That title woke you up, didn’t it? But this is a serious question, with serious consequences.
An experiment was conducted by psychologists, and as space prohibits great detail on the hows and whens I will get to the point. The researchers conducted an experiment to identify how ethical a group of investment bankers were at the office and at home. They conducted some tests which required self-reporting on results by the subject bankers, but the tests were designed so that random results could be prevented even though the subjects weren’t being supervised. Basically, they were honesty tests.
The results were interesting. What they found was this: investment bankers lie very easily and quickly in a working environment, but far less so, indeed almost never, in a home environment. Taken across the occupational board, could this mean that we all lie easily at work, but less frequently at home? Are we inclined to be two-faced?
Advertisers can’t possibly believe half the tripe they peddle. Politicians are the greatest hypocrites of all. Lawyers have to conceal their own suspicions – even truth – if they are to make an honest (sic) buck. And police officers? “Of course you’ll get bail if you confess.” Ahem.
But lie to their kith and kin? Not if they want an easy life.
To an extent, I understand how dishonesty has become a ‘legitimate’ worklife tool. Ugly as it is, the legal system would collapse if people couldn’t trust their lawyers to at least act in confidence. Some dishonesty – usually of an omission rather than commission type – is required as a means of getting to the truth. If we told criminals about all the evidence held by the coppers, they’d invent excuses to cover it; withholding facts so that the dishonest can be caught out, is a necessity.
But there comes a point when absolute honesty is essential, and as a ‘character’ exponent (no I’m not perfect but I’d like to be), I believe that we all firmly know where the truth line sits.
The question always follows – are we always willing, even dedicated, to staying that one side of the line?
Some people are, some people aren’t. I know that to my own cost. People invent stuff, or they invent consequences of stuff, or they twist stuff. It’s human nature, to make facts fit the Markle – the ‘personal truth’ – in order to get what you want.
But one thing about human nature is that people can choose. They can choose to lie, cheat, steal and exaggerate, or they can choose to
- Tell the truth whatever the cost;
- Act in keeping with ethical codes; and
- Forgive others when they proverbially trespass against those codes.
I know which side of the line I prefer to stand. And I know what I think of those who don’t. even if I do forgive them, eventually.
Bunch of bankers.
For more on this subject, read The Three Resolutions, available HERE from Amazon (paperback and Kindle available)