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The Burgeoning Self Deception Industry

I am part of the burgeoning self deception industry. You probably are, too, either as a purveyor, a (probably enthusiastic) consumer, or, most probably, both. This market segment has enjoyed huge, unprecedented growth over recent decades, yet the top of its market remains beyond anyone’s ability to see, a bubble seemingly incapable of bursting.

Self-helplessness accounts for most of the activity within this industry. Usually self-deceptively labeled Self Help, this lion’s share of the industry involves all efforts focused upon telling others what they really should want, think, feel, like, or believe, typically under the guise of informing. The trouble lies in the arrogant contradiction of anyone actually knowing what another should want, think, feel, like, or believe, and in the paradox that telling another has any real influence over what they actually want, think, feel, like, or believe; that simply commanding or suggesting might somehow induce sincere wanting, thinking, feeling, liking, or believing.

Sure, skilled suggesting can certainly induce a sense of each of these sensations. Clever advertising could make a stone salivate, just as if it were wanting, or thinking, or feeling, or liking, or even sincerely believing, but not without a hefty slathering of self deception involved. Certainly, nobody need possess the barest ounce of self awareness to swallow any rubber worm, but neither that reflexive response nor the resulting tussle should be be mistaken as conclusive evidence of wanting, thinking, feeling, liking, or believing. It was rather simply stimulus-induced response.

I suppose mass production has encouraged this seemingly necessary mass marketing of emotional response. We need massive responses, or sincerely believe we do. Real underperformance risks lurk within simply informing without at least trying to widely influence emotional response, so we describe in superlatives and promise at least moonlight if not the whole moon, even though we all know it’s likely to be cloudy about half the time. We all know it’s likely to be cloudy and still welcome the pleasing prospect of uninterrupted moonlight. To do this, I, as the purveyor, and you as the consumer, must actively engage in self deception, hence this burgeoning industry.

A key difficulty lies in the real impossibility of knowing just what you want, think, feel, like, or believe without first wallowing through a fair amount of inconveniencing reflexion, without first achieving some strong sense of who we might be; without first constructing some personal sense of identity. Fortunately, the burgeoning self deception industry allows many of us to simply sidestep this effort. We can conveniently hitch our ride on any passing bright/shiny to produce much of what might pass as genuine wanting, thinking, feeling, liking, or believing. Like we should have learned in junior high school, popularity seems to resolve 90% of the human condition.

Anyone with half a heart can quite comfortably extend their adolescence into old age, given a decent cable package and a lead palate. Higher education, which in prior ages instilled a skepticism toward certainly, has thankfully shifted its core mission now, to indoctrinate individuals into one or another cult-like profession which clearly insist upon quite specific wants, thoughts, feelings, likes, and beliefs as preconditions for entry. To be denied entry appears to deny life itself, so the education process coerces certain sanctioned desires and ideas, feelings and preferences, even beliefs. One rarely finds a business skeptic earning an MBA. Only ‘true’ believers, or ones sincerely aspiring to adopt the necessary beliefs, need apply.

... to be continued ...

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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