Everyone’s faking it

In the late-night admissions of old friends, the whispers of star-crossed lovers waiting for doom, and the drunken confessions of those who seemed so resolutely content only moments before, the admission comes: I don’t understand why everyone else seems to find it so easy, surviving in this time.

Many thoughtful people find themselves alone, earning not that much money or having that much success in school, or even having many successes and still feeling totally alienated. They question their own competence, purpose and ability.

What they don’t do is question everyone else.

The gnarly fact is that most people in this society behave as if they’re resentful. They cheat on the little details, whether tipping a waitress or driving like a fool. If not watched, they may simply take what they want and ignore the consequences. They often push ahead in line, or lie about their behavior, or otherwise deny reality.

They’re resentful toward their family members. They may even set their children up to fail, by giving them nothing but criticism. They sabotage their spouses by entangling them in drama and unnecessary obligations. They ignore any effects beyond their own property. If something gets tossed over the fence, it’s out of sight, out of mind.

But what they are certain to do is hide this fact. They will hide their bad deeds, their resentment, their selfishness and their anger. When you encounter them, they’ll pull a sales job on you. As far as they say, they’re geniuses who live in happiness and wealth.

It’s this way in the rich neighborhoods, where half of the people are living on credit and the BMW might get repossessed any minute. It’s also this way in the poor neighborhoods, where ever dishwasher is a big MC after hours.

Humans specialize in making themselves look important. Whether it’s the ironic hipster, or the staid suburbanite keeping up with the Joneses by buying a digital salad shooter, it’s the same mentality.

The only people who suffer for it are the sensitive, intelligent and curious. They see a world of multitudinous small hells, and people who appear to be well-adapted and even enjoying it.

When in reality what they are seeing is another series of hells, this time created within the humans themselves.

31 Comments

  1. Mihai says:

    “If something gets tossed over the fence, it’s out of sight, out of mind.”

    This reminds me of a talk with someone who upheld such a mentality. This mentality went approximately like this : “the economy is going just fine, if you ask me- I’m making money. I don’t care about anything else”.

    1. http://www.hulu.com/watch/280000

      Out of sight, out of mind — a visual depiction.

      1. crow says:

        Haha. Content not available in Canada.
        What, am I living on Mars?

        1. No; they have a strong legal team. It was once available on YouTube, but got taken down so Hulu could offer a legal alternative. The consequence of that is that the content is only available in places with legal systems that support the full enforcement of the owner’s rights under US law. It’s frustrating for me because the net, in the hands of commerce and lawyers, has eliminated the greatest attribute of hypertext, which is that we can link to definitive sources. Wikipedia is just a stand-in for this need.

  2. Ernst Malleus says:

    I quit my university a few days ago – i just couldn’t stand the sight of all the people surrounding me being depressed, over-weight, couch potatoes intent upon monitoring the lives of their favorite “star singer” or what have you while their own life slips away. I have no idea what i am going to do with my life from here on. These last few years all the things that i really cherished and enjoyed no longer brought me any satisfaction.
    “Everything around me is void, without movement, without perspectives.” Yet i think it is better to go into the unknown and maybe fail (probably) than just sit idly by.

    1. crow says:

      Leave the depression to those you flee.
      Reality does not depress.
      It engages.

    2. Most people live as they lived in the bush a million years ago: hand to mouth, distracting themselves with small pleasures, never thinking about the future or improving what they do, and burning down as “witch doctors” any who rise above.

      What I learned from going through the 20s grinder:

      “Things I enjoy” can mean either a process you enjoy, or a result you enjoy. With adulthood the latter becomes important, and gradually colors all steps to that end with the former. Thus what is needed is looking toward where you want to be, and what you’re effective at, and applying that so that you can have power, influence and respect in society and thus be able to apply your actual ideas and enjoyments to the world itself.

      1. gg says:

        Some people who dwell on the other side of the planet call this: monkey brained.

