Honesty Is The Best Policy Essay

1987 WordsApr 22, 20168 Pages
Honesty is the Best Policy Yuki Toda The Honest Woodcutter, is one of Aesop’s Fables. It tells a story where a woodcutter drops his axe into a river by accident. Because this is his only means of livelihood, he sits and weeps. A Goddess takes pity on this man, and dives into the river returning with a golden axe. She asks amicably, “is this what you have lost?” The man answers it is not, and gives the Goddess the same answer when she returns with a silver axe. He only claims the axe when she returns what is really his, neither gold nor silver. Impressed by his honesty, the Goddess allows the man to keep all three axes. The moral of this story is of course, honesty is the best policy. What determines our decisions of what is right or what is wrong? How do our brains decide to be honest or dishonest? Answering these questions can help us gain more insight into human communication. The gold axe in the Honest Woodcutter is what Greene, a psychologist at Harvard University, describes as the “opportunities of dishonest gain” in his research. There are two hypotheses in scientific literature that explain human decisions for lying. The Will hypothesis predicts our brains play an active role in being honest and must resist temptations to lie. The woodcutter may have had the urge to lie to the goddess, but actively resisted the temptation. On the other hand, the Grace hypothesis predicts our honesty comes naturally as long as there is no temptation, making honesty a passive process.
Open Document