To be honest to yourself right now is a prerequisite for all kinds of learning. If you cannot be honest about what you think, feel, imagine, see, then you won’t get the kind of input you need from the situation you’re in or the persons you’re with. And without that kind of feedback how are you ever going to learn? So if you want to know what is good, beautiful and true right where you are right now, just be honest with yourself.
But honesty goes beyond being an immediate experience as just described. Being honest over time,l allowing yourself consistently to have the feelings of love, friendship, desire, but also shame, anger and powerlessness makes you a keen observer of the human condition. This seems important to me if you want to arrive at something that seems to be an “natural sense of ethics”. But regardless of whether this is correct, at the very least it makes you have a keen sense for what is going on.
And maybe there is something that can be regarded as being honest towards your future self. It’s being true to your potential, being willing and able to fulfill what your talented, beautiful future self wants from you. Honesty towards your future self requires you to honor your potential self. I would suggest to not regard your potential/future self as your “highest potential” as Californian positivistic spirituality would have you do, nor as your Higher Self. Rather think of your future self as you a bit further down the line, a bit wiser, a bit clearer, a bit better, because that self in turn has a future self and so on until your very last breath when your perfect self lets go forever. Your last moment in/with this body is the only perfect one that will ever be…
Being more and more honest towards our potential self nourishes us right here & now. That is the amazing discovery I make when I contemplate this. This way our present feelings, thoughts and imagination exist in a larger context, and seeing that widens our horizon. We expand and encompass more of life, and than life can share more of its treasures with us.
Honesty feeds us, and that food helps us grow and learn. Growing wiser and more beautiful and capable we are a helpful presence - and on top of it have more joy in life also.