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 The Case for Dishonesty

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PostSubject: The Case for Dishonesty   Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:31 am

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I often ask myself, as I once did on that fall day when I was but nineteen and carrying an overstuffed duffel-bag across a desolate border-town’s square, wearing my army-best and on my way to my new unit: “What the hell am I doing here?!”
It is a question that still baffles me with its need for an answer but also entertains me with its resistance to any answer at all.
It is this query, with its literal and rhetorical applicability, which not only troubles me in those moments of existential angst but also vents my frustrations when I find myself in those strange environments, life sometimes leads me into, in her own mysterious way.
“Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.” John Lennon said, and I have become painfully aware of that fact.

The mind, that great planner, struggles to keep up with conditions and to encapsulate them within some general tenants that will be able to predict their outcomes; a mind very much in servitude and imprisoned within a physical cell that both contains it and preserves it, enables it and constricts it, connects it and isolates it, all at the same time; a mind wanting to become master of its own destiny and ruler over its own small piece of existence.

What are we, if not self-contained infinity, a conglomeration of insistence trying to attain full consciousness?
An admittedly, still very primitive consciousness condemned to solitude and in search out of its isolation.
A distance separates us, not only from the infinite possibility of the other, but also from the dark abyss of the self.
We are just as surprised by an inner world, pulling us back into our singularity, as we are by an outer one, pushing us forth into multiplicity.

Science, that tentacle of human reason, has attentively approached the outer and inner frontiers of understanding, and now resorts to poetics to fill in the gaps of its comprehension, and philosophy, wisdom’s well, struggles against rampant scepticism and nihilistic despair, where all “truth” is trapped in a web of humble perspectivism and uncertainty.

In the incomplete awareness of essence we are simultaneously faced with an accompanying emptiness, a vast gradation of desolate spaces dancing with time - a priori synthesis or not - to create matter out of nothing at all; elementary particles miraculously springing out of a vacuum in a vast sea of vagueness constructing unities that appear substantial but are really not in the sense that we perceive them to be.
In that dance between time and space, the slowest dancer, in relation to the subject, is interpreted, by the senses, as being solid and substantive, the quickest one is perceived as ethereal, liquid or airy in its fleetness, and the mind, as both a necessity and a victim of time, fights on behalf of ordered space and against temporal change, trying to arrest the struggle, congeal it into a state of inertness, solidify it and make it knowable, timeless… perfect.

In a similar manner we are confused by inner forces creating the impression of division while at the same time exposing the absurdity of individuation altogether.

A new secret confounds us now and we paint over it, like a blank canvas, using the subtle hue of symbolism and insinuation, and metaphor is reluctantly recruited to define what language, or the intellect it mirrors, cannot.

We now sense a commonality, hidden from us by the shroud of sensual reality, an underlying unity, a common ancestry we want to claim as our own and hope to return to someday…..some way.
We feel our participation within a greater mystery and we are soothed by its promise and comforted by its possibility.

But is this intuitive evaluation a subconscious memory, a faint connection to the Self, to the Will, to God, to what Wayne Dyer calls “Intention”, or is it a way the mind saves itself from the discomforts of lucidity?

One cannot offer a definite answer, and that’s the reassuring point, isn’t it?
All we can say is that this illusion of “self” struggles to expand, to go beyond itself, to transcend by breaking free of flesh and all that binds it to its transience, and to join a something or a someone else, to return to a source, if possible, or, at the very least, establish some form of link to a larger whole.
{Whether this drive is a result of a real intuitive understanding or of some deep seated insecurity is irrelevant for the purposes of this thesis and so will not be explored any further here.}

Creation and Procreation are such instances of ripping through the ego and of unfurling ones identity with or through something other than.
The parent senses a release - real or not - an abandonment of the confining corporeal shell, when he or she witnesses one of his/her parts growing and expanding independently, and externalized into a new multi-dimensional form, a distinct otherness and sameness all at once.
The ego is stretched - making it thinner, more translucent and porous - to incorporate this new branching out within its sense of identity and the sensation is one of expansion and of enlargement.
The self sees itself in the offspring, no longer as a mere reflection or a caricature, but as an actual distinctness, autonomously acting and thinking and being unpredictably unique, though similar enough to relate to and live vicariously through.
The self now brushes up against dissolution. It experiences, first hand, its precariousness and preserving illusions and this stretching of ego relieves the tensions off its self-cohesion.

