Honesty—is it absolute or obsolete?

In our society today, is honesty still the best policy—absolutely —at all times and under all circumstances? There may be general agreement that honesty is still important, but just how important is it?

A few years ago, when I was on the faculty at a large mid western state university, I was walking to my classroom down a crowded and noisy hallway to teach my one o'clock class when I suddenly began to feel ill. It became increasingly clear to me that I was not going to be able to teach that class, so I decided to go to the classroom and dismiss the students. But since I didn't want to admit publicly that I was not feeling well, I decided that the best thing to do was to tell them that a last-minute faculty meeting had been called and that I was required to attend. They would be happy to have the class canceled, and I could return to my office.

Roots and wings
September 12, 1994

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