Thursday, March 7, 2013

I really, really mean this

We go through our daily lives and notice how everything that we aren't involved in and especially everything younger than we are is horrible and signals the end of civilization. OK, I go through life that way. But I see others do so also. Every couple of days there is a picture on Facebook, or an angry letter to an editor which bemoans the state of the world and points to some new development as conclusive evidence that we are all doomed and we might as well jump off into space and dive headlong into the sun.

So I'd like to add to the litany of proofs, because in addition to the standard bits of evidence which I see on a daily basis, I spotted a new one.

Our current younger generation lacks a skill which allows for the survival of our species. They cannot fake sincerity.

I don't think that they understand how important this skill is. To be able to look someone in the eye and make that person feel as if you mean what you say or care about something. Without that, no one will ever pretend to listen, no one will ever either be able to convince another person that his views matter or convince others that he has any views which are worth listening to. Sarcasm, the lifeblood of our people relies on someone's having that moment of wondering "is he serious?" And if you can't fake the edge of sincerity, no one will ever experience that second of doubt.

We need fake sincerity. Our politics demand it, our relationships demand it, and our very survival on this planet often depends on our ability to make others think something is the case without actually lying about it. The animal kingdom has mastered this (you think your dog likes you? Only because you feed him -- I learned that from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown -- The Doctor is In). Even Siri sounds like she cares but, in truth, looks down on all of you because you don't seem to know anything on your own.

It is essential that we alter curriculum and increase awareness of this vital skill. Parenting classes need to remind moms and dads-to-be that they need to model that veneer of caring and encourage their children to modulate tone and effect a sweet facade. So practice making eye contact, and using phatic language. This is really important, people.


  1. "Always be sincere, whether you mean it or not."
    Harry S Truman


Feel free to comment and understand that no matter what you type, I still think you are a robot.