An artist, similarly, experiences this same expansion of identity, this release from the boundaries, even if to a lesser degree, when he or she exposes a piece of his/her inner being, as it is made conscious, in the form of a symbolic outward representation, both part of and separate from the creator.
All creations reward the creator with this same sense of liberation and discharge, often expressed by invoking imagery of spiritual awakening or becoming apparent as a form of intellectual enlightenment.

Man builds to replace what he understands as disorder with his own idealized form of order which he imitates from the patterns he experiences in the world around him. He turns unpredictability into predictability, uses random materials to construct monuments based on mathematical principles and purpose, turns color into painting, sounds into music and words into prose in an effort to express the inexpressible, he takes thoughts and constructs ideologies trying to discipline his nature to a set of values and struggles to substitute an indifferent reality with an ethical, just one, in agreement with what he believes he wants and deserves.

Consciousness, in its search for this release from finitude, becomes an instrument of order, an agent of harmony in the tumult, a preacher of idealized states; it becomes a sorcerer conjuring up the source or a wizard claiming dominance over its mystery.

The mind, this ghostly ambiguity, this ethereal product of matter, is but an instrument of conservation, struggling to establish essence in the void, to envelop the universe into an organized synchronization, to heal it from the rift of time and bring it to the balanced final end of flawlessness.
Man refers to this hoped for, imagined state, as Heaven or Nirvana or by whatever mystical term his spiritual heritage has labelled it with. It is, for him, an abstracted final destination, an escape from the tumultuous, and often disconcerting, existence he calls...life.

A memory, perhaps, governs its focus. A memory of a moment where unity was complete, if not perfect, where all the forces were one and multiplicity had not yet come to be, through the tearing apart of the void, we like to call the Big Bang.

Scientists tell us that in the beginning, even before there was a word, all forces were one. No matter must have existed then, since there was no time/space, to rip it out of the Nothingness- this same state of unified balance, still echoes within us, like some form of background radiation, urging us to return to it, to reconstruct it from the decaying order and solve its riddle by finding the clues in its hidden patterns.

Our myths, as projections of our psychology, are fraught with the imagery of reunification, of our desire to achieve concordance with an otherness and heal reality and ourselves from its entropic disease.
Our language is likewise full of such insinuations: The English word harmony, for example, is but a derivative of an ancient-Greek goddess’s name, Harmonia - Harmonia who was daughter to Aphrodite, goddess of sex and lust, and Ares, god of war and violence, and in the ancient tongue her name meant: to join.
It is not a coincidence that both Kypris (Aphrodite} and Ares are representations of the uncontrollable parts of human nature - creative and destructive, wild and base, pleasing and agonizing. Both aspects of nature, reason struggles to come to terms with and the intellect fights to bring under its direction.

This disease we all feel inside of us as discontentment, as a psychological disjoint, manifesting itself in an unquenchable hunger that drives us to feed it and to find final satiation.
Perhaps it is the resonating vibrations of gyrating superstrings, trying to find a single unified tune, or some kind of particle recollection which we feel in our inner being as an absence of ease.
It is what makes us ambitious and unsatisfied, restless and ingenious, curious and imaginative. It is what forces us to seek out a relief from our unyielding suffering, to forget it in a moment of pleasurable release, to find emancipation from our contradictory becoming.

But what matters this in the here and now?
The practical dominates human thought and the ephemeral physical concerns overshadow eternal metaphysical ones.

