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Jean-Charles Longuet

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Telling the truth: are there limits?

Two recent talks focused on "Truth" as something good/moral. Practically, however, some information may cause havoc: the Wikileaks diplomatic data disclosure, for example, coulad have put some people at risk.

How should we manage the decision to disclose (or not) such information? Or manage the moral dilemma when telling a lie may have a positive outcome?

[update 2012/11/25] The conversation initially mixed a few things : Truth is something that is not as obvious as it seems, and Lies are more related to a deceiving/manipulative intention that to the hiding of some Truth.

Anyway, all points of views are welcome.


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  • Nov 27 2012: TRUTH is of the highest importance. If one does not have the courage or wisdom to express truth, silence is an acceptable alternative, even though it may slow up the progress of the sender and receiver in accomplishing their positive goals. Truth is powerful. When everyone expresses truth as they know it at the moment of expression, we will all be living happily ever after. Soon, maybe. Anything positive is possible. We all have choice about what to focus on. Some people associate "truth" with negativity, which, in itself demonstrates the negativity of those who believe that. Truth is neutral. We choose what we focus on, what we express. We have the power and freedom to focus on and express positive. May as well. A stream of positive consequences flows.......
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      Nov 27 2012: 'Some people associate "truth" with negativity, which, in itself demonstrates the negativity of those who believe that.'

      That argument seems quite flawed to me : you claim that "Truth is neutral", so associating "truth" to positivity is as flawed as associating it with negativity. Why should one opinion be better than the other ? You could apply the same positive/negative people distinction based on any belief then.

      And "Honesty" is not "Truth". Truth is not only expressed by facts : our perception is involved, our communication too, or way to represent the world... The sentence "Green is a beautiful color" is true for some people and false for other.
      • Nov 28 2012: Good morning, Colleen. Jean-Charles, Each person knows when they express something, if they are expressing the truth as they perceive it and it takes extra energy to lie, so they know when they are intentionally expressing lies. I repeat: truth is neutral. Which truth you choose to express is your choice. If you choose positive truths or choose to focus on negative, that is your choice. It has nothing to do with truth. The point is, people know within themselves when they are expressing truth or lies. We grew up in a society (e.g., religions) that attempt to control human behavior with negativity, e.g., do what I tell you to do or God will getcha and hurt you. This is the brainwashing we must reverse. WE CHOOSE WHAT WE FOCUS ON. Let's focus on positive. This is a separate point from expressing truth, except that I am always amazed at how many people associate the concept of truth with negative expressions, e.g., your dress is ugly, thinking they are being honest. Silence is always an option. TRUTH expression makes society more efficient and ultrimately more positive, if our fellow Earthlings make a conscious choice to focus on posiitive. Sorry I confused you. By the way, for that person, "green is a beautiful color" so that person is expressing a truth as they behold it at the moment of expression.
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          Nov 28 2012: RHONA! YOU CAUGHT ME PEEKING IN!!! I just noticed that you added my name...LOL!

          I agree....agree....agree...people KNOW when they are expressing a lie...it takes extra energy and stress to lie...truth is neutral...how we interpret the information may take it out of the "neutral" state....which truth we express is a choice...we choose what we focus on...silence is always an option...all very well said my friend!

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