A chance to be honest

I’m currently away on holiday for a while, so if you can bear with me, I’d like to try out a little experiment.

A while back, I read a very interesting book called “Do You Think What You Think You Think?” which takes the reader through a number of questions and scenarios to discover whether your moral and philosophical beliefs are consistent and coherent. As it happens, mine pretty much are, barring a couple of minor points.

One exercise which rather caught my imagination revolved around what makes us who we are, and attempted to give some insight by asking the reader to choose between some rather Sci-Fi options. I like this idea, and I’d like to see if I can use a similar concept in the hope of discovering something interesting.

Let’s say you know you will die tomorrow, in a scenario as bizarre or contrived as you like. The important thing is that there’s no possible way of surviving. Let’s also say that you can leave a series of messages for anyone you want, so that they only receive them after you’re dead. Time-delayed emails, snail mail, whatever format you want. And just to be clear, you wouldn’t suffer any negative consequences from this act (if you believe in an afterlife), and nor would anyone you care about.

Bearing all this in mind, would you take the opportunity to leave messages for people to tell them all the things you really dislike about them? I’ve tried to cover all the options in the poll (except “don’t know”, which isn’t really an answer), but I’m sure I’ve missed something, so please choose the answer closest to how you feel. Once you’ve voted, I’d be very interested in any comments you have, especially if there wasn’t an appropriate option.

This might be an interesting exercise or a damp squib, but I won’t know without trying.

Photo by Clearly Ambiguous, used under Attribution License

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About Recovering Agnostic

I'm Christian by upbringing, agnostic by belief, cynical by temperament, broadly scientific in approach, and looking for answers. My main interest at the moment is in turning my current disengaged shrug into at least a working hypothesis.

17 responses to “A chance to be honest”

  1. 2012 and all that says :

    I think I would be more inclined to leave positive messages, the sort of things I might not have had the courage to say in life: particularly members of the opposite sex that I once had crushes on (or still did at the time) but chose never to act on them for whatever reason.

    People I disliked or never saw eye to eye with are insignificant, I wouldn’t have wasted any of my remaining few hours on them even to “stick it to the man” in the final act. But that’s just me.

    • Recovering Agnostic says :

      Hi all, and thanks for the comments. I’m finally back in the real world.

      It’s not exactly surprising that the general view is in favour of positive messages. It’s easy to imagine saying nice things, but what really interests me (and I could probably have made this clearer) is how we feel about saying unpleasant things. I have a strange feeling that it may indicate something about how we view our identity. I’ll say more about this when I cover the results in detail.

  2. Wen Scott says :

    I’m surprised the majority of responders believe it doesn’t matter ( 50% as I read this), although I’m inclined to agree with ‘2012 and all that’ above that I would spend time only with those I love/like/ care about in some way, with a positive message or an expression of love and gratitude.

    I believe Buddhists practice something like this… Live for and in each moment as if it were your last. If that is our goal, then we wouldn’t have to leave a message since we would have said all we needed during our living years.

  3. Alex Jones says :

    No, because at least for me nobody depends upon me.

    • Recovering Agnostic says :

      Dare I ask how you’d answer if your situation was different? I realise this is in danger of becoming rather personal and intrusive, but I’m just curious to see how people approach questions like this.

  4. theagnosticswife says :

    As two others have stated above I would be more inclined to leave positive messages.

    I’ve actually just recently said what I needed to the person who has annoyed and hurt me the most. So that’s over with and I wouldn’t want to spend my last moments or words on that.

    • Recovering Agnostic says :

      Interesting. So you’d find it damaging to your person/identity to dwell on anything negative. I understand that. Would you answer differently if I offered you a way of leaving that message without dwelling on it?

      • theagnosticswife says :

        Well I’m a worrier by nature. I’m really trying to work on that because it sucks to worry what others think so much. However, if you could assure me that I would not do any damage in anyway to anyone then I might be more free with my words.

        I would rather them see how silly and inappropriate they act about some things. Mostly religious stuff. Yet I don’t really see the point in telling them this as they are more than likely not going to change their mind. Now if I could die and then come back or contact them some how and tell them one way or another if there is an afterlife, that would be cool.

  5. thebiblereader says :

    can I pick more than one answer….no it would be mean, unkind, and cruel..they r the one morning not u

  6. Earwig says :

    I said ‘no, it would be unkind’, but I guess I’m hovering between that and ‘no, it doesn’t matter’. If I told people all the unpleasant things about them, they probably wouldn’t change at all – I can’t see any point in it!

  7. Sam Hampton says :

    Some YouTube videos an Atheist, with a sense of humor, may enjoy

    • Recovering Agnostic says :

      I’ve edited your comment to remove the YouTube links, because I can’t see how they’re relevant, and they look ever so slightly spammy. If there’s a good reason for them, let me know and they can be reposted.

  8. theagnosticswife says :

    I recieved the exact same comment from him on my blog. I deleted it as well. I belive it is spammy.

    On another note you’ve won the book giveaway on my blog. I’ve yet to hear from you if your still interested please let me know one way or the other.

    • Recovering Agnostic says :

      Sorry I haven’t got back to you about this. I tried what I thought was your address, which bounced. Could you email me at recoveringagnostic [at] gmail.com? I’ll give you my address and we can go from there.

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  1. Posthumous Honesty – Poll Results « Recovering Agnostic - July 25, 2012

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