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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Say what you mean to say

We once watched this incredibly clever movie called "The invention of lying." It was
written extremely well and in summary, was based on a world of people who could not lie. They never knew life any way besides telling the truth. In a series of comedic twists, it was one of those films where you're left scratching your head and full of discussion and discourse.

This got me to thinking how different our world would be if everyone was always honest. There certainly would be no hidden messages in advertisements on television. The ads would simply boast they want you to buy their product, despite the chemicals it may contain.

I got to thinking about the social games we play surrounding the truth. When you have guests over, they most always offer something to bring. You play right into the script and of course respond with "nothing" and they in turn usually bring something. If they didn't bring something, they would have actually listened to your initial request. But then if you were hosting something all the time and continued to say "nothing", you'd most likely be annoyed that they listened.

We as humans send mixed messages. We are taught to be polite, politically correct and proper and yet most often are exuding the opposite of whatever we feel. For example, if you were on a bad date and your fellow date asked what had gone wrong, you're certainly not going to tell him that he had bad breath and was too short and he would be confused because you were smiling the entire time during dinner.

Think of a time where you run into an old colleague or acquaintance at the mall or grocery store, and they ask how everything is? The response is usually "good, great, well". I can't remember the last time I bumped into someone and was having a bad day and upon their question, I responded with a list of my problems and complaints.

If someone asks you to go out for a fancy dinner and you either a) don't feel like it or b) can't afford it, you never usually disclose that reason. It's usually a feeble excuse that the other person takes personally when in fact, if you actually told the truth, they would be more understanding and it would leave less room for interpretation or assumptions.

I'm not suggesting we all go through the world telling everyone exactly how we feel because there are obvious social filters we utilize in this very complicated and narcissistic world to aid in living with fluidity. Imagine the sheer chaos of life if everyone told you exactly how they felt at any given time?

Or would it be chaos, and not calm? If all we ever knew was the truth, wars would be avoided because the intent of the enemy would be stated up front. There could be no ploying or scheming because it would all be public knowledge. We wouldn't feel bad about our weight or image because everyone would be aware of everyone else's flaws and it's spoken about so we would never be sheltered from our parents as children and then thrown into cruel reality as adults. There would be no room for interpretation or second guessing; "what did she mean by that?"

In a world with no lying, there is no such thing as fiction, flattery, interpretation or deceit. It is what it is. This film was charming, slick and really got you thinking and discussing when it was over.

Consider the two statements:

1) Now, since I'm doing so great, and I'm incredibly well off, I think I'll go for lunch at a fancy restaurant. Please, come along and don't pay your share. Afterwards, come back to our place and I'll cook you an incredible Sunday evening meal. And no, I don't want you to bring anything.
p.s. my life is so perfect!

2) Now, since I'm broke from planning a wedding and buying a home, I will go and make a sandwich in my kitchen. Do you want to come for dinner? Sure, you can bring a salad if you want. I feel fat and am a regular woman with daily struggles and I may not feel like getting together for drinks tomorrow, but it's because I'm tired and not because I don't enjoy your company.

I don't know about you, but I would rather be friends with someone in scenario #2 than #1.

And that is the absolute truth.

Have a great Sunday!


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