The Ethics of Biography

Published October 20, 2017 by Nan Mykel

Anyone who spends much time doing family genealogy and even talking to our elders will stumble across aspects of the Dark Side (i.e., The Shadow) sprinkled here and there. Is overlooking those aspects when recording a life lying?  (See page on The Shadow for info on this aspect),

What is a life?  Where there is naturally some of the good and the bad, is leaving out the bad not misleading the reader?  There would be (and is) the family’s wrath to deal with. Is one of the problems that the dark doings overshadow the good? Certainly this is demonstrated in the best-selling news stories.  On a personal level, do we really want our personal failings removed from the record of our life experience?  Are there not some lessons to learn and perhaps empathy to ripen from our (and others’) lives?  Where does the value of truth enter in?  How much do we value the truth versus misrepresenting a life?  Or valuing the truth versus whitewashing the real struggle of a life?

This is a question I need to resolve soon.  Some say secrets destroy a family.Image: Dreamers, 1899. John Brown.

On the same wavelength with Grumpy Gorman today:

lips loosen slowly
guilt purged so plainly
truths, too dark to hear

© Anthony Gorman 2017

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