Life is a doubled edge sword. Always sharp and prime to cut thy enemies or cut thy self. The duality of life can confuse people; make the world far more confusing and make it even harder to come out clean on the other side. And in truth, life is set up that way from the moment that we emerge into the world. Humans are born helpless, completely dependent on the adults of the species for our care, nourishment and survival. From the time of infancy, being alive is a selfish endeavor. We are not born and up on our feet to run with the herd in less than an hour. It takes us years, tens of years to become self-sufficient, and independent of our parents. In the meantime, there are 1000s of lessons to learn and one of the first, we learn is selfishness. As an infant, if we have a need we cry, or scream and cry to gain the attention of our caretakers, so that we can be fed; so that we can be changed when we are soiled; to be cared for when we are sick. But as time progresses, we gain the ability of higher communication and speech, and it is truly up to our caretakers to teach us empathy; to ween us away the self- destructing and society destructing habits of selfishness. There lies the problem. Either that lesson is never taught or never learned, which leads us to many of the problems we experience as a society today.
This leads me to mendacity. I first learned this word when I watched “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” as a child. As I got older I began to learn that mendacity truly is the system in which we live. It is pervasive and infectious. And it stems in a large part from selfishness and a complete inability to have empathy for those around you. Those who are usually most selfish, are those who have rarely wanted for anything, never suffered anything and never experienced loss. Unfortunately, it takes deprivation in life to build true character. Those who have character, are often verbally, mentally and emotionally assaulted by those who lack it. These selfish and characterless people go beyond lacking empathy, but easily delve into the realm of deceit, duplicity and lies, just to achieve what they want. It is far easier than face to face discussion or either confrontation. There is too much fear and shame for them to take the stand up avenue and address issues directly. It’s easier to lie and slither around the issue; it’s more advantageous to take the bribe and not face those who suffer as a result. It’s simpler to turn one’s back or shut one’s eyes than to be honest with yourself and the people around you.
This leads me back to that double edge sword I mentioned in the beginning. What are the truly straight forward, honest people supposed to do? Those who choose the path of deceit always get what they want, whether it’s manipulating to get the job they want, taking bribes the get the money they want or sabotaging just to deny someone access; so what do we do? One is tempted to abandon dignity and self-respect, and join the mendacious; spinning a web of lies and reaping the result. But the question that leaves is, how will you feel inside? Hollow? Empty? What is the point of having everything you want, if there is nothing left of your soul?. There’s no point at all. The alternative is long, painful and fraught with setbacks. The alternative is to maintain one’s integrity and like the little engine that could, continue to chug along; spreading your goodheartedness. But not in hopes that you will be rewarded; but… just because. Just because it is the right thing to do. Just because you feel warm inside when you share yourself, your money, your joy with another, and in turn make their lives better. And the truth of the matter is that for the truly selfless, there are rewards. Now, often times they will not be gifted with a golden parachute straight from Wall Street; the rewards are smaller, but far more fulfilling with a sense of wellness and accomplishment that anyone can be happy with as they follow this journey of life to its end.
Sad to say, we all must live with the unpleasant odor of mendacity that seems to hover around every sentient being, but the trick is not to let it infect you and change your motivations. Selfishness, true selfishness, is usually around every corner waiting to tempt us; and we’re human, so being selfish is going to happen. But it’s best if it’s the exception and not the rule. When it comes to dealing with the deceitful individuals that we must interact with every day, keep your eyes open and your soul positive; that way you can see who they are, but they will never know it.