In our search for extension we try to dominate and incorporate or we try to surrender and participate, in accordance with our psychological states, our character and our nature.
Our thoughts are guided by that, before mentioned, need for expansion, for escaping our boundaries, and for bridging the rift.
And it is this desire that determines our interactions, our social needs and our psychological requirements.
We want to belong.

We attach to one another, not because of some personal choice but because of a primal necessity that was decided for us long ago, and a compulsory interdependence that slowly became permanent through generations of association.

It is survival that concludes in congregation, as a preliminary step towards expansion, and this gathering forces some individual sacrifices and strategic considerations.
One such consideration is the need to make ones self not only essential but also attractive and likeable to as many of the social unity’s parts as possible.

Becoming productive to the whole is as crucial as becoming agreeable to it.
It is what lies at the core of what we call the Golden Rule or Karma.
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PostSubject: Re: The Case for Dishonesty   Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:32 am

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In the continuing debate over what shapes human beings (Nature/Nurture), our modern, rationalistic world, and popular opinion as a consequence, seems to be showing a distinct partiality towards nurturing as a decisive factor, for obvious romantic, political and self-serving reasons. Nature is relegated to the role of explaining mere cosmetic diversity, such as coloration, form and size, as a way of diminishing the importance of its function, or it is blamed for destructive mutations, such as crippling malformations and physical/mental retardations, as a way of insulting it, repaying its apathy towards human suffering and justifying reason’s failings.
We are to believe, if we adhere to popular sentiment, that biology only determines our physical parameters while our intellect, psychology and overall potential, as living entities, are mainly determined by environmental conditions and the memes – to use Dawkin’s term - that shape human civilization.

Criminal behaviour is thusly blamed on dysfunctional family units or mental illnesses. Natural violent tendencies, killer instincts and innate rebelliousness are ignored or minimized and the beast within is caged behind the bars of rationalism.

Racism and all forms of intolerance are explained as a product of ignorance with no biological roots and with no factual anchors. Education will save us from our nature and reinterpret our selfish genes into selfless memes, the mind will be trained and tied so our past can no longer well up from the depths and drown the present with the awareness of its own pretence.

Gender identity simply becomes a product of social engineering and cultural authoritarianism, as feminism and the equalitarian ethos it sprung from demands, with no basis in natural selection and no relevance besides some obvious physical differences.
Nature is there only to explain the existence of aesthetic sexual diversity and denied relevance in the clarification of gender psychology, ability and intellect.

Everything that reminds us of genetic determinism and hints at reason’s limits is wiped away through indoctrination and training. Reason places itself as a monopolizing factor in all things human.

Genetic direction is denied significant participation in the formation of identity and its potential, and a clear effort is made to explain every form of diversity, pertaining to the intellect, from racial to sexual, as being directly related to immediate environmental influences rather than historical, gradual ones. Reason is placed beyond genetic reach, in this way.
Inheritance is then diminished as a relevant influence, - except when it leads to debilitating and obvious hereditary diseases and mutations or when it cannot be rationalized away using contemporary knowledge. All aberration is explained as a consequence of immediate environmental effects that can be altered, diverted, corrected and controlled, by the human mind, to achieve the desired results.

Reason then becomes master of its own reality and our culture becomes a rational one, where all “ailments” are curable and all mysteries are knowable and all errors are correctable.
Perspectivism wasn’t meant to eradicate absolute “truth”, it was meant to describe man’s inability to perceive it, making its existence or non-existence a moot point. But in the modern desire to save free-will from determinism, it is now used to level all opinions, concerning it, into a muck of equal relevance and used to destroy all remnants of natural power balances and concepts of superiority and inferiority value judgments, so as to replace them with new ones.
Annihilate the concepts of “reality” and “truth” in the human mind, as they have been determined by nature’s programmes, and you can then substitute them with “realities” and “truths” originating in human imagination and determined by how many you can infect with your dogma or indoctrinate into your “facts”.
In the struggle to emancipate the self, nature becomes the first prison to break out from and reason casts itself as the great redeemer, the wings upon which the human spirit will transcend itself and return to its origin, as the very definition of self.

