens and framing supplied to them by their belief system. A monk could go his entire life without lying to another person, and then also without ever being honest with himself about his own questions of faith, or natural urges and desires, or hopes, wishes and dreams. That is to say, not using acting and pageantry to deceive others is not the same as recognizing and synching up with reality.
Synching up with reality entails conscientious effort. It’s deciding to accept and adapt to what’s happening around you, as opposed to clinging to the internal narrative and/or to whatever’s most convenient to it. True honesty is deciding to recognize and adjust to the world and circumstances you’re facing, whereas social honesty is more like choosing not to deviate from a set of character traits you hope to demonstrate to yourself or others. One is about trying to become consistent with what’s happening outside of you, and the other is about not deviating from what you’ve settled upon within.
You become consistent with reality by seeking truth, and not by simply refusing to indulge or engage in deception.
In the case of religious adherents or monks, their capacities for honesty would begin and end at their choice to not actively engage in deception. However, if they’re not trying to understand reality from outside the frame of their belief systems, and would even go so far as to shun or block out information, ideas or perspectives that threaten or challenge their beliefs, then they’re not truly being honest, as they’re not trying to know or become consistent with reality. Their honesty would be social — local, veneer, conditional and lacking.
Describing things you’ve done or impacts you’ve made on others and reality does more to get you consistent with reality than sharing your feelings and beliefs. But we’ll get to that in just a moment…
Are you not being honest when you talk about bad things that have happened to you, or to those you feel ideologically linked to?
This question gets to the root of bidirectional honesty. Talking about bad things you’ve experienced or that have happened to you or to those you feel connected to doesn’t really make you consistent with reality. It’s just unloading the internal narrative. In order to be consistent with reality, you have to be cognizant of the impacts you’ve made on others too. Again, being consistent with reality entails understanding balance — and then recognizing the wide variety of impacts that you are making or have made on reality, resulting in or contributing to chains of causality that either shift or pull the world around you towards or away from balance.
Being honest and transparent about your experiences can move you closer to being socially honest, but again, that doesn’t make you more consistent with reality. Social honesty is more about how you interact with others than it is how you interact with reality.
Beyond this though, social honesty is one-directional. By this I mean it represents the actor’s effort or ability to project the internal narrative outward. If you’re socially honest then it means that you share your experiences, knowledge, feelings and beliefs sans embellishment or withholding. Social honesty is revealing what’s authentically contained within you.
If considering it mechanically, social honesty is information moving out or away from the source (the individual) and has nothing to do with information coming in. This means social honesty doesn’t affect the processes for taking in, sorting, assessing and weighting information, ideas or events. Talking about what’s inside of you or what happened to you, or even honoring social agreements with others doesn’t actually require processes like objective observation and analysis, or adaptive and connective reasoning, or reflection, or empathetic and conscientious listening and consideration.
The difference between being honest with others and being honest with yourself is that being honest with others is simply expressing what’s contained within, whereas being honest with self is considering information or other effects from reality, without allowing the desire to protect the internal narrative to distort observation and response. When being prodded by others to be honest with yourself, you’re always being asked to recognize and sync up with reality — that is, to come out of your internal narrative (your identity) and sync up with things that can be observed independently of you.
Social honesty (notably conditional honesty) generally causes defects to form in the apperception called “biases”, which result in cognitive glitches, e.g., dissonance, deflection, scapegoating and the commission of logical fallacies. True honesty (bidirectional honesty) precludes such things. In other words, if one’s view of honesty only affects what’s coming out of them, and focuses primarily and defending their own feelings and beliefs, and doesn’t impact or affect information coming into them, then they can go their entire life without ever being in sync with reality. Simply put, if a person can’t tell the difference between themself, or their internal narrative, or reality, then they can confuse defending their feelings and beliefs with defending their very life, i.e., the fight or flight response people experience with cognitive dissonance. In this case, the actor’s sense of honesty would be completely external. In other words, a person could be socially honest about what they feel and believe without ever being truly honest with themself as to why they feel or believe it. A person could go their entire life without lying to others, and never once be truly honest with themself. Honesty would be expected from others, or expected to be recognized in them by other people, but impossible to realize from within.
