Great read, though I wonder if the book is more about temptation and whether dishonesty is one facet along a vast panoply of human experiences and emotion. Whether it's taking the big piece of cake or lying to millions in the House of Commons! Surely at one level or another we are all tempted, at times, and this book discusses the weakening and strengthening factors concerned with this process, along with many interesting examples.
Psychiatrists talk of 'protective factors', maybe thoughts about a loved one, which causes a patient intent on harming himself to stop. Temptation also has protective factors that we can call upon in that cusp of indecision. As a poor student, I lost my wallet running between trains at Birmingham. It was handed in complete and I have never forgotten my gratitude. A year ago when parking, my front tyre went over what turned out to be someone's wallet. I'm sure the devil would have reserved for me a nice warm seat if I had kept that wallet, but it would also have destroyed any positive emotion that I received from those experiences as a student, and rightly so too. Last month, here in Manchester, a man was coming from the bank with £1000 in his hand; he somehow tripped and the money promptly blew away. Sitting in his car a few minutes later- people started banging on the window in order to return the cash: 49, £20 notes were returned and my view is that those 49 people who acted in this way were enriched by that act; more so, than spending £20 that wasn't theirs, could ever have done.
I wonder therefore if it's important that we humans struggle with these dilemmas, if only because it enriches and 'validates' our lives. I appreciate that we won't all do the right thing all the time, but I believe that the vast majority on most occasions will do exactly that; and more than this we will all have a line - like giving a blind lady rotten tomatoes - that we simply will never cross.
I liked the section on how we lie to ourselves. For the politician who stands up and lies to millions, it could, kindly, be called 'being in denial' and on a lesser scale, surely we all lie to ourselves and maybe it's called confidence! One late night on call; I admitted 4 patients one after another to the same hospital. The doctor who received them berated me for handing him so much work and of course I would like to tell you that I saved 4 lives that night - but perhaps he would say that my confidence had suddenly evaporated and I was just playing it safe.
I worry about the so called victimless crime. Those who feign illness and live 'off the state' - who can it possibly hurt? Perhaps those who bear this burden on their taxes for one; and also those who are genuinely disabled. Also those who really try to stand up do the right thing and to better themselves - it must be hard when the chap next door stays in bed all day and has more money in his pocket! In addition those who cheat in this way lead half-lives which in turn leads to far more mental and physical problems.
So, as this book concludes, perhaps we all need to constantly remind ourselves of those factors which encourage us to do the right thing, not give in to temptation and continually strive to be 'better' people - its a good , stimulating read. Many thanks.
28 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?