Living With Radical Honesty
By Brad Blanton
I learned that the primary cause of most human stress, the primary cause of most conflict between couples and the primary cause of most both psychological and physical illness is being trapped in your mind and removed from your experience. What keeps you trapped in your mind and removed from your experience is lying and we all lie […] all the time. We're taught systematically to lie, to pretend, to maintain a pretense because we're taught that who we are is our performance. Our schools teach us to lie, our parents teach us to lie. We're all suffering from mistaken
We think that who we are is our reputation, what the teacher thinks of us, what kind of grades we make, what kind of job we have. We're constantly spinning our presentation of self, which is a constant process of lying and being trapped in the anticipation of imagining about what other people might think. Our actual identity is as a present tense noticing being. I'm someone sitting here talking on the telephone right now and you're sitting there talking on the telephone and writing or doing whatever you're doing. That's your current identity and this is my current identity and when you start identifying with your current present-tense identity you discover all kinds of things about life that you can't even see or notice when you're trapped in the spin doctoring machine of your mind. So radical honesty is about delivering yourself from that constant worrisome preoccupation of, "Oh my god. How am I doing? How am I doing? How am I doing? How am I doing?" Then you can pay attention to what's going on in your body and in the world and even pay attention to what's going on in your mind. […]
Just look at what you notice in front of you right now, your environment, wherever you are in an office or wherever it is. Noticing is an entirely different function than thinking and what we do all the time is that we confuse thinking with noticing. When we think something we act as though it has the same validity as something that we see. I've got a bumper sticker on my truck that says, "Don't believe everything you think." It's like your thinking just goes on and on and on and on.
Radical Honesty is the name of a program developed by Brad Blanton, PhD that challenges people to give up their ‘addiction to lying’. The method focuses the practitioner on being present with what is happening within themselves and separating their objective observation from their subjective judgment and having a higher level of consciousness as to which is which.
The Radical Honesty technique includes having practitioners state their feelings directly and in ways typically considered impolitic. For example, "I resent you for X" where X is a statement of objective observation about the person who the comment is being directed towards.
Blanton conducts 8 day workshops which train people in a collection of techniques which shift them out of typically socially acceptable patterns of "white lying" and into a more truthful relationship with themselves and others. The material in the Radical Honesty workshop is drawn from an eclectic collection of sources including Sufism, clinical psychology, Gestalt therapy and the comic spiritual belief (developed by Blanton) called Futilitarianism. Futilitarianism claims it is futile to have any belief whatsoever.
The significant majority of participants in the Radical Honesty workshops report dramatic changes in their lives after taking the course, though they are not always comfortable and positive. Blanton has written a series of books to help guide readers in the Radical Honesty technique. Brad Blanton ran for congress in Virgina as an independent in 2004 and got 25% of the vote (a record in that state).