The great irony in all of this though is that you can’t interact with reality in an honest way if you interact with other people in a false or deceptive way. This means that for humans, true honesty cannot be achieved without achieving social honesty. Secrecy, withholding, deep social acting and pageantry — these are all different levels of deception that go into building, protecting and preserving the identity. The more secrets you carry around inside of you is the dingier, more stained and corrupt your aura (your natural imprint) becomes.
Speaking about things you’ve lived through, or perhaps your personal frailties is one-directional. It’s basically your internal narrative spilling out and away from you. Honesty doesn’t become bidirectional until you’re cognizant for the impacts you’ve made on others (including reality itself) in the same way you’re aware of what’s happened to you. A balanced outlook and worldview entails an awareness for things that occur outside of your experience. Life isn’t just about focusing on and mitigating bad things that happen to you. Balanced living is focusing on and trying to mitigate imbalances, period. Bidirectional honesty is about being holistically cognizant for balance in the world and systems around you, and for the variety of impacts you make (and have the power to make) on chains of causality.
Again, reality is a living, sentient and self-aware system, which we’re simply part of and performing within. Nothing can be hidden from reality. Reality sees all. It is all. You can’t lie to reality, nor can you withhold information or experiences from it. Cocooning yourself in your identity necessarily places barriers between you and reality that push you deeper and deeper into a state of corruption.
“…And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…”
Idealism (perceptive valuation) is an abysmal prison of a thought process. It’s the mode of processing information and reality that parasites and other corrupt life forms run on. Idealism is highly paradoxical — and it causes life forms that run on it to process information and reality in paradoxical ways.
Take for instance humans…
We’re easily excitable and confused, yet we feign assuredness and coolness. We live in constant states of fear and are always at the mercy of our insecurities and uncertainty — yet we act tough and self-confident. We want to live and benefit at the expense of others, but also feign self-reliance, autonomy and capability. We’re aggressive, manipulative and exploitive, but feign benevolence, forthrightness and generosity. We’re competitive, greedy, unethical, irrational and vain, self-righteous, self-assuming and self-idealizing. We want war and peace simultaneously. We want deep connections with others, but then also to feel superior to, and be licensed to aggress against the very people we want connections with. We want to learn, but then also be right about what we already know. We seek comfort and solace in escapes, only to create messes that we complain about and are ill-equipped to clean up. The closest we come to experiencing peace is when there’s someone or something for us to gang up and aggress against.
None of the above listed characteristics are mutually compatible, yet through idealism, more often than not, they exist in the same mind space. Idealism is not an escape from or altered version of reality, but instead, a brutal prison. And those confined to it are left broken, abused, insane and confused.
More than anything though, idealism leaves entities that run on it feeling tired, depleted and hopeless (nihilistic). Even the humans with the most resources on the planet feel broken and drained. The only escapes they can find from their painful existence are consumption, status beliefs, and preying upon and taking their aggressions out on those “beneath them”.
As a processing system, idealism is approximately 30% joy and 70% terror. The 30% joy humans receive from idealism comes from entertainment, discovery, imagination and creation. These effects imbue humans with senses of purpose, capability and hope. Through entertainment, discovery and creation, humans are able to achieve artifacts and other effects that serve to offset their natural deficits and limitations. The other 70% of idealism is sheer terror. Idealism primarily entails insecurity, instability, mental and emotional teetering, failures to achieve conceptual reconciliation, fear of the unknown, fear of loss, fear of abandonment, fear of powerlessness and vulnerability, and insatiable, undefined and untenable appetites — the list goes on and on.
Just consider life as you know it. When you’re not being consoled, or being entertained and wowed by discovery and creation, what’s your life experience like? Without social comforts or distractions to fill the void, what feelings would you experience most? Like… if you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from, or where you were going to rest your head tomorrow, or that you were loved and desired by those you feel connected to, or that authorities and social institutions are supposed to protect you from the unknown and predators, what feelings would fill your heart and mind?
Imagination, discovery, entertainment and the capacity for creation can’t cover the spread for all the misery, pain and suffering that comes with this mode of processing information and reality. This is what Jesus said truth would ultimately give humans an escape from — the terror of the parasitic mind…
If honesty is synching up with reality, and in so escaping idealism, then the best way to go about realizing it is to develop an awareness for impacts you make on others and the world around you, and then to prioritize that awareness over dwelling on impacts others make on you.
