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Self-infliction #15: You Are a Hypocrite

Our Life is a dream. But we wake up sometimes, just enough to know that we are dreaming.” ~Ludwig Wittgenstein

At worst you're an imperfect, hypocritical, fallible creature prone to mistakes. At best you're aware of it.

This is a tough pill to swallow, but you are a hypocrite by nature. Just by the fact that you perceive an unfathomable reality with fallible faculties implies hypocrisy. It’s not even your fault. Just the fact that you perceive a “you” in a world that’s “not you” implies hypocrisy.

The self is smoke and mirrors, masks and mayhem, artifice and archetype. You are more akin to a chaotic theater of actors than a single actor.

Amidst this tragicomedy of fallible selfhood, you will experience dissimulation and self-deception, dishonesty and deep pretension, inauthenticity and artificiality. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The rest is hidden beneath layer upon layer of subconscious double-dealings, feigned sincerity, two-faced unctuousness, and the mealymouthed choruses of canting contradictions.

Indeed, the self is masks all the way down perceiving delusions all the way up. Hypocrisy was inevitable. It’s merely the biproduct of your fallible self.

Your hypocrisy knows no bounds. And that’s okay. You might as well own up to it. You might as well embrace the chaos. It’s the only way to bring order to it, after all. You either live by default, floundering in your hypocrisy, or live creatively, integrating it. It’s the difference between either being a creature of circumstance or a creator of circumstance.

As a species, we are hypocrites par excellence. Especially when it comes to religion, politics, and power. It’s human nature to be full of shit. We constantly suffer from cognitive dissonance, shortsightedness, and logical fallacies. We are imperfect beings after all. But we’re all in it together.

If, as Hegel suggested, “To be aware of limitations is already to be beyond them,” then it stands to reason that becoming aware of your hypocrisy is a way to help you get beyond it.

When you honor your own hypocrisy, you become better at understanding the hypocrisy of others. You gain a sense of healthy detachment from it. It creates a creative space where you are free to practice the art of self-interrogation. Where you can consistently question your worldview so that you are better prepared to handle the diverse, and often confounding, worldview of others. This way a synthesis of thesis and antithesis is more likely. And the possibility of a more holistic, openminded, and compassionate worldview can emerge despite hypocrisy.

It is in this regard that, as Julie Metz surmised, “Hypocrisy has its own elegant symmetry.”


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