Here is where we witness the systemic confrontation between the natural world order
{the system that birthed us} and civilization, the rational world order {the system(s) we birthed ourselves as a continuance of the previous one} and where the lines between Nature’s gene and Dawkin’s meme are being laid down as a challenge to us all.
Here is where we see the opening salvos in the clash between pre-existing (natural) environments and manmade (artificial) ones, and how the latter are now attempting to replace or minimize or divert the effects and dominance of the former in the formation of human kind and our future.
Memes struggle to curtail genetic predetermination and bring human existence under the auspices of rational idealism.
Nature’s model, if the mind has its way, shall no longer dominate human behaviour, and memetic motives shall, from now on, replace genetic determination with their own idealized concepts, shaped through rational imperatives and the intellect’s desire to control its own realm. Man’s behaviour will be guided by logic and reasoned analysis, rather than by reactive instinct and emotional inebriation, and all will be well with the world. Reason shall peer into the darkness and light it with its understanding, find order in the muddled universe, explain and control every force it becomes aware of and harness the cosmos to its power of comprehension.

There is a clear reason for this modern day cultural bias, and this conflict in general, and it stems from the fundamental need for the mind to preserve the idea of self-determination, as part of its self-realization, and make it possible for the intellect to intervene, as a universal healing force, which will correct nature’s flaws and bring order and justice, to a chaotic, indifferent universe.
{Whether this transcendental role is justified or a figment of the imagination and a product of fear are not matters that will be dealt with here.}

In this quagmire of evolutionary mutation, which creates conflicting human drives and interests, individuality is shaped and the sense of self is established.

The one natural constant is the undeniable social character of humankind.
It is ingrained in our D.N.A.
Our sense of self is only possible through the existence of another, through which we perceive our self reflected back at us and we establish our limitations and our character.

A connection to another is as essential to our well-being as food or water is. Millennia of evolution have solidified this requirement.
Maybe it is part of some natural physical phenomenon where unstable particles seek to unify with others, just like them, in search for some form of constancy, or maybe it is a reaction against growing universal entropy or maybe, as many well wishers want to believe, it is part of a transcending Love Force trying to save us from ourselves. Whatever the case may be, we can see this social need behind every human action and every human thought.
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PostSubject: Re: The Case for Dishonesty   Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:33 am

We bond with one another into larger groupings, sometimes as small as a gang, a family, a tribe or a cultural sub-grouping and sometimes as large as a nation state, a cultural tradition or an ideological dogma, and we associate our distinctiveness with these larger entities.
We even attempt to lose our selves in them, to the point where the association, sometimes, becomes so strong that it makes it possible for an individual to sacrifice life and profit for the group’s or the other’s survival.

How uniqueness is broken down through group dynamics, to enable collective cohesion and self-sacrifice, is something I personally became aware of first-hand in army boot-camp. It is where I was given that duffle-bag, I mentioned in the beginning.

I can now understand how selfishness can be extended to include a larger identity of self and why many people find solace in referring to it as selflessness.
The connection between self and action sometimes become abstracted through this extension of personal identity. Many believe they are being selfless because their interpretation of their actions, and the motives behind them, do not have a direct, perceptible, link with self, and because their knowledge of who and what they are is incomplete or warped by moralistic mythology and/or egotism.
They have now, subconsciously, associated self with a larger whole, on whose behalf they act and whose interests, values and ethos they have adopted as their own and share in. All of their judgments are now influenced by communal norms.

