Friday, October 15, 2010

Life Fact #5: Status is Better Than Sincerity

We're back to the coke bottled life-receptionist. Waking to the light thumping of rain on my sky light, I involuntarily flipped through my brochure recently, hoping to find more facts on rain's supposed rancor, found this little gem of knowledge instead.
Life Fact #5: Status is Better Than Sincerity
I read it a few times. And then I closed the brochure and demanded back my money, for surely, this was a misprint of drastic proportions. Surely one should value personal integrity over personal gain. After all, a wallet can be lost, but a heart cannot(well, I suppose if you were a transplant doctor...but lets not get technical). But thats the paint layer. When emphatically asked if we know about the new fad, we quickly(yet untruthfully)may answer yes, placing our bets on the fact that the trend we have just supported will soon be explained. When a homeless guy asks you for change, you say no without looking. When you hear a joke you don't understand, you laugh with the crowd. After all...that's what your supposed to do right? You're supposed to 'fit in'.
Have we really created a society so deeply staunched in the belief of absolute equality that we are unwilling to accept our own faults? That we are unwilling to lie about the size of our apartment or the size of our catch or the income we make just to sound like we can be the authority? There is no doubt in my mind that every American exaggerates, and most Americans lie, on a daily basis not for the harm of others but for the social progression of themselves. You may disagree, but lies are everywhere, whether of commission or omission, and the border of truth is frequently compromised. But this is what truly baffles me. Let us please, for a moment, imagine two fishermen. One informs the other he has just caught a 12 pound fish, when in reality, he has only bagged a 9 pounder. Not a big deal, right? However, fisherman two, holding his own plump 11 pounder, and eyeing the fish of his compatriot, reasons correctly that his fish must indeed be bigger. Therefore, he decides to up the ante, and proudly proclaims, fish held high in air, that he has just caught a whopping fifteen pound fish. At this point, the initial fisherman re-examines his fish, and though he can see that perhaps he is indeed holding the smaller of the two, he really truly wished his fish could be 16, 17, or even 18 pounds. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt an say he leaves it at that, but a fisherman of less integrity may have at this point pulled a third fish from his bag, hoping to trump all hopes of his friend with his unbelievable 18 pound catch.
How did it happen? Two fishermen, assumably friends, combined with three fish, a little jealousy, and a lot of exaggeration, has just forced one poor fellow to falsely proclaim his fish is twice its original weight! The combination of his original fib, with a follow up relativity statement, has completely confused the poor fellows. I would suggest that we are like the fishermen. We ourselves lie to raise our standard to an initial lie. When we look at a beauty poster, we assume we should be able to look that perfect. Unfortunately for us, the beauty poster has been photoshopped, and our makeup-lies to cover up our own faults are fruitless. We hold ourselves to a false standard, and therefore can never attain truth.
Therefore we lie, and we hope that we can 'fit in' to the very group of lies we have made.

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