This is the principle behind switching one’s paradigm and perceptive outlook from justice to balance.
Justice is wanting to create or achieve moral symmetry. Justice is wanting to make things fair as opposed to balanced. It’s about wanting to ‘get even’ as opposed to solving problems, or achieving mutualism and sustainability. If summed into a statement, it’d go something like: “You did this to me, or this was done to me by someone else, so you deserve to experience it too. I (or someone I sympathize with) lost, therefore you must lose as well.” That’s justice in a nutshell. It’s trying to even things out according to the internal narrative, as opposed to striving to realize and promote balance and harmony in reality.
Balance entails systemic awareness and is holistic. It’s more concerned with the overall state of things than it is with the perception of moral symmetry (or being “right”). If summed into a statement, it’d go something like: “This wrong was done to me, but I’ve also done wrong to others. I can’t concern myself with getting even, as my feelings and beliefs of justice have nothing to do with balance or resolving the issue at hand. It’s true that a negative impact has been made on me, but I am in sync with reality, and therefore, any negative impact made on me is made on reality itself. It’s in my best interest to focus on squaring my debts to reality, and to work diligently to reverse any negative impacts I’ve made, as reality is the perfect accountant, and no imbalance goes unsettled.”
Bidirectional honesty is about realizing other people aren’t the only ones who make mistakes or negative impacts. You’ve made negative impacts on others too. Instead of wasting your life seeking justice for the wrongs done to you, a balanced approach to living entails loosening your outlook of moral rigidity, by recognizing all of the damage you’ve caused and contributed to, and should be working to reverse. In fact, your desire to repair the damage you’ve caused to reality and others should be so great that your experience and sense of loss are no longer the focus of everything.
Again, true honesty is bidirectional. As such, it doesn’t focus on blaming others and shirking culpability. Bidirectional honesty is about conscientiousness. It’s about properly assessing impacts and sourcing chains of causality, towards creating, achieving, assisting or restoring balance.
True honesty is required in order to properly observe and assess situations. It precludes the outlooks of glory and blame, and allows for mechanical analysis and assessment. Instead of asking “Who’s at fault?” or “Who’s to blame?” it asks “What’s actually happening here, and how do I impact it?” Instead of fixating on punishments and rewards, it focuses on solutions, progress and sustainability. Instead of saying “It’s not my fault, it’s theirs!” or “Don’t look at me/us, look at them!” it approaches things more along the lines of: “I’m not interested in judging, accusing or punishing others, as I’m not above judgment myself. What I’m most interested in is figuring this problem out, and then figuring out how I’m contributing to it so that I can get to the bottom of it, and solve it once and for all.”
Bidirectional honesty is about synching up with reality, period. And you can’t sync up with reality if your sole focus in life is protecting and preserving your identity. When you go around trying to blame and diminish others, towards glorifying and uplifting yourself and group, so that you are good and others are bad, your mind isn’t anchored in reality, it’s lost in your internal narrative.
So this raises the question: “How does a person become honest?”
Honesty is something that’s achieved and improved upon through effort. Learning how to be honest is incredibly hard though. The socialization process teaches us that honesty begins and ends with social acting. Again, social honesty is about how you relate to others, and not really about whether or not you’re in sync with reality.
Beyond this, society runs on idealism. By this I mean, this world runs on an intricate patchwork of fictions, stories and belief systems. For instance, the concept of money and credit is basically the entire world pretending that pieces of metal and paper (or the value they represent) actually hold authority, and can tell humans how and where to live, and what to eat, and what to do. If you’re honest with yourself then you realize it’s an utterly ridiculous notion — seeing as it’s we who create the pieces of metal and paper we worship. However, if you wish to survive in the world as it currently is, then you must accept that this fiction controls most people’s minds and perceptive outlooks, and consequently, how reality is approached and understood within the current system. Society trains us to believe in lies, and to aggressively defend the lies we learn, and to build identities around, and even be willing to sacrifice our lives to defend and uphold social fictions.
