Can we arrive at the point of being consistent in our truth-sharing approach? Refer to the split-image focusing of an SLR or DSLR camera. When the top and bottom of the split-image are in alignment, the picture is in focus. So, applied to sharing the truth: as we share one more point of truth in a situation, does the conclusion or decision change? Is there focused alignment with truth?
We pick up our conversation on truth-sharing with a reminder that we are committed to not deceiving. We are not yet discussing how we arrived at this commitment. Neither are we digging into a lengthy definition of truth. For our purposes, truth is expressing that which is true. Please allow me some latitude in this acknowledged “thin” definition of truth so we can explore some practical ways of applying ethics and integrity in our lives. We will get to defining truth as we continue building our framework of ethical decision-making. For now, we will stick to this commitment of not deceiving knowing we have as the topic of our next conversation the things that motivate us to share the truth and not deceive.
We hear about people taking advantage of a loophole in their taxes, or other situation. Do loopholes really exist? The term “Loophole” implies taking advantage of a situation through deception.
Interpret with Understanding
Frequently, regulations require some sort of interpretation in order to take action. Because regulations are put forth from a distant relationship, it is fairly easy to justify a little deception in order to benefit ourselves, or take advantage of a loophole. However, when an interpretation is needed (and we have committed to not deceive), then the approach to interpreting the regulation should be made by gathering the facts, understanding the intent of the regulation, and assess the logic of the proposed actions.
Note, the interpretation of regulations and laws can only occur at a point in time. If laws change, then one needs to reassess the actions taken as it relates to the updated regulations. If this is done without the intent of deceiving, then integrity has been upheld (meaning, our commitment to truth is seen in our actions).
Loopholes Do Not Exist
It should be understood that any perceived opportunities missed (or not able to be taken advantage of) while not deceiving during the process of interpreting the laws and regulations were never available to us in the first place. So, the point is, loopholes do not exist.
The balance to the question of whether or not to share more information is to consider the full context and understanding of the situation. Perhaps by sharing just one inappropriate piece of information the situation is not fully understood, and actually misunderstanding occurs.
An example of this a friend shared with me is when he introduces me to a new group of people. He knows about bad decisions I have made in the past that have shaped me into who I am today. If he focused on these mistakes during the introduction, the group of people who are just getting to know me would be stuck in my past without ever learning about who I am today.
As a simple prompt in our daily activities, can this question help us live a life of integrity and ethical decision-making: “If I do not share more truth, is there deception?” Additionally, is there alignment of what is true and what is being communicated as truth? Is the focus on clear communication with integrity and not deceiving?
[photo credit: Madhur Vyas; Bikaner, Raj – India; pentaxphotogallery.com]