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"If I deceive myself, and I do, how inhuman would it be to exclude you from my grand Deception?"

I consider myself a fundamentally honest person, perhaps because my many false pretenses have migrated into spaces I rarely ever think about anymore. I doubt that even I know the truth about myself now, if I ever did. I question what utility complete authenticity might buy me. I am not quite what I appear to be. Confessing just how deceptive my appearances might be seems to offer little utility for anyone. I'm not sitting on a murder most foul, committed in passionate insanity, but where should I draw the line? As a somewhat public persona, I studied the arts of clever projection. I understand that appearances matter and that people tend to judge harshly when their unconscious expectations get disappointed. For appearances' sake, I deceive, and quite deliberately.

Some forms of cluelessness seem absolutely benign, unlikely to wound anyone involved.
Aside from all the moral tales pre-chastising any child considering withholding too much truth, everyone does it. Some of my notoriety probably stems from misconceptions. Someone saw my book, presumed me to probably be, since I am an author after all, an expert, and so read the book, liked it, and thereby confirmed that I am the expert they mistook me for. Through a largely inadvertent, perhaps instinctive, ploy, the deception was both cast and reinforced. Much of the ploy involved small lies of omission. While I never asserted the positive, I never really tried to dissuade any negative. I never said I was faking it, though I felt the weight of my many omissions building over time.

I suspect that we're all like that. Even the legitimate press loves to publish the shocking expose. Readers wonder how they could have been so blind before, never suspecting that good old so-and-so concealed such a secret other life. That life need not be criminal or immoral or anything inherently humiliating, merely secret, private, protected by well-defended Deception over time. The cost of the eventual unmasking might well have seemed worth the effort for all involved. The love they felt was no less true before they found out the truth. Nobody was wounded in the making of this film except by their own hand.

I think of relationships as those special associations dedicated to sticking around while peeling back layers. Some friendships, even some marriages, eventually fail the serial dedication testing, some by abandoning the annoying peeling back, others by simply fleeing in some other direction. Both of my ex-wives could doubtless testify about both conditions. When might a relationship finally unpeel that final last layer? I think 'never' might approximate the only reasonable answer. However much personal development one might engage in, however many couples weekends a pair might endure, nobody ever reaches the bottom (or is it the top?). This conclusion sort of insists that the accumulated deceptions, both private and public, amount to bottomless vessels. The object of peeling back could not, therefore, possibly be any finite 'getting to the point of not peeling back anymore'. One finds pleasure in peeling back or one leaves disappointed.

I might be clueless because I somewhat intend everyone around me to be. I won't tell the whole truth and nothing but, and not only because I can't reliably tell the difference anymore. Deep down I'm a hypocrite. I recognize and accept this as an integral part of being human. I figure I'm protecting you (and myself) about as much as I'm deceiving you (and me). This dance might not satisfy anyone's criteria for best, but it seems to be the best that I can muster. I conclude that I might hold even this disclosure lightly, more generously than derisively, for it is not evidence of my inhumanity, but the opposite of that. If I deceive myself, and I do, how inhuman would it be to exclude you from my grand Deception?

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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