Therefore, figuring out how to be honest within the current social frame is kind of tricky, in that the whole world is sort of being propped up by this huge network of lies — this huge thing that isn’t actually there. It’s like the world is being held together by a hologram, and everyone knows it, but is refusing to recognize or acknowledge it for fear of the system collapsing under the weight and burden of awareness. So how can one pursue honesty in a system that was built on and still heavily relies on intricate and interwoven networks of fictions?
The easiest way to start getting honest is to decide to live and operate through an outlook of gratitude. The reason for this is simple really…In order to be grateful, one must be observant and cognizant of the ways in which they’ve benefitted and are presently benefitting. When you’re grateful, it means you’re paying attention to the positive material impacts others and reality are making on you. Seeing how reality, by proxy of others, benefits you is a great place to start developing a positive relationship with reality. When you recognize all reality does and has done for you, you’re likely to feel inspired to do for others in reality too — as is the way of symbiosis.
Gratitude is not inherent though, it’s practiced, just like entitlement, discontent, aggression and vanity are. And gratitude is a great way to practice being honest, and to shift the focus of observation away from the identity (the mirror), and towards material impacts being made on systems you happen to be part of, or happen to benefit from, or be affected by, e.g., relationships.
For instance, let’s say you’re in a failing romantic relationship. Let’s say everything your partner does is wrong to you, and as such, you’ve fallen out of love with them. The question is, what if your mate isn’t the problem? What if you are? Do you know the best way to figure out what’s real (what’s based in reality) in that circumstance? To view them through a lens of gratitude. Why? Because a lens of gratitude actually forces you to take note of the material impacts they make on you and your life circumstance.
You see, true gratitude isn’t idealistic, it’s transactional. In order to be truly grateful you have to be aware of what’s been done and the ways in which you’ve benefited. In order to be aware of what’s been done, you have to be observant. It’s the same principle that applies to disciplines like science. If you can apply objective measures to an effect or impact, then chances are highly likely that what you observe isn’t subject or limited by or to your internal narrative. Observation and measurements bring us out of the internal narrative and into reality — and gratitude is based on observation.
Conversely, the single greatest threat to honesty is pride. Pride is the sense of value and worth a person experiences for self-actualizing through belief systems, groups, habits, practices, ideals or other social effects. Pride is the sense of value and accomplishment a person feels for being defined by something; and vanity is excessive pride.
The reason why pride is the single greatest threat to honesty is because pride is all about the identity. Again, the identity is fundamentally divorced from reality. It’s a fiction that can only exist and sustain within idealism. Identities are the stories that people either acquire from their environments, or create for themselves and then seek to use as tools to procure resources from social environments.
Fictions can exist in idealism, however, not in reality. In order for the identity to sustain, the actor must block out new information, new characters, new ideas and even reality itself — pretty much anything that might interrupt or derail the internal narrative. It’s mechanically impossible to sync up with reality and block it out at the same time. You’re either consuming, organizing, processing and outputting information, ideas and expressions in real time, or forgoing that process in efforts to preserve the internal narrative. You can’t do both though. It’s one or the other…
In summary, bidirectional honesty is true honesty. True honesty is the individual’s will and effort to recognize, sync up with and become consistent with reality. True honesty is bidirectional in the sense that it applies to information both entering and exiting the individual. It’s not just being honest about what you feel and believe. It’s also being honest about what you observe, and about what can be observed and assessed independently of you — irrespective of whether or not it fits with or affirms your internal narrative.
Bidirectional honesty is also recognizing chains of causality, and developing a holistic awareness for balance for the systems we occupy and perform within. As such, it doesn’t allow people to idealize themselves while vilifying others. It doesn’t focus on getting justice, but instead, on realizing balance. Life isn’t just good things we’ve done for others and bad things that have happened to us. Getting consistent with reality is becoming aware of the chains of causality we impact, and both positively benefit from and negatively contribute to…
We’re all working from a deficit. We should all be trying to reverse the negative impacts we’ve made on and contributed to others and reality, in our grand state of ignorance. It’s no one’s fault that we inherited our life circumstance. It is however our responsibility to learn about reality, and then work to offset all the ways in which we’ve negatively affected it.