ARE we not like peacocks, naturally showy? The instant we become aware that people are keenly interested in us we hold the last card which we can choose to play or not play in the game of keeping up appearances in the coliseum of social affinities. At the outset we can reveal our true self as it is which is cost effective; this is playing the card, or we can play a bluff and pretend to be who we are not but later on reveal to those around us that we were pretending all along, that we wanted to see their reaction to our pseudo self or worse still, we can continue to pretend until kingdom comes. The latter scenario needs sustenance and gumption. Trouble is the truth always comes out. A card played is a card known.
The most terrifying thing about the truth is that like a gale force it lifts off the lid of deceit and thwarts it away. But it does not stop there, it questions even the very essence of that which was concealed – the truth itself. What’s left when the truth is questionable? So then what is the point of the truth which may not make one an interesting character to engage with when known? There is absolutely nothing sophisticated in being truthful about things let alone a person of your caliber and I guess that’s why a lot of people will lie their way through life because they want to be the main course in life’s theatre of consequences. The only merit that you will receive in being truthful is that you will emerge unscathed by the continuous criticism of the societies positioning. You will know your place in the rung of things. People will look at you and conclude you are this or that meanwhile you are in the true character, you are playing you. You are portraying the person you truly can be, you awesome you! And when later on those who are curious whether they were right by positioning you in a particular frame of society get to grips with the real you after squeezing your mitts you might just generously spill out of their frame!
Suppose we met at a mutual friend’s party and just before that brief moment where you and I get introduced for the first time you happened to witness me holding a crowd’s attention with my prowess of speculation, deduction and observation as I go on and on about the visual arts and the trouble with visual arts aspirants to date etc. etc. You could perhaps conclude that I was a learned man, a man of letters an intellectual. Just by observing me from within an earshot of what I’ll be spewing to my magnetized handful crowd plus you would be able to pick up certain traits in the manner of how I conduct my speech having looked over my garb and even my gestures will indicate my refined and good nurtured mannerisms pitted amongst our mutual friend’s guests. You would undoubtedly position me within a specific point in our social strata. Whilst we are here in our tiny plot may I venture to point out that all these traits that you may infer about me on your part would be some form of social conditioning of the specific society you too belong to. Now if I am a fraud and all that you are observing just a moment before we meet is all an act and you are truly firmly entrenched within the genteel you will be able to discern that I am a fake piece. However in a possible universe wherein I succeed to deceive you, my repertoire will pull you in. You’d see me as that which you wish me to be, your kind. You may even join the group around me. Welcome.
You could perhaps conclude that I was a learned man, a man of letters an intellectual. Just by observing me from within an earshot of what I’ll be spewing to my magnetized handful crowd.
Damaging it is if liars inspire people to follow in their footsteps which the somber truth inevitably will reveal as nonexistent. Think about the consequences of it all if the ‘wanna be like them’ peeps probe what it takes to get there practically and acquire the formal credentials. The ‘wanna be like them’ peeps would have the first hand experience which they themselves lack. A paradox rears its head here: Imagine how it would be like if it emerges that the person who inspired you to be where you are in life has forged their qualifications to get there, that they never attained anything next to what you have been able to achieve. I mean should we have an itch to hit them with the delete button from your universe you don’t get to be inspired to be a go-getter. It is doubly a paradox because while the good thing is that they’ve inspired you to dream and attain your goals and be like them they on the other hand have lied in order to be accepted in that highly regarded rung of our society you have so wished to belong to. You have been duped into an achiever and perhaps it is a good thing on a certain little finger.
(turning to our slow motion scene) And so the inevitable happens, we get introduced. Perhaps one of the people I was talking to, whom you happen to know, turns to you as you huddle into our midst and say ‘This is Mmutle,…(we will call you Carlos) Mmutle this is Carlos.’ Says our mutual friend and we shake hands and I too look you over, I too in turn go through the same ritual of situating you. like you a moment ago I can’t help it. We are speculative in our nature. That’s us – human beings. It is important that we go through this motion because we size situations up, we size ourselves against the people around us as we seize and seethe the moments. Like moles, we feel our way through life. But a lie does it in hyper speed. It is the stopping that is cranky-tricky.
*This jot is affectionately dedicated to Carlos Amato who, for almost a decade, mesmerized me with textual constructs in The Times weekly through his column – The Far Post; Every week he wrote about football as if it was a soap opera happening. Here forth I am hoping to encounter your hammerings elsewhere monsieur wordsmith following goodbye bidding in ‘The seven-year glitch…’ published on 26 August 2014 (page 19) in The Times.
© mmutle arthur kgokong 2014