        Most people i observe in daily life fit this pretty well most of the time. If they are sharp, it is sharp in a fleeting disconnected kind of way.

  3. Jason says:

    I grew up either ignored or criticized, that particular sentence stung a bit.

    1. Many did. It takes years to overcome. You end up with a life that’s unlike what you imagined, but is functional and positive, when you overcome it.

      It’s not right to bring up kids ignored and/or criticized as the primary mode of their interaction with reality. It can skew them toward antisocial or self-destructive behaviors, or both.

      1. Well, what ways are those “different” kids connected to their parents? I may not be the best parent in the world but I made up my mind to fight a battle to stop doing what my parents did to me: The things they said to get us to behave had the unspoken assumption that we had something wrong with us. When they said “behave” we could feel it that they saw us as bad product that had to be fixed to be acceptable. My children, I think, are having their problems in life but I feel they at least have their two feet on the ground, are basically good people, and can deal with those problems. I’m not the greatest mother in some people’s eyes, because my kids don’t look like the ones in the catalog. Kids in self destructive behaviors have a lot of strengths they need to tap into.

        1. The things they said to get us to behave had the unspoken assumption that we had something wrong with us.

          That’s the nature of control in itself: when there’s not a shared task, one group needs to batter and badger the other into place. It doesn’t work because it creates a prevailing sense of ambiguity and instability, not to mention negativity, which destabilizes those who are controlled. By avoiding this technique, you’ve done more than 100,000 parenting books.

          I think there’s no way for kids to avoid having problems in this life. The civilization around them, Rome II, is having problems. They are infected with them. What are we to do, ban them from ever seeing television? They get exposed to all of it: drugs, porn, broken and dysfunctional ideas, stupid horrible people, abusive authority figures. Even the evening news, or the advertizing supplement in the newspaper, is enough to send someone into neurotic howling paroxysms of misery and hatred.

          All you can do is build them up, give them some good basic principles, love them and make sure they know they have a place and a “sacred” role in both family and world. It sounds like you’ve done that and your kids are a step ahead of most. It’s easy to dress up a problem to look like a catalog kid. The real problems don’t show up until those problem catalog kids are in their 40s and hateful little bastards :)

    2. crow says:

      Don’t cry.
      Being ignored makes you resourceful.
      Being criticized makes you consider whether or not the criticism is true.
      Either way, adversity builds character.
      Imagine what a wet sop you might have become, had everything been rosy.

      1. Missy says:

        Yes, indeed. I do recall, oh so many years ago, an interview that Lily Palmer (actress) did with Dick Cavett [anyone here old enough to remember this guy & his show?].

        She said she couldn’t remain a “pie-faced girl forever”. It stuck with me, always.

        1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVteh_v2v9c

          Looks straight out of the 1970s. It’s amazing how quickly the entertainment elites adopted the quasi-Woodstock look (DC’s hair and mannerisms).

          1. Missy says:

            Tks for finding that interview on youtube. I’m hopeless at locating stuff. The 1970s were the weirdest decade of all, I’m convinced.

      2. Either way, adversity builds character.

        It’s a fundamental signal, also, that you will not find the answers in other people, or even in external things at all, or even in yourself at all. You need to look for something more solid and eternal. That’s the essence of conservatism there: the good, the beautiful, the true for all time.

  4. Is it a sign that one is a good parent if the kids blend in with society and share the same symptoms?

    1. crow says:

      Yes.
      It’s different from being a good denizen of nature.

  5. crow says:

    When the population of Canada was twenty million, I used to think that twenty million people can’t be wrong: it had to be me. It got so bad that I set sail upon the ocean, alone, in a boat that was almost certain to kill me, rather than endure those twenty million people for a moment longer.
    It took maybe two weeks of lethal reality to convince me that twenty million people can be wrong. Before very long, I was completely cured, and living each moment knowing it could be my last. I’ve never been susceptible to self-doubt again.

