Truth, lies and the meaning of integrity

Molly Cahill

In an era where we increasingly rely on the various social media, occasionally the phone and especially e-mail to communicate with each other, it seems like the tendency to lie has dramatically increased. We have begun to focus so much on getting an immediate answer that the honest one has fallen by the wayside. The truth has become less something we expect and more something we have to ferret out.

Looking someone in the eye while communicating makes it more difficult to spout off a bold-faced lie. A large part of how humans communicate with each other comes from body language and facial cues. The disconnect caused by our increasing reliance on electronic forms of communication has made people more dishonest than ever before. How much easier is it to send off a text to your parents telling them you’re studying for a midterm when in actuality you’ve been toking up on top of one of the heating vents around campus?

The fast-paced and distant way with which we can communicate these days has fostered a greater understanding between people who may not have met otherwise. But it has also allowed us to become more like the disseminating politicians whose promises we mistrust.

Just because you now have this digital barrier between you and the person you’re shining on does not release you from the social obligation to communicate the truth.

People spend so much time and energy trying to make others happy that they forget what they believed in the first place. We are not meant to be identical clones of our fellow human beings. We are born with brains and live lives that give us the opportunity to form our own unique opinions.

In classes, students like to adopt their professor’s point of view in hopes of getting a better grade. Any teacher worth his salt can spot this routine a mile away. Which student is he going to admire? Not the ones who can parrot back the lecture word-for-word, but the students who took what they were taught and formed their own theories.

If you don’t want to do something, don’t. So often it seems like people will agree to do something and either do a poor job or not do it at all. The only thing that is accomplished with such avoidance tactics is a loss of trust. The next time you consider promising to help someone without any real intention of following through, remember that with every burned bridge you’ve alienated a potential contact. That person will no longer trust you, and others will hear about it.

We need to learn to be more honest with each other.

Stand up for yourself. You have an opinion and a legal right to express it simply as a byproduct of the fact that you live in this country. There is always going to be someone out there who doesn’t agree with you. But, the thing is, pretending to agree with them is not being polite. What you’re doing is showing how little respect you have for both yourself and for them.

We each have our own moral code, a system of beliefs that guide us in our everyday lives. They are unique to each of us, and the truth can sometimes be relative to those beliefs. But we owe it to others and ourselves to be as honest as we can and hold to our word because in the end, the strength of our integrity is measured by how readily people can believe what we say.

Molly Cahill is a senior pre-journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact her at [email protected].