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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


February 28th, 2020

Honesty is the master variable in life.  It’s the reason why we have money: it allows us to trust strangers to a hitherto unheard of degree.  Because we need to interact with so many strangers, we don’t have time nor the memory capacity to vet them all, so money truncates this process.  Like anything, it’s not perfect, but it gets the job done.


If everyone maintained the ability to be 100% honest, there would actually be less of a need for money.  Most people can see this for themselves in personal relations.  We generally don’t charge friends and family or at least we don’t charge them as much if say it’s business related, and we certainly don’t nickel and dime them because the degree of trust is much higher with those people than say compared with a random stranger. 


Dishonesty is the most efficient disease for rotting close relationships.  To highlight this in another way, consider this question:  would you buy a computer that lies about the information it has stored?  Say you are tracking your finances on a spreadsheet, but every time you bring it up, the numbers are different.


Such a computer is only good as a practical joke, and it’s certainly not something anyone would buy for the same reasons we actually do buy and use computers.


And yet, many of us, often by our own complicity keep company that is quite like this dishonest computer.  The ambient dishonesty is perhaps fairly low, and perhaps that’s ok, but more likely, the harmless white lie keeps the slope to more serious deceptions slippery. 


The strange thing is that most white lies are seen as a form of convenience, even though it requires additional memory in the long term.  In the short term it might result in less effort and seem efficient, but in the long term this can be wildly inaccurate.  The pun is, of course, intended.


Best to maintain the lowest tolerance possible, from one’s self and others.


After all, there’s certainly the possibility that our computer forgets something we need, that it crashes, or a bug disrupts it’s usual processes.


Not even a computer is perfect, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth striving for.



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Podcast Ep. 684: Dishonest Computer

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