    Every human should be issued a baby crow, to raise.
    Having raised one, I can say that there is nothing in the world that makes a better teacher. Crows don’t fake it. Ever. And there is nothing in the world that loves you like the crow you have raised.
    With the possible, ironic exception, of you, yourself.

    1. I’m guessing that’s where your handle comes from?

      1. crow says:

        Obviously.
        But there is more.
        Do a search for ‘crow totem’.
        That’s me.
        Like it or not :)

  6. RiverC says:

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn once said that the line of good and evil runs across the human heart. In the Great Divorce, Lewis depicts hell as personal, as a result of choice and a creation of the will first before it is a place and a time. He even goes so far as to say (and perhaps he puts the words on the lips of MacDonald) that for those who end up in hell, it will be as though they were always in hell, anyway. This ceaseless resentment – an easy trap to fall into – and its inversion, ‘positive thinking’ are, I think, unrealities. Evil is a deprivation of reality, as a wound is, and we’re taught that basically everyone is afflicted with it to some extent (i.e, ‘all have sinned…’ or, ‘I said in my ecstasy, all men are liars…’) so it is easy to fall into resentment, I think. Man wishes that the world were not full of wounds, so to speak, but such is the case.

    I guess what I would say is, it’s not so much that most people are wrong about stuff or that I am (by extension) most likely wrong about a lot things, but what to do about it.

    As for the kid raising thing, it’s tough to balance establishing boundaries with stopping short of criticism, I’ve found. The solution is to know your kids better and give them things to do rather than supervising them. We’ll see how well I do at this, though :)

    1. …ceaseless resentment – an easy trap to fall into – and its inversion, ‘positive thinking’ are, I think, unrealities.

      Positive thinking –a trap? I can’t just say what I want and make it reality?

      I always wondered why I shy away from excessive positivity.

      1. RiverC says:

        It’s the reverse side, like a card, of negative thinking… or kind of like spiritual yo yo dieting, lol :)

        1. crow says:

          ‘Positive thinking’ has (or had) a lot going for it.
          But like any other useful idea, it morphed into its opposite, once the mindless started chanting it.

  7. NotTheDude says:

    This post reminded my of a few years ago when I was very depressed. I felt that I wasn’t fitting in to our society’s way of thinking and resisting it because I knew it was wrong and yet I felt that that I was trying to resist what seemed like the inevitable modern way of just doing what you want and not caring about the real future. That is what they want. Almost all that anyone says in the media or they who listen to the media want you to follow them so they don’t have to change. Noone that often comments or posts on this site is wrong overall. You are all just fighting the ignorant.

    1. RiverC says:

      In fact, with the most recent election, they’ve given up fighting the Debt in the USA. Social Security increased its payouts significantly (according to my Mom) — Conservatives have largely officially given up the political fight and are looking for the post-mortem. Plants wither outwardly and create seeds for the next spring.

      1. crow says:

        Interesting use of language to convey personal conviction.
        Fighting.
        I haven’t done that, in this context, for quite some time.
        Not much point in fighting a fight where winning is impossible.
        Unless you really like fighting.

        Paradoxically, I have always been one to physically attack two or more Visigoths at once, with no other goal but to show how earnestly I disapprove of whatever it was they were doing at the time.
        Winning didn’t enter into it.

        Fight for the glory, and fight to win.
        Don’t fight at all, if there is no glory to be had.

  8. disillusioned p says:

    Reality has sharp edges, but recognising it for what it is the first step to adapting to it.

    The word the Roissyists use, ‘the red pill’, is so appropriate. Conversely, the currency of a blue-pill society is ignorance (ironic considering the way leftists use the word), inefficiency and ugliness.

  9. Tom says:

    I just discovered Szondi’s “Analysis of destiny”, somewhere between Freud and Jung with emphasis on genetic influence. I doubt if many people want to consider fate in their lives but heritage might give some guide lines away from the apathy.

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