LETTER: The reward is a clear conscience

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The Independent Online
From Ms Monica Berto

Sir: In response to Kitty Paul's letter ("Is honesty always the best policy?", 30 November), I am of the opinion that honesty is the best policy, even if received ungratefully. Being honest allows our conscience to remain intact. Of course, it would be nice to be thanked every time we did an honest action, but surely that is not the reason why we should strive to be honest?

I have come across two purses with plenty of money to buy myself a few desired things, on two separate occasions, but have always resisted the temptation to keep them and have handed them in to the nearest police station, not expecting to be thanked. My main concern is that I have acted in a good and honest way, which relieves me of any feelings of guilt or greed.

Why should Kitty Paul's daughter feel that honesty is perhaps not the best policy because the owner of the American Express traveller's cheques failed to thank her? Is it not selfish in itself, the expectation that we should always be thanked for good actions? If Kitty Paul's daughter (and mother) expected a thank-you, perhaps Kitty ought to have kept the money if she feels so aggrieved?

There is no point in doing things if we continue to expect something in return. By keeping your conscience clear, many rewards, sooner or later, will always come your way. The first reward is your clear conscience itself.

Yours faithfully,

Monica Berto


30 November