Post Classifieds

Deception accepted at face value

By Joshua Vail
On November 16, 2009

How am I doing? Do you really want to know?

When someone asks me "how are you" it's natural to say "fine" or "OK" even when I feel awful. Is this a lie?

I know in my own life there are many times when I put on a good face and manage to maintain it through an entire meal or other social encounter.

Sometimes, it's just a mask over a general feeling of ambivelance: I literally just feel okay, neither truly good nor bad.

Other times, the mask is hiding feelings of frustration, sadness, or worry.

I feel as if our society is in some way fundamentally dishonest.

We have institutionalized the practice of hiding our true faces from others. We constantly disguise what we really think.

Frequently, I have allowed a professor to believe that I have put more work into my homework than I actually did, by careful choice of words.

I don't use the old excuse that a dog ate my homework since it's almost always turned in on time, but I make myself look better than if I said that I started it two hours before.

Even though I've been raised on the idea that honesty is important, I find that doing these "minor" deceptions is easy.

We want to make ourselves look good, and others want to look good to us.

Sometimes they do this with ulterior motives, to gain something.

We know that politicians lie, especially during campaign time. At least they stretch the truth, on both sides of the issue.

Advertisements present a deliberately false world, where their product is needed for life and happiness.

I grew up believing that possessions can't buy happiness, and I think many people would say they believe this as well, but the fact that advertising is such a huge industry would indicate that perhaps we don't actually believe this; which is another layer of deception in and of itself.

It seems that we accept these deceptions as somehow necessary for our society to continue.

We accept political mudslinging as part of the political process when it is rightly a perversion of that process.

We accept advertising because it drives capitalism, even if some people are taken in by deceptions.

An example of this from my life is my grandfather, who often seems to twig on the commercials for scams or services that will not live up to their claims.

Specifically, the "MagicJack" voice over IP service that has been advertised lately.

When he actually set up the service, it worked about as well as a duck trying to ride a bicycle, and it was a huge bother to disconnect the service and get the old phone service back.

I see then from my experience that these deceptions are accepted as okay or even necessary, despite people who are hurt by them.

Coming back to my original point, I think that we accept these things because it's easier to pretend that things are OK than to do something about it.

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