GreyMatter, Personal

Way of Absolute Candor

I’ve always loved Science Fiction – in comics, books, television series and movies. The canvas of imagination in well-told Sci Fi stories runs wide and deep, offering a fascinating glimpse into what can be, or what could have been.

Here’s just one example:

The Qowat Milat, a sect of Romulan warrior-nuns were introduced in ‘Star Trek: Picard’ as an all-female group of elite fighters. The primary teaching of the Qowat Milat was “The Way of Absolute Candor”, i.e. the total communication of emotion, without filter between thought and word.

No lies; total truth all the time, no exception. Such is the Way of Absolute Candor.

As my old friend Spock would remark: “Fascinating”, isn’t it?

Now, most of us would instinctively think of such a value as completely impractical in today’s times. After all, who would want to hear the Truth, and nothing but the truth?! As a society, we are not used to the (unvarnished = unkind?) Truth, even on occasion, let alone all the time. Most of us would not be able to deal with it, if that is all we ever heard!

But hold that thought for a moment – suspend your judgement on the matter – and think about how valuable it would be, if it were indeed so: Whether at work, or in our interactions with friends or family, wouldn’t it be significantly useful to hear the Truth whenever we sought an answer? What a refreshing change it would be from the modern-day world so focused on false appearances and filled with unauthentic personas!

How would it shape relationships between family members, or close friends, or even colleagues at work? What would it mean for critical issues that affect us all, but on which real insights often do not emerge, for fear of how unwelcome they would be? What would it do to performance systems or reward programs, and how would you motivate any one to do more? And, when all is said and done, what would be the values that such a brave, new world comes to cherish?

Perhaps, the answer lies in moderation, at least for now. How about we start by embracing the notion that, at least in some spheres of our life and work, we can allow for a little more candor and a little less dishonesty? Who knows, where that path eventually leads us…