Sunday Church For Animals: Truth vs. Honesty


27 years ago, some dude taught me the proper distinction between truths, lies, honesty, and dishonesty.

It has been at the foundation of everything I’ve ever done since.

Our social system is based on gotcha lies and praised truths. Nobody is truly honest, the greatest aspiration for a human. The contextless truths and lies stack up until it’s just profound dishonesty.

Truths and lies are static pictures, usually with a cherry-picked context. Honesty and dishonesty mean you have to integrate everything known or reasonably knowable and craft the metaphor or narrative from there, editing as you go along. Intransigent people in the face of new facts are dishonest people. Whether they tell various truths and lies, disproportionately ether way, or not.

Moreover and quite perniciously, all of the society has been dishonestly manipulated for several thousands of years by those who are fully integrated liars—the dishonest on purpose. In other words, same integrated process as honesty, but in reverse. So they are cheaters, in a sense, using the exact same process one uses, to be honest, but to spin complex narrative and clever context to exact unearned livings by being more meticulous in dishonesty than us failing humans are in our struggles, to be honest.

This is fundamentally why I had short interludes with all—without a single exception—Randian Objectivists, libertarians, and even anarchists (the most honest). Everyone wants to bat truths and lies back and forth. Nobody wants to identify who’s honest and who’s dishonest.

A good way to wrap your mind around the distinction so that you can go on from here is to consider a murder trial.

That it’s a killing is a matter of truth or lie. It’s either a killing or it’s not; that’s just a static fact.

But, if it’s the truth is that it’s a killing, is it murder? This is where fully integrated honesty comes in.

Don’t be fucking stupid. Always see through and to the root of every fucking thing, without an exception ever.

(My eternal gratitude to Wallace Ward aka Frank R. Wallace, and to my longtime forever friend, Kelvin Parker).

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Martin Archer on May 21, 2017 at 21:10

    yeah – but without lying you wouldn’t have an excellent series like “The Americans” – Smiley Emoji –

    • Richard Nikoley on May 21, 2017 at 21:12

      Shit, I’m a whore for The Americans. That, and The Blacklist.

      You a fellow helpless whore?

    • Martin Archer on May 22, 2017 at 10:21

      thanks for introducing it to me via your comments here awhile back. That really is an amazing series, how they’ve made the protagonists into people you somehow want to prevail, despite the fact they are truly evil commies who ruin and end people’s lives. I just got to the part in season 4 where Martha is shipped off to Moscow. Sad to see her and Nina written out of the show as the actresses’ performances were so utterly brilliant.

  2. Preston on May 22, 2017 at 08:21

    I’ve still got my NeoTech books in my library.

  3. Nocona on May 22, 2017 at 17:03

    Raymond Reddington. Know thyself, probably. And Ressler using the new “cleaner”, classic! I think he is getting closer to the truth.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 22, 2017 at 18:08

      Pretty awesome back-to-back two-parter.

  4. thhq on May 23, 2017 at 05:32

    In years of work, “the truth” was usually described well enough with a multilinear regression. Non linear was sometimes a little better, but linear was good enough to make accurate decisions.

    I prefer that approach to making sacrifices and looking for signs from the gods. If the Greeks had had the ability to invert matrices and fit least squares they probably would have done the same.

  5. Hap on May 23, 2017 at 08:30

    there is a presumption ….that mathematics is how to represent Truth. The Greeks would have rejected your premise……even though they were always smitten by aesthetics.

    • thhq on May 23, 2017 at 20:41

      Statistics uses mathematics, but it’s empiricism rather than precise solutions. For example, in my field plate theory models were astoundingly inaccurate for predicting how boxes fail under load. Common sense – simple empirical models – describes performance much better. The models are not perfectly correct, but are better at circumscribing the chance of random failures. Safety factors -overdesign – reduce random failures to acceptable levels.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 23, 2017 at 21:00

      Do your models account for this?


    • thhq on May 24, 2017 at 04:23

      I’m not used to seeing such devotion to saving the product….no one cared this much about a slumping pallet of iced chicken boxes….

      The concept of random failure in chicken warehouses was stretched to “no birds on the floor”. The boxes didn’t have to be good, just good enough to keep the competitor’s boxes out. Sometimes just being able to keep empty boxes in the warehouse was more critical than performance. Logistics is a factor too.

      Truth essentially functioned as needed in multifactorial comparisons. Dialectics on the fly.

  6. Jack on May 23, 2017 at 23:59

    Truth or honesty? Morrissey or the journo? At least the commenters can tell the difference.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 24, 2017 at 00:15

      The last thing you need is for me to tell you which.

  7. MAJ on May 24, 2017 at 04:03

    Don’t watch The Americans but I do watch The Blacklist. Raymond Reddington is possibly the best character I’ve seen on network TV in, well, ever. Spader is too good in the role. I’m not caught up on the last four episodes yet. This Gale guy openly weeping every other scene is irritating, and I still can’t figure out why Lizzie is ta’veren after the whole reveal of her toy bunny and the hidden data. But I keep on, because Spader. He mesmerizes me and husband and I have taken to quoting him when teasing each other.

    Truth is in the eye of the beholder…hmmm? No, truth is truth. Dead is dead. Nuance comes from why. But moral and cultural relativism are sticky, and what is right in one place is not quite right elsewhere. I advocate borders for this reason. You do you, but over there please.

    • thhq on May 24, 2017 at 05:14

      Usually something only has to be true enough to function. For the Greeks, slingers and archers were good enough, until they were attacked by cavalry. Then it didn’t matter what you sacrificed to the gods the night before. Truth had let you down.

  8. the zed on May 24, 2017 at 09:09

    This post should be compulsory reading for everyone everywhere.
    I keep trying to explain this to people, but they’d rather obfuscate and hide behind “facts”.
    And that’s why so many (most) things are in the fucking toilet.

    Anyway, thank you Richard.

  9. Hap on May 24, 2017 at 16:37

    You should read Victor Davis Hanson on Greek hoplites and their skirmishes with expert Persian cavalry.

    They were quite good at spikes and formations to deal with cavalry, although on foot. They conquered Persia.

    Your comment about archers and slingers is insufficient.

    You are also a bit misguided about the Greeks and the relationships with their gods. Propitiation or not….they always understood the capricious and sometimes inscrutable nature of Gods.

    • thhq on May 25, 2017 at 05:36

      I’m influenced by just having read the Anabasis. Use of guidance from the gods via sacrifices and signs – searching for “truth” – was used for strategic direction rather than for field tactics. A considerable part of the narrative involves debate and persuasion, not invoking the gods but dealing with the daily issue of survival in hostile places. That involved common sense – honesty – about the real situation. The Greek army’s ability to return from Persia after losing at Cunaxa and subsequently losing all their leaders is a result of their human organizational skills rather than divine truths.

  10. Hap on May 25, 2017 at 11:18


Leave a Comment

Follow by Email8k