Nothing is honest anymore.
The tweets we send to the world. The reason we buy that kale smoothie. The smile we cast towards our friend when their cat is sick and they can’t go on holiday with us anymore.
I say ‘anymore’, I don’t think there was ever a time when we did things in the truest way. With our complex array of emotions, I don’t think we could. How would we live with ourselves?
But right this minute, with Instagram, and juice diets and Apple watches and acronymic trends that don’t affect people as much as we like to think, we’re the least honest we’ve ever been.
It’s not our fault. I imagine our brains have wires and triggers and pathways that converge and break and collide and do things based on what we’ve been told about the world around us. Take FOMO (fear of missing out). Its existence as both an acronym and a trend came from a scientific study that found that certain interesting things go on in our brains when we think about missing out on something. Those certain things, manifested as feelings to us, are born out of irrationality (and in a way, dishonesty). FOMO essentially means we have ulterior motives to go to a drinks gathering that we wouldn’t have said yes to before. This alone is dishonest.
Before FOMO was a ‘thing’, people wouldn’t even think about what their decision to go to three events in one night meant about them. Now, people like to diagnose themselves because here is this thing, talked about and real and look, it kind of makes sense when I apply it to my own life, like picking the parts that ring true in that month’s star sign. Dishonesty, again. We choose that over just what is, a part of us that exists (not necessarily negatively) and doesn’t need to be labelled or justified.
On the surface, we go to the extortionately-priced yoga class because we want to try something new. But underneath, there are various different wheels turning the machine. It’s the latest trend / if it’s expensive it must be the best thing / I want to be able to tell my friends that I’ve been too / it’s going to make me look like a Victoria’s Secret supermodel / I’ll feel better about eating those four chocolate biscuits yesterday.
This type of dishonesty doesn’t make us bad people. In fact, it’s barely in our control. To a certain extent, we’re just products of the culture we now live in, our decisions just results of everything whirring around us, giving us very little choice, very few attempts to get out. This new culture is part of us. We know this, though. We regularly lament the days before smartphones, when a date wouldn’t bail ten minutes before simply because they couldn’t. It was either meet or be stood up. It was what it was. Now it’s texts and excuses and carefully crafted texts.
Nothing is honest anymore.