Saturday, January 10, 2009

Deception

There are few practices in life that will more quickly drain your soul than deception. The underlying reasons can be either admirable or deplorable, but the art itself is difficult. Stories upon stories, never-ending, spiraling out of control. Any grand deception quickly falls victim to the social equivalent of the Butterfly Effect—more stories and more people must be included to sustain it. This innate difficulty, however, makes successful and elaborate deceptions something of a decadent beauty.

We have long fostered a romantic fascination with con artists and their schemes.

The most successful and, simultaneously, most deplorable example of deception is the day-by-day battle a psyche wages against itself between waking and sleeping. The person who does not suffer this discord is rare and fortunate; perhaps such a state is our ultimate quest—finding a life for oneself wherein no false pretenses are required to be at peace with its reality.

What makes this so abominable? It’s reality, right?

What troubles me is my simultaneous awareness of the process and unflappable tendency to repeat it nonetheless. I’m completely aware that half of my satisfaction is manufactured, and simply exists after battling my doubts into submission. It’s absolutely true that I love my job; loving the other 16 hours of every day is what’s forced.

I’m pretty sure the dissonance is rotting my soul.

I went out today and helped out at a high school that’s trying to participate in a robotics competition. Honestly, I would have done this in any situation. A lot of people gave their time to me through high school, so I feel like I should return the favor. However, when troubled, I have a habit of weathering the storm by dedicating myself to projects, people, and problems that are not my own. The Hillcrest jukebox is undoubtedly the canonical example. I slaved away for the first half of that semester, hiding from the questions I really needed to answer. It was something, but ultimately a distraction.

Three years later, it looks suspisciously like I’m doing it again.

Like before, this will eventually go into remission. I have friends who aren’t doing so well themselves, and any attempts to help those situations have been thwarted (or worse, nearly backfired). So it’s been a quiet week—one more completely on my own than usual. I’ve gotten a disturbingly good look at where I am. I suppose I’ll like it well enough after I defeat these questions once more, but no sooner.