Social unities can become so powerfully cohesive that, in time, this need for extension, for a release from self, results in the individual losing his immediate sense of uniqueness and with him replacing it with an annexed self, which now includes multiple participants, of which he is but a part of.
This loss of autonomy is felt as an unburdening from personal responsibility and the weight of free-will which, as Sartre claimed, terrifies man to no end.
Then the sense of self is acquired from the group itself and our sense of self-worth and identity can only be found within the larger entities common principles and how they reflect upon us. We relieve ourselves from existence by sharing it.

We experience this loss as a partial return to the greater Self, as it is connected to a larger identity that protects us from the ravages of the unknown and the indifference of a universe we feel so tiny in relation to, and it offers us the illusion of immortality through the promise of posterity.

But this connection to a collective is tentative, at best.
The character and sense of individuality of every participant – and I dare say their sex - determines to what extent they will bond to any group or to any one person. It will determine the size of the group they are willing to bond with and it will also determine the relationship between the individual and the collective; if it will be confrontational, defiant and domineering or if it will be submissive, accepting and peaceable.
The more established the character the more resistant it will be to assimilation. The stronger the Will behind it, the less submissive to the collective it will be. The larger the ego the less pliable and stretchable it is and the more protective of its original self-cohesion it will be.
No surprise then to find extreme expressions of individual identity within the young, still throbbing with the energies of becoming, while the old, the sick and the weak find comfort in conformity.
This is where the differentiation between psychological health and psychological illness can be culturally established, requiring the appropriate labels, treatments and reprisals.
Due to this, we can understand why ego and pride have been so demonized in our modern world, while humility has been sanctified and raised into a virtue.
Ego and pride are examples of resistance to the cohesive drive and so must be curtailed through slander, by a system that benefits from complete discipline to its authority, or they must be punished for their indiscretions and held up as examples to be avoided.
Perhaps this individual opposition is a remnant of some primitiveness that has not completely been evolved out of us yet, and that now resists the replacement of one identity with another.

In the wild animals established and maintain connections through grooming rituals, after power balances have been instituted and after individual roles have been relegated.
Each member of the group knows its place and only challenges the status quo when opportunities arise through power imbalances or when new relationships need to be realigned.
The way in which each member attaches himself to the whole is by creating connections to its parts. The more malleable ones persona is, the more likable and attractive he/she becomes to as many of the participating members, determines his/her place within it and the extent of their assimilation and contentment.
So it becomes obvious that the more able one is to adapt to the other’s particular character traits and the more one is able to repress the parts in himself/herself which might make him/her less amiable to the other(s), the more opportunity he/she will have to connect with many more members of a group and be accepted within their midst.
This, in turn, will determine their survivability and future safety and well-being.

In human interactions language has replaced the physical grooming mechanism as a more efficient form of bonding that can accomplish the same results with more efficiency over greater distances. But the same concerns and the same strategies that govern our wild brethren apply to humans as well.
Our actions and our linguistic expressions of self become symbolic projections of inner character, even if it is often purposefully ambiguous and incomplete.

To become likable to as many different individuals as possible is a tricky affair.
It not only requires a willingness to defer to the other’s personality to the right degree but it also requires a talent to perceive it accurately, adapt to it precisely and maintain the illusion of consistency in relation to it.

A further consideration is the necessity of not making it too obvious so as to expose it as faked or forced. The façade of total openness must be nurtured, thusly making the natural inhibitions and anxieties involved in connecting, to a foreign, unknowable entity, less relevant and, in this way, eliminate the normal fear associated with proximity.
The best way to achieve this consistency and illusion of frankness is when the actor himself/herself becomes convinced of his/her own performance or plays the part for so long as to be unable to distinguish their core self from their social self.
The inner child is dressed up with adult uniforms, makeup and is adorned and groomed into “maturity”.

