There are actually people in this world who only pretend to be nice, only pretend to be mild, only pretend to be timid...in fact, they are cowardly, but that's another matter for another time. No, these people are actually looked upon as brilliant in today's society, geniuses of strategy, "natural" politicians. But it all boils down to this:
Is a murder anything less than a murder if the murderer does it with a smile and a compliment? "Et tu, Brute?" ringing any bells....
Only a fictional personification of an omnipotent being could help you if you happen to not buy in to the surface story of one of the people I describe above. It's like everyone has on rose-colored glasses when it comes to such individuals...and if you aren't drinking the Kool-aid like everyone else, the witch hunt begins.
I used to use clips from The Crucible in class. At the time, we were studying 19th-century American literature, and though Arthur Miller's play about the Salem witch trials was written in the 20th-century as commentary on the rampant McCarthyism of the time, the portrayal of what life was like in the 19th-century was rather good in the film--small communities of good people, hard-working people, who were taught to follow, not lead--in fact, any kind of independent thought was thought to be the work of the devil...well, that, and, if you happened to have a vagina. Gasp! Did she just say...? Yes, v-a-g-i-n-a. Try not to have a heart attack.
After we'd read some Hawthorne, maybe a little Emerson, Thoreau, and Melville, we'd watch a clip from the film and a lively discussion always ensued. Do you know why? Because the students saw that hypocrisy wasn't unique to 150 years ago, or even 60 years ago--it transcended time, space, culture, geography...and apparently, evolution. Shakespeare is still relevant today because "tragical mirth" is still alive and well. People are still pretending...most people, in fact. And pretending isn't a bad thing. I love pretending--stories, fiction--have been the focus of my life. But when I look someone in the eye and call them "friend," I'm not pretending. When I give a guarantee to more than 3,000 students, I mean it. When I refuse to lie or cheat when offered professional advancement, I let people know my integrity is not for sale. You see, I'm straightforward. And corporate evolution is weeding people like me out. We're becoming extinct...and personal integrity, honesty, and ethics, aren't far behind.
What that means to you, dear reader, is that when you are in a work environment, though you may think you're surrounded by friends and colleagues, you're not. It's more likely you're in a den of wolves...maybe thieves is a better word. Yes, thieves, because even wolves don't feast on the flesh of their own pack.
Do you know why vampires and zombies are so hot in our popular culture right now? It's not because we want to be empowered or are searching for immortality...no. It's because we are searching for JUSTIFICATION for the desire to cannabalize the people around us. How can eating her flesh give me more power? How can dining on his blood make me stronger? You think I'm being dramatic, over-exaggerating? Then you really are in trouble.
Like I said, there's nothing zen about it. This is a caveat...a calling out, if you will. You see, I was cut down before my time, yet I'm still here. I still have a voice. Ghosts can move objects, make sounds, even shake whole houses. I may be dead, but I'm not gone. You can't exorcise me either. It's kind of scary, actually. For my murderers. They say ghosts never sleep...and I don't.
So beware, be careful, but most of all, be true to yourself...and others. All it would have taken to have stopped the cannibals from eating me alive would have been ONE other person like me, just ONE. YOU could be that ONE for someone else. YOU could make a difference. YOU could start the evolution. And yes, YOU can do it...I believe in YOU. Even if I don't know you, and you don't know me--I do know one thing: The Human Heart. And one beats in you. You CAN do this.
So go ahead, do it.