I’m in the process of reading Girl Imagined by Chance by Lance Olsen, and I am thinking about how easy it is to make up one’s life. Easy and hard, in different ways. Like making peanut butter-chocolate milkshakes.
We watched “The Joneses” (obviously a mainstream movie, in that way they have of being consistently predictable and disappointing) last night. Internet webs and informational glut, the redolence of media – its imagery and imaginings – makes lying very easy, and “soft.” In the sense of “white lies,” or possibly not malicious, not evil. Rather “stealthy,” “clever,” and “creative” manipulations, representations, (e.g. marketing).
I remember when Western Culture (particularly United-States-North-American) synonymed carpe diem with “invent yourself,” i.e. the militaries “be all you can be.” I was younger then.
Lying requires duplicity, which requires attention, which requires energy. Much like working outside of one’s home and having a family. Or some other role(s). What is called “position,” formerly called a “point-of-view.” Often borrowed from corporations or governments, churches or markets, movements or customers, and so forth. “White” lies. Duplicities. Now this, now that. Positioning.
Already multiple (syn. plural), our selves find it natural to lie and adapt and yet not to believe that it is lying. First one thing, then another; everything changes while remaining so similar. Enough. Apparently. In other words, subtle repositioning / shape-shifting: therapist foreground, wife background. Grunt foreground, husband back. Student, son, father, friend. Subtle shifts. Highlights. First one thing, then another, not exclusive (syn. deception).
Not that there’s anything wrong with it. Who associated these terms (“lie,” “deception,” “manipulation,” “duplicitous” and so forth) with something negative in the first place? Our histories, sciences, civilizations, arts, militaries, governments, religions, families and businesses are all based on them. At some point along every route, things are contradictory, duplicitous, compromised, untrue. What is evil about error? Efficiency? Multiplicity? Complexity?
So if an image suits your message, whatever claims necessity, doesn’t it belong? Whether “yours” or not, it’s resonant, it “fits.” Illustrates the story. Well, part of it, at least as viewed from this position, this point-of-view, whichever wherever whomever is being highlighted NOW.
It is as easy to invent yourself as to paste a collage or learn your native language. Complex organisms utilizing contexts for their survival and adapting (sort of thing). Lizards do it, plants do it, animals and insects do it – all stay alive by subtle shifts and adaptations, presenting themselves as somethings they’re not (perhaps) – representation, quotation, mimicry – all situationally based…
We tell each other certain things (stories altering emphases with each recounting, each invention), behave in particular ways in particular environs, accept and follow various rules at various times of our days, because we have no consistent center, we are relative – relatives all of us – one to another, to our world – shifting, adapting, multiplicitous…each lie leading toward some aspect of what we name truth, like sides of a liquid coin.
Our trouble is that we are unable to be there and not be there, as we’d like to think. It’s all responsibility. Our flexibility, agility, ability to respond…organism to context like a movie screen flickering now this, now that, hold focus, here blur, this angle, these lights, little more information, tone down the emotion, play up the cheer, empathize, stand firm, show authority, be gentle, shift shift shift shift…perspective position your point-of-view. Highlight, accent, select…
Carpe Diem. Seize this moment, this day, be all that you can be (you’ve no idea how expansive and various that is! Well, you must have some idea as we watch you change, grow, reveal, conceal, suppress, express, etc…) duplicitously, positionally, shiftily. It’s easy to make up our own lives, to invent ourselves…
…we’re doing it all the time, everywhere.
‘Tis merely act-ing (being/doing/living) in the world!