Roger von Oech

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Matt Dickman

Roger -- That's very interesting. My first reaction is that we would all have fewer friends, but the ones we did have would be stronger and more loyal.

I think one area to think about more is that truth is subjective. What I hold as the truth would be perceived differently by someone who is processing an event through their own filters. So whose truth is the real truth?

Sneha Abraham

we'd probably have fewer migraines and more conflict -- but better conflict (at least we're fighting honestly!). it would be a lame excuse for some people to be brutal (truth and kindness must go hand in hand). it would clean up politics. there would likely be fewer jobs in ad, marketing and sales fields. courtship would have more clarity. would go under -- and we'd probably date a whole lot less!

Ahmad Alhashemi

We will learn to be much more understanding and forgiving. We will also learn to be much more careful. Maybe too careful and less creative.

The word "corroborate" will be missing from the dictionary.

April 1st will be a regular day.

I hope that this doesn't apply to when the other party knows it is not true. Otherwise we will not have fiction writing, comic books, movies and TV shows.

Cam Beck

If humans always told the truth, we would develop an uncanny ability to cloud the clear. Ambiguity, not clarity, would be the order of the day.

I'm a fan of honesty, but with our fallen nature, we are not ready for it. Changing a rule without changing the nature that led to its practice makes us no better for it.


it is not as simple as truth or lie
some people do lie and mislead intentionally

many others, however, believe the "truths" they are telling, but these may be distorted-truths or lesser-truths

as I was told today: wisdom is relative. That is, what is ordinary and obvious to a wise man, may be "great wisdom" to a less wise man, or perhaps, even, "a revelation".

However when the spread between wise and less wise is too great, the wisdom of the wise may appear to be "simply nonsense" to the less wise.

Jim Jansen

what a great topic. Sent from an iPhone in Palo Alto.

Roy Jacobsen

I think people would have to learn the difference between truth and opinion. (Not that that wouldn't be a bad thing anyway.)

Anyway, if everyone always told the truth, political campaigns would be much cheaper.

A person's refusal to answer a question might say more than an answer.

Roger von Oech

Matt: I agree that truth can be subjective. But what if we never deviated from what we consider to be true. As you suggest, those closest to us might be more accepting of who we are (even though they didn't always agree with us).

Sneha: You point some interesting ramifications. I especially like your comment about there being "more clarity in courtship." I guess if someone accepts your (brutally) honest assessments of them, then you've got a real soul-mate.

Ahmad: "We will learn to be much more understanding and forgiving" -- I like this. If we are always honest, I guess we'd also develop the ability to receive (and accept) unvarnished truth.

Cam: Good point, and perhaps I should be clearer: What if it were our nature to always tell the truth?"

BTW: I'm a big fan of ambiguity: indeed, I think it's a great stimulant to the creative process (a whole 30-page chapter in my book "A Whack on the Side of the Head" is dedicated to the joys of ambiguity). This said, I think there's a big difference between trying to understand an ambiguous situation and one that is intentionally dishonest ("I did not inhale"). On the other hand, perhaps we'd all learn to speak more cryptically (like an oracle).

David: Yeah, good points. And this begins to get into the communications side of this issue/

Jim: My first iPhone comment! I'm (truly) honored. I'm sure it's the first of many.

Roy: "A person's refusal to answer a question might say more than an answer." Indeed. On the other head, maybe we'd all have grown accustomed to dealing with the truth, and would be better able to handle it.


I suppose it depends on whether we've always been like that, or if it's a sudden change from present conditions.

If we've always been like that, "trust" would never be an issue. Presumably sarcasm or similar forms of humour wouldn't exist. Fiction wouldn't exist, or will start off as "In my imagination, I imagine this..."

If this was a sudden change, for a while relationships would be rocked, but I think some would be stronger too. Some people would fall into crisis because what they've always believed doesn't work. Silence would be more prevalent.


I honestly don't think anyone would like me too much if I said what I truly thought.

I have a friend who usually doesn't hide her truth or sugarcoat anything. I'm still her friend, but I must admit... I don't always go to her for advice or to confide in.

If you don't mind, I'd like to take this issue up on my own blog?

Thanks, as always!


Cam Beck

"What if it were our nature to always tell the truth?"

Hmm... To answer that completely, wouldn't we have to identify what it is about us that entices us to lie and eliminate that?

Valeria Maltoni


There are embedded reason in nature of "Why We Lie", a delightful book by David Livingstone Smith. The answer is not part of the moral realm as we would like to think; deception and self-deception are part of our evolutionary fabric and reside in the unconscious region of the brain...

And since under the best of circumstances truth is subjective, how do we know?


i wonder what this would do for science, since it is fact-based. what would happen to the evolution v. intelligent design debate?

and what would it do for religion? in terms of cam's "fallen nature" comment, which seems to be a common thread across several traditions, if it was not in our nature to tell the truth, the telling of it might be part of the spiritual struggle. if it were in our nature, would we still have the same diversity of traditions? does truth mean one answer or interpretation?

in terms of politics, i don't know how much would change. if someone who is corrupt had to tell the truth by his nature or whatever means, perhaps he would just find some other outlet for power-grabbing.

as for literature-- i like ahmed's assessment of it. reminds me of the quote [i think by picasso]-- "art is a lie which forces us to tell the truth." nothing like being able to escape into fiction when necessary!

Randy Bosch

o Would myth and legend be obsolete concepts?

o Good points on "subjective truths" that are passed by many (all); those often fall under my "True Tales of the Legendary Past" heading, since "historical truth" is what is published by the survivor/victor/victim.

o Obfuscation would replace deceit.


harsh reality v.s. human morality


One would never ever would have gotten a girlfriend...

Robert Ray Hedges

Trace the impending death of all humans to human intention. There you will find the coma.
And there you will also find mortality solutions. It's just beyond our denial; our one chance....together we stand up in truth.

This is the Beautiful Website!

Thank You!

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