It is a damp, cold, spring morning. The pigeons are still bravely cooing despite the rain, and I find my mind contemplating the flotsam and jetsam bobbing, shuffling, jostling and heaving in the social seas. People with verbal diarrhoea. People who spew words willy nilly. People who speak the truth. People who cannot tell the difference between truth and lies. Gullible people who seem really smart. And savvy people in cleverly woven cloaks of false innocence. And, of course, the social measurements attached.
Ah, words, words, words… noisome babble and serious whatnots. I have been called a wordsmith – whatever that may be? – but I personally do not really like the activity of ‘wording.’ The more I become reunited with my intrinsic Beingness, the more I am aware how much I stumble, trip, and even hurt myself, upon the fraught pathways of verbal communication. It is one thing being able to craft a riveting word-painting on a canvas, but the spontaneous response to the words of other people in a social setting is another thing altogether. For people like me, the latter is like walking through a minefield.
Insincerity is prized above honesty. Where verbality is concerned, those whose utterances are (at best) nothing but vomitus issuing forth from an overabundance of callousness are often merely called “fluffy,” as if they were cute cuddly toys. How utterly perplexing, to me, that society excuses with a shrug the ones whose words are unreliable, the ones who lie through their cosmetically enhanced teeth, whose botoxed eyes look down upon the less fortunate, whose ‘jokes’ are nothing but vicious insults wrapped in shiny paper… While people who speak truthful words, whose pronouncements are a matter of serious honour, and whose determined pursuit of integrity are labelled as “brutal”, “blunt”, and “grating.”
Even the measurement of social ability is founded upon mendacity. The underlying tenets of the Theory of Mind test is the ability to identify and react to deceit. Those who are unable to do so quickly (i.e. within the allotted timeframe of the experiment and without any guidance or prompting) are deemed “impaired.”
Lack of guile – the honest mind – is thus considered an impediment.
Vapid artifice is more tolerated, and at times even valued, above unembellished veracity.
It has taken me a lifetime to learn and practice the art of deceit, and still I get it wrong. I think it is time that stop feeling guilty for my social ‘ineptness’. I no longer wish to apologise for my candour and dogged pursuit of integrity. A simple bottom line, but so mired in social murkiness: if people cannot value sincerity and they want “nice,” then please look elsewhere. I am not nice – I give up trying to be, it’s just not in my talent-set. But I prefer to strive to be proficient at practical, no-nonsense decency. And I do think I can just about manage the latter.
So, what does this seemingly random (but it isn’t at all) ramble about words have to do with pigeons? Well, words, of course. A neighbour who prizes herself as a socially ‘correct’ person once remarked about another neighbour (who was not present at the meaningless social occasion), “I do wish he would not feed those pigeons, it’s just so horrible, the mess they make.” Personally, I much prefer the old eccentric who feeds the pigeons, despite the over abundance of pigeon poop around the small area as a consequence. Why? It brings him joy. It does not hurt anyone. And the sound of pigeons coo-cooing is so much more comfortable and even clement to my senses than the fatuous, spiteful, disparaging prattle of the so-called ‘socially correct’ holy-huddle.