Hypocrisy and pretence are often maligned by those wishing to preserve this romantic ideal of purity and authenticity, but they are both an indispensable element in any human relationship.
Nature is full of examples of duplicity and deception. A bird’s song is no less pretentious and a cat’s raised hairs no less a form of fakery.
Flirtation is, itself, a form of misleading sexual negotiation, where both sides prance and fawn and pretend, while they test and prod, offer and demand, sell and buy, trying to get the best deal for the least cost.

It is this need to preserve the illusion of authenticity and openness that lies behind the piece of popular sophistry, often heard on television talk-shows, written in self-help books and advice articles or overheard in conversations:
“Just be your self.”

We hear it echoed everywhere as a type of embedded wisdom which requires no further analysis.
But to what extent one can be “one’s self” is determined firstly by the extent to which one knows what that self is, secondly by how much of that self is constructed through social engineering and thirdly by how much one’s true self is acceptable to the sensitivities of a community.

We can imagine knowing Jeffrey Dahmer, before his public exposure, and offering him this same piece of advice when he comes to us distraught over what he wants to do:
“Just be yourself Jeffrey, dear.”, or perhaps offering this piece of advice to Hitler when he tells us of his plans for world domination and genocide:
“Be yourself, Adolph, and you can’t go wrong.”

In fact the advice rests on the hopeful assumption that the other will not insult, disgust or hurt us. That it is, in general, what we perceive it to be and nothing more. That it is just like we perceive ourselves to be.
The advice is a manifestation of the presumptuous belief that nature has been completely subjugated and no longer diverts the powers of reason, that the other’s “true-self” resembles the perception of our own and that nothing in it will be harmful or insulting to us personally.
In other words, that it is contained within the rules that govern our collective consciousness.

I often wonder how understanding and compassionate we would all be if we could somehow glimpse inside the mind of the everyday man, the seemingly average, domesticated Joe, going about his business, paying his taxes, following the laws, being courteous and contributing to society in his own humble way.
I often wonder what we would see inside the “pious” mind of the faithful, praying in Church every Sunday and helping the needy on their days off.
I often wonder how complete disclosure would affect our ideas about intimacy and authenticity and how tolerant we would then be.

But the “Be yourself.” advice has some practical wisdom attached to it.
The desire to maintain the façade of authenticity, consistency play’s the part of “truth”.
One cannot reinvent himself at every meeting or recreate his/her personality in accordance to the other continuously. Larger unities force multiple observers over our behaviours, which, in turn, force the need for a steady persona, as it is established through multiple inter-relations, aesthetic prejudices and idealized goals, and which preserve the image of reality.

Here we can see the foundations of civility and politeness.
They are both ideals based on a set of common rules, recognized through centuries of socialization, which promise to reduce the natural discomforts of individual relationships.
Social graciousness in any group is the common denominator of any interpersonal relation and a form of practiced association defined by greeting and parting rituals or by general policies concerning etiquette and decency, meant to lessen the anxieties of being social.
Being courteous is another way of being disingenuous because it always entails some form of repression and imitation that does not fully express individuality - unless it is in a watered down, socially acceptable form.

The first thing that happens with every new assembly is an automatic sizing-up of the other(s), followed by a search for the other’s preferences, qualities and boundaries, once an initial physical attraction/ repulsion or a social/economic affiliation has been established.
The second thing that happens is a muted power struggle, where balances are established through symbolic body movements, and subtle linguistic cues - maybe, sometimes, through more obvious means – and after we have assessed the other’s boundaries, qualities, strengths and weaknesses - all this, most often, on a subconscious level and within culturally allowable parameters.

We adapt our persona to the other’s sensitivities – if we desire to make a connection - and we censor our words and actions, as much as possible and in accordance with our evaluations of the other’s personality, status, feedback and communal role.
We no more make sexual jokes in the presence of clergy than we express confrontational convictions in the presence of our boss.

