- What does this mean? What is policy?
- Is it true that honesty is the best way to worldly success?
- Is worldly or material success the true aim of our existence in this world?
- What are our final conclusions? They will differ with different theories of life.
This is a deep and philosophic problem for a school boy to settle. Philosophers and poets have been discussing it for many years. Is life so arranged that the honest man always receives his reward in the long run, and is the wicked man sure to be punished? The tragedies of Shakespeare show that good and virtuous men come to ruin in many cases, and are not protected by any divine power.
The sight is familiar to all of the unscrupulous merchants who build up a fortune by dishonest practices, and often we see the honest man overcome by bad luck. Life is arranged that way of course the dishonest member of society is in many cases dicovered and punished, and the honourable worker does in sufficient instances enjoy prosperity and rewards. But there are frequent cases where it works the other way, to make us decide that honesty is not always the best policy, if by that we man the best road to worldly success.
The question arises, is worldly prosperity so important as all this? Is an important position, with riches and power, the greatest thing to be desired? Is worldly success the goal of honesty? The whole value of honourable conduct would be lost if men only adopted it in the hope of profit. True honour should not look for rewards, and the joy of noble action is a far higher prize than can ever be expressed in terms of rupees. Honesty is the greatest virtue, but may not always lead to material rewards.
Again we advise the doubting ones to read Shakespeare. His plays show fine characters ruined by adverse fortune; they are lost just as surely as the workers of evil. Shakespeare knew the injustice of life. Tennyson knew this also, but advised us that:
“Because right is right, to follow rightWere wisdom in the scorn of consequence.”
We can only conclude by saying that honesty is the greatest virtue in life, but will not always be rewarded, though if we believe that man goes on to life eternal, his reward will surely await him in higher spheres. Do not the holy Books teach us that riches and luxury are but worthless toys?