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Quotations about Honesty

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The truth that makes men free* is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.
-Herbert Sebastian Agar, A Time for Greatness
*John 8:32

Honesty is the best policy
-Anon

Tell the truth and shame the devil.
-Shakespeare, 1 Henry IV

Truth is stranger than fiction.
-Anon

Truth will out.
-Anon

Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.
-Aristotle

Plausibility is a trap for the truth laid by lies.
-Yvan Audauard

What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.
-Francis Bacon, ‘Of Truth’

A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
-William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

If people would dare to speak to one another unreservedly, there would be a good deal less sorrow in the world a hundred years hence.”
- Samuel Butler

Truth indeed rather alleviates than hurts, and will always bear up against falsehood, as oil does above water.
-Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”
-2 Corinthians 4:2

A few honest men are better than numbers.
-Oliver Cromwell

“Maybe the social value of truth is as a destination - so long as we do not assume we have arrived there.”
-Edward de Bono, I am right you are wrong. Penguin London 1991; 18

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
-Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of Four

A desire for truth is by no means a need for certitude and it would be unwise to confuse one with the other.
-André Gide

Great is the truth, but still greater, for a practical point of view, is silence about the truth.
-Aldous Huxley (1949 Forward to Brave New World 1931)

He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil- this is the man who will dwell on the heights,
-Isaiah 33:15, 16

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
-John 8:32

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
-Rudyard Kipling, Just so Stories.

In order to be truthful
We must do more than speak the truth.
We must also hear truth.
We must also receive truth.
We must also act upon truth.
We must also search for truth.
The difficult truth
Within us and around us.
We must devote ourselves to truth.
Otherwise we are dishonest
And our lives are mistaken.
God grant us the strength and the courage
To be truthful.
Amen
-Michael Leunig 1945- Australian cartoonist and poet,
Short notes from the long history of happiness. Penguin Books Melbourne 1996

It is one thing to show a man that he is in an error, and another to put him in possession of truth.
-John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
-Henry Louis Mencken

No one wants the truth if it is inconvenient.
-Arthur Miller

Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth, to see it like it is and to tell it like it is, to find the truth, to speak the truth and live with the truth. That’s what we’ll do.
-Richard Milhous Nixon, Presidential nomination acceptance speech

The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.
-Proverbs 12:22

Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now – always.
Albert Schweitzer, Out of My Life and Thought

This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
-William Shakespeare, Hamlet

To be direct and honest is not safe.
-William Shakespeare, Othello

I am afraid we must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children that honesty is the best policy.
-George Bernard Shaw

Truth telling is not compatible with the defence of the realm.
-George Bernard Shaw, Heartbreak House

It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes. It may even lie on the surface; but we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions-especially selfish ones.
-Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Peace and Violence

When truth is discovered by someone else, it loses something of its attractiveness.
-Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Candle in the Wind

It takes two to speak the truth – one to speak, and another to hear.
-Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics.
-Mark Twain 1835-1910

What is simple is false and what is not is useless.
–Paul Valery

There are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.
-Alfred North Whitehead, Dialogues

I believe that in the end the truth will conquer.
-John Wycliffe

People have sought to adjust the truth to the hour instead of adjusting the hour to the truth, and in diplomacy they have endeavoured to bring about as much of the reality as they deem wise.
-Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

If you repeat a lie often enough if becomes accepted as truth.
- Joseph Goebbels

 

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Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963