Living with hypocrisy
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word 'hypocrite' as 'A person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings'. The word seems to hold within it such overbearing Catholic type guilt-driven condescension. A 'you're either with us or you're not' sort of attitude. Considering myself a person with a reasonably good moral compass I still to date quite dislike the grandiose attitude of the word.
Using it as a point of reference, I find that my life has been made up of one act of hypocrisy after the other. Quite the opinionated brat during my university years I had gone as far as writing a thesis based on the evils of the advertising world and how humanity is being brainwashed into a zombie state. Studying fashion at the time, I remember arguing with my then photographer flatmate about what I had considered being the most evil of them all. Benetton. In the late nineties, London and everywhere else in the world for that matter was plastered with billboards created to sell pink and blue and yellow t-shirts. The campaign was the birthchild of Olivero Toscani that depicted patients with AIDS on their death beds. It seemed such horrific exploitation of human vulnerability to me. Such a despicable show of capitalistic pompousness. A year later I was working in the very place those campaigns were produced. That period set in motion for me a series of life choices all contradictory to those stated in my thesis. I spent a good part of ten years not only in advertising but with real passion and ambition set to conquer the world. Of course, not having the stomach one needs for such endeavours, the industry chewed me up and spat me out. I left kicking and screaming and I vowed never to return. With my head bowed I promised to live a life of consistency and moral purity. I surrounded myself with people that began sentences with 'I stand for', 'I will never' and 'I believe in'. I declared myself an artist and made decisions based on my new-found ethical code. A humble existence of self-loathing and guilt. Shackled by my un-hypocritical life.
Thing is, life is not so black and white. What this newly invented moral code of ethics did for me was lock me up in a cage of my own making. Where every life decision I made had to be approved by an imaginary list of do's and don'ts which only served to limit my experience. What I came to find once I released myself from this kind of limiting thought process was that it's ok to be a hypocrite. In fact, I have come to revel in the thought. To be a hypocrite means I get to live my life as it comes to me. It has made me realise that there is nothing much I can control and that this ever so serious thing will like to call life is actually just a game of chances. That the word hypocrite is not to be given to me by me but by others and to live a life caring about what others think of me is the smallest cage of them all.
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