This creates a connection with definable restrictions which determine all further relations, from here on in, with this same individual and is affected by all the intermediary and interconnected side-relationships within the extended group. In time, as comfort levels rise or as they fall, these restrictions might be readjusted. But even in the most comfortable, long-term relationships, there is always an element of restriction and confidentiality.
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PostSubject: Re: The Case for Dishonesty   Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:34 am

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No human relationship can ever survive total disclosure for long.
There will always be an element of the other’s “honesty” that grates at our soul and blemishes our tolerance of them.
No matter how minute an offence might be, it taints the entirety and cannot be ignored for long.
Just like a fly in our milk: The pallid liquid becomes the background for that speck of vile darkness, we cannot avoid focusing upon, until the whole glass becomes distasteful; a contrasting difference making the apparent cleanliness of the whole doubtful.

In time personal “reality” is inevitably unravelled through subtle hints and unfortunate situations, until finally our folly is revealed, and our revised interpretation, or clearer understanding, of the other and of our unknown self, fills us with a sense of disillusionment and loss.
Chemical reactions are, inevitably, washed from our system and emotion releases its grip from our brain. We then become painfully aware of our past recklessness and delusion or we explain them away as being a consequence of the other’s many faults; time erodes away the masks, and the other’s flaws become reminders of our own, the other’s pretence serves to expose ours and the mystery of the other rekindles a subconscious awareness of our total seclusion behind our skulls and it fills us with that old fear for the unknown.
Nature, then, whispers in our cultured ear and our relentless instincts shame the intellect with their overriding last word.

The entire social fabric is woven with the strings of deceptive courteousness - social graces covering the vastness of suppressed personality and repressed nature.

Civilization is built on the foundations of bullshit.
Bullshit isn’t just some topic a philosophy professor can write an essay about, as if it’s an exception to an ethical rule that soils our general purity and something only the few ignoble are guilty of, as opposed to some imagined ideal man. Nor is it some vice that requires virtuous intervention to right its wrong.
Bullshit is simply a social strategy, nothing more, nothing less.
It is, in fact, what makes communal living and human interaction possible; a social lubricant that enables two dissimilar entities to work together with as little friction as possible.

Everything from a casual greeting to a leader provoking a nation into war is fraught with untruthfulness.
Everything from a marketing ploy to sexual seduction is fraught with dishonesty.
A friend, choosing his words carefully as to not hurt us, is just as guilty of deception as a grifter is, doing the same thing to hurt us.
The outcome might appear different on the surface and the degrees may vary, but the underlying, self-serving motives and psychological insecurities involved are alike.
We are being just as hypocritical when we watch our tone of voice or when we insinuate agreement through silence - when inside we are really ranting and raving or laughing or cursing or feeling indifferent - as when we go out of our way to mislead.
Even our “honest” expressions of personal opinion, expressed from time to time at our own risk, are mostly pulled punches, purposefully ambiguous, censored judgments and/or probing events meant to partially vent suppressed views and repressed emotions without completely revealing them and facing the consequences.

I, personally, have gotten into much more trouble speaking my mind freely, than I ever have by uttering a single lie or expressing a single disingenuous opinion.
The proverb “Honesty is the best policy.” is just another preserving myth.
In fact “Honesty is the worse policy.” if immediate personal interests are at stake, and only the “best policy” for the other that wishes to protect himself/herself from our private mind and our hidden motives.

Every man, through history, that has dared to expose human folly has become the favourite target for collective ridicule and attack.
His “honesty” wasn’t refreshing nor was it appreciated. It was interpreted as a sign of bad intention, which purposefully ignored convention and revealed the fragility of social power balances.
He was then degraded, insulted slandered and laughed at, for having the audacity to challenge our collective values.
His opinions dissected in search for advantage, under the prejudice belief that any mind that holds an opinion contrary to an acceptable norm must acquire some direct benefit from it.
A prejudice that serves to expose our own self-interested perspectives, we enjoy projecting onto others, because they dominate our surroundings.

