There’s one art which is absolutely imperative to master as soon as you start getting older and start coming across unbreachable road blocks or some potholes you stumble across or a patch of barren road in your life where nothing grows and there’s no view whether you look left or right or ahead and you know that looking behind is a recipe for a crash.
It is the art of self-deception.
I do not call it an art lightly. It really is an art. Because one of the biggest sleight of hands in acquiring this art is to do with without being aware of it but at the same time being aware of it out of the corner of your eye like you would observe a house long past outside the window of a rushing train and it gets smaller and smaller and smaller and you cannot see it anymore so now which colour was it was it yellow no let’s say it was green from now on what do you say yes yes it was green it was never yellow are you crazy oh but it was yellow yes it was when did I ever say it was green?
Have you ever wondered why a few people are able to get away with anything and everything, cheating, incompetence, malice, let alone large real crimes? And why some people can’t get away with a single sleight of hand in their behaviour, an incompetence hidden behind busy-ness a love hidden behind loneliness, whatever their weakness, it always comes to bite them in the ass? How could the universe be unfair when we know that the universe is a perfect bookkeeper par excellence, never missing an entry of credit or debit?
I think that’s because the universe prizes authenticity above all else. Is the person living according to what he or she truly is? Or are they not following the recipe, are they trying to subterfuge it, hoodwink it and are trying to camouflage themselves?
So authenticity over morals. Authenticity over ethics. Authenticity over competence. Authenticity over love. Authenticity over loyalty. That’s the only rule of the universe. You can be an authentic serial killer but if you totally indulge in your roles, the universe has your back until that moment of self doubt creeps in, and when it does, you are finished. Look at Donald Trump – he has done everything one ‘should’ not do he makes brazen lies but look at where he is – the single reason he is there where he is is because that’s who he is. To his bones.
But the thing about the universe is that it doesn’t have receivers installed and big brothers watching your every action to decide whether you are being authentic or not. Whether you actually love the woman you say you love or whether the shoddy unforgivable work you did yesterday night in your job is what you are or is it a one-off or a learning curve or a sign of things to come or when you keep quiet hearing yet another slight are you seething inside or are you indifferent or when you hear a compliment do you let it go deep believing that’s what you are or let it just brush your skin knowing better. Every outcome of the above is acceptable to the universe if it is acceptable to you. The only receiver connected to the universe is you. It has no other source of information or analysis. The thing the universe hates and remorselessly punishes is where the outcome is NOT acceptable to you as per your internal conversation and yet, you keep at the same thing. You hate being fucked a certain way, yet, you stick to it. You hate doing something at work, yet you make no discernable attempt to not have to do it, you make noises as to how things arent right, but you do nothing to silence those noises. EITHER WAY. This is Duplicitous and the universe hates it and thats when it punishes you.
And that’s where the art of self deception comes in. And those who master it are better off in every conceivable scenario. They are happier (and our modern culture lays such a store on happiness), they have less stress and peaceful sleep and glowing skin, they do not face recriminations of their actions simply because their actions have not yet been accounted for by the universe because they simply haven’t acknowledged them. In an ideal world, you would not do things which you do not want to do. In a next to ideal world, you would say, as a woman once told me, It is what it is and accept it wholeheartedly, thereby eliminating the conflict. But there is a third option which most people take and which apparently seems to work as well! You pretend with all your being that everything you are, everything you are doing, is perfect. That’s it. As simple as that. The first two methods of gaining authenticity are inwards, this third one is outwards. You simply eliminate the source of duplicity by refusing to acknowledge that there is ANY imperfection in whatever you are doing. And once you do that, even the people around you stop noticing that there is something grossly improper in your behaviour. They just shrug, feed off your confidence, and simply let you get away with your crime.
I’ll give you three examples.
- Harvey Weinstein: I recently read about an A-Lister hollywood actress, who, 15 years ago complained in a conversation that Weinstein made a sexual overture at her, grabbed her ass by calling her in a hotel room for a script talk, stripped himself into a towel and proceeded to lay down and asked her to join him. When she tried to leave, and threatened, he just laughed. When she proceeded to tell the others in the company, men AND women, they just shrugged and joked saying “THAT’S WHO HARVEY IS”. That’s it. Nothing else. You can get away with a load of things, no pun intended if you use this – thats who i am. But it has to be deep, you have to tell yourself too this so often that there’s no other way of being. Then you can be whatever the fuck you want to and no one will bat an eyelid because thats who you are. The universe – will bestow all success – because – authentic!!
- My mom and my dad are fond of singing songs on karaoke. My father is a decent singer, but if you hear my mom sing, it sounds as if a hyena stepped on something incredibly sharp and let out a yell and her friends found it too funny and all the hyenas started laughing together and all these sounds together turned into a song which she was singing. My wife, if you hear her voice, the way she holds a high note, the way she never sounds breathless, the way her voice actually rings like a tuning fork on steel, you will be left with zero doubt as to her singing ability. And yet – my mother has never even entertained the possibility she doesn’t sing well – and she’s called to karaoke parties and whenever we have something where they both are present, my wife will sing 1 reluctant song and my mother 4. Its just the way universe has worked – one has deceived oneself she is good and so the universe and the people in it have accepted unquestioningly. The other let doubt come in the way of enthusiasm and has simply been ignored. As they say, i pretended i was the type of man who could carry a tuxedo, and lo, in a minute, i was the man who could carry a tuxedo.
- I go to do surgeries everyday and so often, the need for the surgery IN ITSELF is because of something done to the patient by the doctor in the first place. If the patient had not met the doctor, if he would have just lived along merrily, he would never have needed the surgery in this lifetime. I know it, i see it and being not able to tell this to the patient in front of the doctor eats me up from inside, one bit at a time, slowly, over 10 years, that at times i have been left as a cynical underconfident bitter wreck unsure of how to approach any patient at all. But so far i have NEVER seen it bother the doctor or the maddening list of doctors which do this. It never has happened that he realised it was due to his mistake. Scarcely believable, no? The only rational explanation is that the doctor, to keep his money and his sanity and his balance in the universe, refuses to entertain that possibility at all in his head, and so always finds an outward justification for the problem while deceiving himself he has the best interests of the patient at heart. So he even ends up MAKING MONEY out of the surgery i do, the one he caused in the first place.
So – If something goes wrong – not my fault. The weather, the circumstances, the time, a bad day, the luck, the money, someone else, something else. ALWAYS. Self deception is a dazzling game of bookkeeping which you play with the universe to match the credit and the debit ledgers every day. It is a subtle skill, which if you can master, will let you sleep peacefully – because you are NEVER thinking – why am i doing this, why am i like this, what can i do to change (because all of us know change is impossible). You are always playing a game of juggling, with words and justifications where you never allow the ball to come to your half of the pitch. If you learn to play it, whether the universe catches up with you or not, you will always sleep at peace.
Isnt that something to aspire to?