Honesty Parameters

I watched the movie “Interstellar” a couple of weeks ago.  I really enjoyed the film on a lot of different levels.  The story was interesting.  The relationships between the different characters is complex and multi-faceted.  The film was based on scientific theory that I am interested in.  The special effects were well done and the score was enchanting.  Overall it was a really enjoyable film.  The film also tackled some questions about what it means to be human.  The one that piqued my interest was about honesty.

At one point in the film, Anne Hathaway’s character says to Matthew McConaughey’s character, “I’m just being honest.”  McConaughey’s character then asked the robot, TARS, if he had an honesty setting.  The robot’s response was it is set at 90%.

“Absolute honesty isn’t always the most diplomatic nor safest form of communication with emotional beings.” -TARS

That got me thinking…….as an emotional being dealing with other emotional beings………How honest is too honest?  What do the people around me view as being honest?  Is it okay to lie?  When?  I brought up this subject with a few of my friends and the resulting conversations were enlightening and interesting.

When I asked the first friend her thoughts on honesty her instant response was too much honesty can get you hurt.  She said that when you tell someone feelings and they aren’t ready to hear what you are saying they lash out.  The honesty is too much for them.  You have to be careful how much you share, even with those you are closest to.

This same friend also said that you have to be careful who you share things with.  There are some people who you are really superficial with.  You don’t lie to them.  You just don’t necessarily tell them anything of any importance.  And there are other people in your life that you know on a deeper level.  You tend to be more open or honest, sharing more with them.

The next friend that I spoke to said that there are levels of honesty especially when it comes to self preservation.  For example, he said, if you are in a job with a boss that is micro-managing, wanting you to work all the time and calls you in to work on your days off, you may not be forth coming about your days off.  My friend continued to say that if his boss thinks he is at home on his days off, the boss would call him back in to work.  But if his boss thinks he is out of town, he wouldn’t get the call.  For self preservation, you may not tell this person where you intend to spend your time when you are not at your job.  So I asked my friend, why don’t you just say no, I’m not available.  He said that in his company people who don’t come in to cover shifts don’t last long.  It’s a sad statement about the company he works for because everyone needs a break to recharge.  But I understood what he was saying.  I worked for someone that was exactly like that.  She would call or text you on your days off or when you were on vacation.  If you didn’t respond she would write you up or berate you in front of other staff members.  You learned to do what you had to do to protect yourself.  Is this dishonest or self preservation?

The third friend I spoke with about honesty said that there are people who say they are honest but are really just cruel.  I instantly understood what she was talking about.  You may know a person like this.  This person says things and claims they are “truth” when it is their opinion and often what they say is mean and hurtful.  This person can be disparaging about themselves but the “truth” is often aimed at others.  This person wields their “honesty” with the skill of a samurai swordsman, cutting down everything and everyone that they come into contact with.  This kind honesty is hurtful and harmful.

My next friend said that she tells the truth because then she doesn’t have to remember the lie.  If she has to deviate from the truth, she tries to keep it as close to the truth as possible.  Like one of the other people I spoke to, she said that she doesn’t share everything with everyone.  Instead of lying, she stated that she would just not tell a particular person something.  Not everyone gets full disclosure.

The last friend that I asked about honesty quoted, “Honesty is the best policy.”  And then he said, “but that doesn’t mean you can always tell someone everything.”  As he works in they type of job that requires security clearance, I think what he meant was that you can’t and shouldn’t always share things.  In his case if he talked about his job, it could get him fired.  Not everyone works where they are required to sign nondisclosure forms.  However, there are things about all of us that no other human being on the planet needs to know.  And I don’t believe that it is being dishonest if one doesn’t share every detail about oneself.

Here is what I learned:

  • Yes, there is such a thing as too much honesty and not everyone can handle hearing the truth;
  • We choose who we feel comfortable sharing and being honest with;
  • A white lie may be “dishonest” but it can also be self preservation;
  • Honesty can be used as a weapon;
  • If you don’t lie you don’t have to try and remember it; and
  • You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to.

I also learned that I have really cool friends that will tackle complex topics with me.

As an emotional being dealing with other emotional beings, I am going to continue forward doing the best that I can to be safe, diplomatic and at least 90% honest in all areas of my life.

Annihilation – Authority – Acceptance

I have talked about recharging creatively through exercise.  Sometimes in order to recharge my creativity I need to enjoy someone else’s creative efforts.

I get an email that focuses on reading lists of books and is called “Read It Forward.”  It show cases different collections of stories and has reviews.  In one of the emails was listed the book “Annihilation” by Jeff VanderMeer.  It is the first in the Southern Reach Trilogy. The description intrigued me…….An expedition of four women into an area that was cut off from the rest of the world.  I had to get my hands on this book.  I was also up to my eyeballs in having to complete two canvases for an exhibition.  So I made a bargain with myself…….if I could find the book, I would be allowed to read it once the first canvas was finished.  So I scoured local bookstores until I found it.  I also noted that they had the second but not the third book in this series.  So I bought the first one and went home to work on my canvas……I really wanted to read this book.

“Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world for decades.  Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization.  The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another.  The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer.”