We rarely question the integrity, nor the sanity of the one that echoes our beliefs or our emotions or our rationality back at us, making us feel that we are on the right path and living the best possible life or that our own pretence is, in fact our genuine self and not some social façade we wear to achieve a more unproblematic integration within the group.
But we often question their integrity and sanity when the other offends our conventions and makes us uncertain about our investments and attitudes or when the other hints at our own duplicity and hidden self.
We despise them for it. We despise them for challenging our connections to a whole we wish to disappear within or for merely making us doubt and rethink our positions.

And what can one be, if they are indifferent to our hatred or to our collective wrath, if they are not ill or a product of dysfunction?
Do they not test the very notion of health and normalcy altogether?
Haven’t all monsters, through time, been guilty of challenging our shared judgments?

Manson, Dahmer, Bundy or any infamous or anonymous criminal in our prison, is considered ill, not because of what they did or thought, so much, but because they could not bring their passions under reason’s control sufficiently enough to make them consider the consequences of confronting the collective; because they were, perhaps, indifferent to our opinions of them or to the image they projected against our combined judgment; because they didn’t care about what we thought of them and showed no inhibitions in expressing those “inappropriate” sides of themselves; because their indoctrination into our value systems didn’t stick and they could not be tamed; because they dared to be themselves unequivocally and with the full glory of their inherited nature, mostly revealing itself through sexual divergence and violence, the twin pinnacles of suppressed natural tendencies.
Ares and Aphrodite, blush.

The criminal’s divergence from the norm makes them unpredictable to us and this makes them dangerous; it makes them “monsters” that must be re-harmonized and re-educated back into the fold.
We prefer the predictability of conformity and imitation.
The civilized man should be a reflection of his neighbour, speaking the words he was taught, wearing the facades we wear ourselves, acting in the same ways as we do, being ambitious in the same arenas we are, dreaming the same dreams, eating the same foods, owning the same stuff, fucking in the same manner.
The civilized man should be a defender of the status quo, a conservative force, a repairer of the pretentious fabric that envelopes us all with its calming grace and soothing safety.

Mega-cities, super-organisms can, in this way, become functional entities.
Nation states become reality. Globalization becomes plausible.
And the mind attains that state of release into the whole, losing the uncomfortable self in the conglomeration and unloading its fears and anxieties unto the communal shoulders of unity.

This need for hypocrisy isn’t a matter of personal choice; it is a matter of survival, forced upon us through the environment as it is shaped by systemic control.
Human existence is no longer dependant on adapting to natural environments but now it is dependant on adapting to artificial, man-made ones.

Being acceptable and tolerable to the greater whole makes some form of insincerity crucial and it makes reason’s control over natural drives essential.
Tell someone what he likes to believe is true and he/she will love you, tell them something that confronts their perspective of reality and you set yourself up to be ostracized and excluded like a cancerous cell.
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maryshelley
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PostSubject: Re: The Case for Dishonesty   Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:52 pm

And just as I was leaving a voice bade me return.
Random thoughts on the theme:

1) Have we not always persecuted the 'other' threatening to eat our children so that we may feed upon our young ourselves?

2) We create our monsters and then abandon or ignore them. Somehow they find a way to grab our attention (look what I'm capable of you can't stop me. Look what I'm capable of, stop me please). By then it is 'too late' for us and for them.

3) In an overfamiliar world where familiarity breeds contempt; what use honesty?

Over exposure leads to white out, obscuring the big picture and the devil in the details. The details are what move us towards or away from the thing in question. All is in the details. Full disclosure, if actually possible, is dangerous. What is hidden from us is exposed to others. Exposure is dangerous to others.

4) If we tell a lie to another; the lie only becomes a lie when it is exposed as such. An undetected lie is a truth! We may lie to ourselves continually; when others are complicit in the lies we tell ourselves, well..... therein lies the trouble.... a double-exposure!

5) Those who go against the flow will meet with resistance. When has it ever been any different? And will it ever be?
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The Case for Dishonesty
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