More light than heat

Today, by virtue of its being, represents another perfect time to do one of my favorite things: criticize society while propagating what I’m condemning.

Suffice it to say that I have, in life, encountered artificialities. As have you, no doubt. The kind of metaphorical facades that shock you and make a shower the world’s single most desirable offering.
Initially, you despise what you’ve discovered because of how fake it looks and how fake it makes you feel. Holden Caulfield would have hated it (amusingly, I’m using Holden’s trick of saying ‘you’ when I mean ‘I’ in this paragraph). This gets you thinking about the idea of genuineness, though, and wondering if it’s better to be genuine or nice, if the two are at odds. Society highly values honesty, but many people’s honest opinions are mean-spirited. Are there situations where it’s better to be disingenuous than honest? Are there situations where it’s better to be welcoming than rejecting?

Now that you’ve read that last sentence twice and concluded yes obviously welcoming is better what idiot wrote that question, think of situations where the only way to be welcoming or even pleasant is to be artificial. Pretty easy. There are people you don’t like or places you don’t want to be. If niceness is the goal (and it often seems to be–I admit to putting an embarrassing amount of effort into making strangers like me), why do we flinch at the idea of dishonesty even when it makes us “nicer?”

The reason society values honesty, I think, is because it makes the cleanup easier when a confrontation does arise. Eventually someone sees through phoniness, whatever form it takes, and seeing truth hurts even more after deception. Being fake is initially safer than being honest, but with honesty at least anything negative comes out right away and doesn’t have time to fester.

I don’t know which is better. I would like to say that I’m honest but too often I fall into the trap of trying to please everyone because it feels easier.  Internet, what do you think?


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