Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What lying does to you

Lies are a form of narrative, a story or a fantasy we tell people. It is often rooted in some sort of truth, or phenomena experienced but can either be taken out of context. Facts distorts into falsehood because it has been misappropriated to fit one's selfish interests.

People might tell a liar when confronted face-to-face, because lying to someone is uncomfortable and much more difficult than one might think. It's loaded with a sense of sheepishness, guilty conscience and plot-holes to get straight that it often takes less effort to just tell someone the truth and get it over and done with.

However, lying, like most things, can become a habit. It gets easier every time you do it, such that it is all paradoxically, becomes the only truth you see. It starts to frame how you see things - your neurons travel the pre-emptive pathways on how you place facts within a story that has become familar to you. So lies ultimately become a worldview, and in that worldview through time and space, situations become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The fable of the Emperor's New Clothes is about not getting fleeced, but also and more importantly about vanity and pride of the Emperor. In a sense, he allowed himself to be deceived because he has already deceived himself that it is extremely crucial to have clothing that is made of the finest material as an affirmation of his lordly status. We allow ourselves to be lied to, or take into lies because the first lie starts with the lies we tell ourselves. We need that $2,400 bag because it makes us look good. We don't interrogate assumptions enough, especially the assumptions that echo in our minds.

So all in all, lies do something very particular. They feed. Rather than substract from your being, they add, feed, seduce and nourish. Whether it is desire, pride or even glory, it seeks yo affirm what may not be. And it is potent because since they are based in facts that do exist, we make logical leaps and jump to conclusions. When we lie to others comfortably, we have to lie to ourselves, and to do that easily, is to take mental shortcuts or erase outliers.

It becomes easier to find cause and effect, to sweep all other factors under the carpet. Dangerously, it becomes easier to blame, to seek justifications for extreme actions. We tell ourselves it is okay. And after a few times, lies replace truth as discourses that most accept. Not all lies are purposeful, and this is not the same as scientific theory that has been debunked due to new evidence or research practices. I am referring to the lies we tell ourselves, the personal touchpoints we have regularly that suck us in.

Lies are a false cucoon, one that is as brittle as diamond. It only takes 1 child on the street to say, "but he is naked!" to shatter illusions into a thousand pieces and have us all running back vulnerable and exposed.

Have courage my friends.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

So you're stuck in a rut...

You sent some resumes, got through the door. Bought a reward for yourself with your first paycheck. You've started work. Hurray.

You go home after work day everyday, watch your Game of Thrones or Kdrama, chat with your friends. You maybe catch dinner with someone. Fall asleep.

Rinse and repeat.

Now what?

You've become what institutions envision you to be - a collared worker, productive and abundening.

Every once in a while, you head for a holiday, go to Universal Studios with your family or niece/nephew.

You return home, staring at the mundaneness of it all. Wondering if your life is resigned to this cogwork cycle.

Work can be exciting for some, not so much for others who feel that things are out of their hands most of the time. Agency, is the concoction that brews only in academic towers, the steam is what students inhale in lecture halls. The privileged, the non-caring, the ones who have it easier because life dealt them the right DNA and circumstances.

So suddenly you are 30, 35. You've worked so hard to be in middle management. The pay off doesn't seem as worthwhile as it was when you were 24 and decided that relationships were a distraction. You find your friends increasingly unable and unwilling to make time for brunch or soccer because "Little Jimmy" has playgroup on Saturdays. You go on an online dating spree, become increasingly critical of the guys who are of similar age - not earning enough, he is not "worldly" enough, he hasn't dated in 20 years!?

And you trudge on with a date holding the same fallible need to impress with their credit card or make up. At the same time, a little part of you dies inside. Yet pride prevents you from admitting that you've made a wrong choice. You're a manager now aren't you? Age is creeping up, and you know your younger colleagues are calling you that mean bitch/bastard who needs that stick out of his/her ass. Someone who just needs to get laid. Your male colleagues wonder if you're gay since they never hear you mention that you're meeting women.

And you did, it is not without a lack of trying - after all that is what the modern independent person is, isn't it? However you have too much self respect to render yourself at anyone's whim and fancy. You only want the best.

But the best are taken with the mundaneness of life you have grown so much to despise and yet also desire. That stability and burden of a family doesn't seem as "traditional". Maybe tradition endures not for its own sake, maybe your pride didn't let you see through your own naïveté at 24.

Eventually you resign, and quietly admit that you missed out. Life goes on, you settle for your games and Kdrama with the cuccoon of solitude keeping you chilled in this hot tropical weather.

Time is an investment, an instrument that does not return once capital has been invested. It is the riskiest, as well as the most precious commodity that most people take for granted. Until something happens, oft too late, will we fully grasp the sands of time.

Would you choose this unspeakable burden of two little feet, or the unimaginable endlessness of forever weightlessly floating through the city at night.

What legacy do you want in the end? What lives on what you have passed. Are you a guest of this earth, to come by and have passed, to never evoke memory ever again?

People often misunderstand that career and personal life are incompatible - especially women. Even increasingly men.  We must have "enough" before we are "ready" to love and be loved. To settle down, to marry, to have kids. I strongly disagree. People are not complete, nor should they be. We are all growing and evolving, we are always work-in-progress. We are dependent on time and space, and the people that bump in snd out of our lives. We are the baggage we carry and the tears we shed. I want to grow old with someone, not start a business with him (or her).

While we can be married to our work at key points in time, it is equally important to return. To return to what matters most - to the people who care very much about it. Finding someone to spend time with is not so much as "lacking time" but a shift of perspective. In Singapore, we are often chastised for being unfocussed - students are conditioned towards a singular goal (the national exam) and if that goal is achieved, it all pays off.

Later people transfer that conditioning onto their careers. However as we grow older, we forget that we have agency to change some of the chains that bind us.

So life doesn't entirely make it incompatible, it's about what we're willing to sacrifice for what we want and the courage to admit our heart-felt desires. Family or no family, most importantly we need to be at peace for the choices we make.