Website owner:  James Miller

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On dishonesty in speech and thought

   One of the greatest mistakes that a great many people make 
   involves dishonesty in speech.  They are careless in the 
   statements they make or they exaggerate or distort or just 
   plain lie.  Reason, Wisdom, and Understanding call for 
   integrity and honesty in speech.  What happens when we make 
   some statement that is wrong?  Well, we are likely to be found 
   out.  The people surrounding us are likely to have sharper eyes 
   than we may think.  They may just note in their minds the error 
   in our words or they may confront us.  Errors in statements can 
   come from dishonesty or from false ideas or ignorance.  None of 
   these are complimentary.  None of us likes to be accused of 
   them.  So what happens when we are confronted by someone about 
   the correctness of an assertion we have made?  Well, if this 
   happens with one of those rare individuals who just happens to 
   be an honest man, a sincere lover of truth, a man of integrity, 
   he will probably humbly question you about why you are 
   questioning his assertion and after carefully considering what 
   you have to say decide if he agrees with you or not.  If he 
   decides that you are right and he is wrong he will humbly 
   reply, "You are absolutely right and I was wrong."  However, 
   unfortunately, a great many people are not this type of person.  
   So how do they respond when they are confronted in their error?  
   Well, they regard it as an affront.  The natural inclination is 
   to defend yourself.  One of the most common responses is anger.  
   They hit the roof; erupt like a volcano, shooting fire ten 
   miles high; they take the attitude, "How dare you challenge 
   me?" and go on the offensive with all kinds of argument, 
   challenges and ugly words.  So what has happened here?  They 
   have made one moral error (i.e. one sin) by their false 
   statement and it has become compounded by a lot more moral 
   errors (i.e. more sins) -- for anger, argument, and arrogance 
   are all moral errors (i.e. they are sins).

   Dishonesty in speech is closely connected with dishonesty in 
   thought.  Errors in speech are closely connected with errors in 
   thought.  Errors in thought, whether they come from careless or 
   lazy thinking, ignorance or wherever, tend to reveal themselves 
   as errors in speech.  Dishonesty in thought, dishonest and 
   warped thinking, tends to reveal itself in dishonesty in 
   speech.  Foolish ideas that we have talked ourselves into 
   believing, that we have foolishly convinced ourselves of for 
   whatever reason (whether it be reasons of ego, pride or 
   whatever), tend to make their way to the tongue.  [ Example: 
   the man who has talked himself into believing that he is the 
   greatest thing that has ever walked the face of the earth 
   usually reveals the idea in his speech. ]  Moreover, falsehoods 
   that we talk ourselves into believing (or come to believe in 
   one way or another) infect later thought and create more false 
   ideas.  Ideas build up on top of each other.  If foundation 
   assumptions are fallacious and we build upon fallacious 
   assumptions we get an entire edifice that is bad.  The thoughts 
   we think and the beliefs, opinions and attitudes that we 
   gradually come to program us.  They influence and control later 
   thought and development and shape what we become.  If they are 
   fallacious or wrong they shape us wrongly.

   Not only does error in thought tend to lead to error in speech 
   but the reverse is also true.  False assertions made to others 
   tend to influence subsequent thought.  Why?  Because when 
   people make false statements to others they tend to come to 
   believe them themselves.  They tend to come to believe their 
   own falsehoods.  Once people have set themselves on a course 
   they don't like to admit they are wrong.  They tend to stick 
   with that course even if it is a wrong one.  Rather than 
   examining and questioning the course they tend to defend it.  
   It is a matter of ego.  Thus a false course, once set on, tends 
   to result in self-deception.

   What lies behind honesty and carefulness in thought and speech?  
   It is love of truth, a sincere belief in truthfulness and 
   honesty.  It arises from the soul that loves Truth, Wisdom and 
   Understanding.  Underlying it is a personal commitment to 
   Understanding and Truth.  It is a mental outlook and set of 
   mental habits that values truthfulness, honesty, justness, 
   fairness, impartiality and objectiveness.  And very closely 
   related to all of this is love of God.

   An honest man is honest in his appraisals even of his worst 
   enemy.  He gives even those he dislikes due credit for whatever 
   they deserve.  He treats everyone justly and fairly, even an 
   enemy.  By habit he thinks impartially and objectively.  He is 
   not a creature of impulse.  He is a creature of reason and 
   thought.  His first allegiance is to God and Truth. 

   The soul that is committed to Truth is concerned about his 
   words, that they be honest and true.  He watches his words, 
   monitors them, takes care to be sure that they are correct.  He 
   watches his wording and phraseology, takes his speech 
   seriously, speaks responsibly, qualifies what he says 
   carefully.  If his assertions come from some source he quotes 
   the source.  He tries to provide the basis for his assertions, 
   exhibiting the rationale on which they are based. 

   Jun(?) 2006

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