Chapter 17

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There are personality appraisals (tests, I mean) that employers give to employees and prospective employees. These tests attempt to sort for sincerity and industriousness and honesty and all that stuff.

When an intelligent person takes that test, he might get less-than-perfect scores for honesty, and here's why:

The method that the test uses for identifying people of "flexible" honesty is to ask the same question repeatedly, in different ways of expression or different contexts. If a simpleminded person encounters these questions, they all look the same to him and he answers them all the same way. If a more perceptive person encounters the questions, the variations in the questions' contexts might legitimately prompt different answers.

The test interprets this as "dishonesty", when it might really be sophistication.

I don't like black cars. They are common, and frequently chosen as part of some person's preference for the style of Malevolence Chic.* But the 1957 Ford Fairlane and 1960 Ford Galaxie hardtops and 1959 Chevy Biscayne two-door sedan look great in black.

If that question came up on a test, I would be identified as an official liar.


*...and I don't like Malevolence