Monday, March 5, 2012

"I'm just going to type until the feelings stop."

No one is immune from self-delusion, it’s a product of life as fragile constructs influenced as much by instinctual emotions as by rationality. We all lie to ourselves, sometimes in big ways, sometimes in little ways. Sometimes the lies are necessary, self-preserving, benign. Other times the lies we tell are harmful to ourselves and those around us. But we all have them, each and every one of us.

I lied to myself for a while. I told myself that what I wanted would inevitably come to pass. I seized on every scrap of information that affirmed my lie and minimized any data that denied it. Even now, after confronting the truth, I still hold out hope in my head that my reassessment was wrong, that I haven’t interpreted the data correctly. It’s the hardest thing in the world, and one of the most painful to break through, to accept as fact something your very subconscious doesn’t want to believe.

Popular morality believes that any sort of lie is anathema to existence. (Good) religion believes that self-knowledge is the path to enlightenment. The idea of the fully self-aware as the pinnacle of existence is pervasive throughout region and worlds. This is a convenient belief: where the goal is clear and obvious and the objective world deemed the most important. But it loses sight of the function of self-deception. We lose sight of its purpose.

People don’t lie to themselves forever as a sinister method of shading the divine from their eyes, they do it to protect themselves from what emotions they cannot practically deal with. In a world that is constantly moving, no matter the era, no one has the time to spend two or three weeks resolving some kind of emotional problem for themselves. We can’t all spend three days on the couch crying and refusing to move every time we’re hurt. We don’t belong to monastic orders, practicing peace and dispassion. We’re humans with hopes and fears and dreams and beliefs. Shit can and will affect us, and we don’t have the time to deal with it.

It sounds bad, to be sure. Maybe a better world would be one where we could throw all obligation to the wind, sit on a couch, and stuff ourselves with ice cream and watch sad movies. Maybe we should be able to call into work and take the next month off, going on a wild drug binge, trying to avoid the incipient emotion through altered mental states. The best possible world, of course, would be a homogenous world, where no one has any hopes or dreams or indeed any passion at all. Events would pass before us as wind through reeds, as snow falling on a quiet night. Pain, though, is but one side of existence, and without pain we would not know pleasure.

But again, we have no time for pain. Our world demands that we pay attention to our surroundings, that we keep an eye out for opportunity, that we remain steady and constant in our activities, if not our mental state. This is what self-deception is ultimately for: to create a semblance of stability, to maintain the forward march of progress for our species. We’ve even codified a sort of strained sympathy for people who are “unable to move on” or “incapable of letting go,” preferring the mercurial to the constant, at least in emotional concerns.
So rather than solving a self-deception, ultimately I’ll be replacing one for another. The new lie is that I don’t feel bad. That I don’t feel hurt or depressed or angry or frustrated or just plain upset. The hope is that it will eventually even become true.

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