– Annihilation book coverAnnihilation

After finishing the first canvas, I read “Annihilation” in three nights.  It was fascinating and terrifying at the same time.  I couldn’t tell if it was fiction or science fiction.  The descriptions and unfolding of the story had captivated me.  It was like Alfred Hitchcock, M. Night Shyamalan, Agatha Christie, and Sir Edmond Hillary got together and wrote this book.  An expedition filled with suspense, mystery and terror.  I wanted more.  I wanted “Authority,” the second book.  But I had another canvas to finish.  This time I knew that I could not go purchase the second book until I had finished the canvas or it would never get done.  So…..in record time, I finished the canvas and got the art works shipped.  I had to know what happened next.

“After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X – a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization – has been a series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the Southern Reach.  Following the tumultuous twelfth expedition chronicled in ‘Annihilation,’ the agency is in complete disarray.”

-Authority book coverAuthority

I read “Authority” in three nights as well.  The mystery deepens.  The suspense and terror are different but equally unnerving.  Questions are answered but you are not sure of the answers.  This is like the X-files on steroids.  I had to know more.  But sadly none of the book stores in town had the third book “Acceptance.”  So I ordered it and had it shipped to my home.  I anxiously checked my mailbox every day until it arrived.

“It is winter in Area X, the mysterious wilderness that has defied explanation for thirty years, rebuffing expedition after expedition, refusing to reveal its secrets.  As Area X expands, the agency tasked with investigating and overseeing it – the Southern Reach – has collapsed in on itself in confusion.  Now one last, desperate team crosses the border, determined to reach a remote island that may hold the answers they’ve been seeking.  If they fail, the outer world is in peril.”

– Acceptance book coveracceptance

I finished “Acceptance” in two days.  The questions asked and the answers given raise even more questions….. Do we really understand space/time?  Can evolution be a choice?  Is science supernatural phenomena?  How do you define life?

I highly recommend this trilogy.  However, these are not quaint cute stories.  These books are thought-provoking, thrilling and terrifying……a fascinating read.  I have not been so excited to read a series of books since the Harry Potter books.  Thank you Jeff VanderMeer for writing these novels.  My world and imagination have been enhanced by your creative work.  I hope that my excitement and enjoyment of these books causes others to take their imaginations on an expedition to the mysterious Area X.

Thanks to these amazing books, I am recharged, refreshed and ready for another creative adventure.

Phaistos Disc

Found in 1908 by Italian Archeologist Luigi Pernier in the Minoan Palace of Phaistos, the disc has imprints of 241 tokens comprising 45 unique signs made by pressing hieroglyphic seals into a disc of soft clay.  Although many attempts have been made to decipher the signs or code of the disc, it has never been deciphered.  Generally, it is believed to be authentic by archeologists.  However, there are some who believe it is a forgery or a hoax.

If you find this little introduction of the Phaistos Disc to be interesting, I recommend looking it up on the internet.  There is a lot of information about and images of the disc.

untitledPhaistos Disc

So what does the Phaistos Disc have to do with living a creative life?  For some nothing.  For me, it is a lesson…..

I have been struggling with a complex friendship for several years.  This person will say or do something that to me suggests the relationship is developing or becoming closer, and when I respond they push me away.  There are times of open and honest communication and then no communication for weeks at a time.  Sometimes communication would be extremely positive and other times negative and hurtful.  I tried being supportive, positive, open, give the person space, just let them know that I am here for them, etc.  To me, it seemed like no matter what I did or said this person took it out of context, didn’t read/listen to what I had said or read/heard only what they wanted to hear.  (Yes, we all behave like this from time to time.)

While hiking with a friend, I shared my perplexity and expressed my confusion of this individual’s behavior.  I said more than once that I just truly do not understand this person.  I had also said that I was trying to figure out what lesson do I need to be learning from this experience.

On the drive back to town from the hike, my friend shared that she listens to pod casts on various things.  One in particular that she thought I might like is about things they don’t teach in history class.  She said that she heard an episode about the Phaistos Disc.  That they have been trying to figure it out ever since it was discovered and there was controversy around it as some scholars believe it to be a fake.  Apparently there are different academic schools of thought on the disc and they disagree about what the disc means, what the symbols mean, how it should be interpreted etc.  Towards the end of the pod cast my friend came to the conclusion that all this academic thought is fine but we may never know what the symbols mean or if the disc is even real.

Ephiphany……Light bulb…..Apple to the head!!  This complex relationship is my Phaistos Disc.  I can go over and over and over and over the relationship, their behavior, my behavior, etc….. I am never going to figure it out.  Why spend this endless amount of time and energy on something that I am never going to figure out?  And this constant dwelling on the past is draining and does not bring happiness to my life.  It is taking time and energy from my creativity.  It is taking time and energy from me fully enjoying my life.  I need to let go of this idea that I have to figure it out.  Not all puzzles can be solved.  I need to let go of this negative cycle.

The Phaistos Disc is my lesson in letting go.  There are some things that I am never going to understand.  I cannot change this relationship but I can change myself.  I am making that change by letting go.  In the future whenever I come across a situation that I do not understand and will probably never understand, I will think of the Phaistos Disc and let it go.