Recently I had a conversation that went like this:
The other person: ‘So and so’ felt you were a bit over excited about his suggestion. He felt like you were inauthentic. I mean, it was just a small suggestion.
Me: Strange, because I really was excited and thought his suggestion was brilliant.
The other person: Tone it down, because you don’t want to sound inauthentic
Me: But if I was genuinely excited and toned it down wouldn’t that be inauthentic? Are you suggesting I sound inauthentic to sound authentic?
The other person: no, don’t be inauthentic, just tone it down
Made me wonder: Do we now live in a society where we’re all expected to be the same, to react the same, to not show excitement or boredom beyond a certain acceptable range of intensity? Is that the price of a harmonious world?
But what made me wonder more was…who hurt that person who couldn’t even imagine that his small suggestion made someone happy? Who thought that when someone expressed excitement that it was not genuine?
Remember the first time you made friends? Must’ve been in the sandbox or in preschool. Back then it was all about playing together. Coloring, see-saws, and running around. Maybe some tiffs. And then back to playing. Nothing more, no ulterior motives, no calculations of how you must appear. So I wonder-at what point between then and several years of adulthood do we get to the point where it all goes to pot? Where when we meet someone new we start making assumptions about their intentions and approach all communication (verbal/non-verbal) with a healthy dose of cynicism?
And what does that do to us? Do we feel it chewing us inside? Or does it nibble away so stealthily that we don’t realize it until there’s a big gaping hole that we can no longer live without? Do we become like ‘Gollum’ from Lord of the Rings without even knowing it?
What if, just what if, we lived in a world where we expressed our true thoughts, feelings, and opinions freely, all the time. Where we were all able to communicate with each other the action and reaction these free expressions generated? And worked things through? For what we’ve become it’d probably feel brutal.
Is that what they call evolution? Pleasant dulled fakeness?