This week I was asked to do a self-evaluation. I did. It was flattering. Or, at least, that was my intent. Would anyone intentionally portray themselves in a less than flattering light? Does anyone aspire to be thought a moron? I would think not, yet I am consistently aware of incidents of unflattering behavior and seemingly self-inflicted debasement. These socially unaware antics are helping to shape an American culture in which undignified narcissism has moved beyond a socially acceptable norm; it is now expected and, in many circles, it is required. This observation forces me to consider the possibility that I may simply be unaware of my own behavior and the message it sends. How can I not be influenced by social expectations? How can I be confident that my behavior is truthfully reflective of my stated belief that no one individual is any more nor any less necessary than any other single individual? If an equitable injustice is enacted upon me and one other (unknown to me) individual, how am I more deserving of justice? Yet today, I am expected to fight for MY rights, and "to hell" with the other person. If an airline makes a mistake, for example by allowing two individuals to reserve the same seat, there is nothing else but for one to receive justice and one to be force fed injustice; yet each one instinctively cries out, "that injustice had best not be flung upon me!"
I should reconfigure my very first sentence above to the following: "This week I was privileged to be asked and privileged to do a self-evaluation." In my lifetime I have frequently been privileged to cry out against personal injustice, and, on occasion, to speak for myself. All things considered, it is fair to say, I am overprivileged. I believe one's personal voice is a gift, not to be taken for granted. To be able to use one's personal voice, is a privilege. Many have either forgotten or never learned to 'effectively' use their personal voice. And many who are able to effectively use their personal voice, do not do so for the benefit of Humanity.
We have now added "overprivileged" to "undignified narcissism." In this context, I believe all undignified narcissism is related to being overprivileged; yet I do not believe that being overprivileged must necessarily result in undignified narcissism.
Regardless, each time one uses their personal voice for self-promotion, even when asked, it will, (to some degree), be unflattering.
To use one's personal voice in order to avoid a perceived injustice that if avoided will be as unjustly passed to another, (i.e. equitable injustice), is self-promotion.
To effectively use one's personal voice to diminish perceived injustice suffered by a larger portion, or the whole, of Humanity, may or may not be self-promotion, because the perceived injustice may or may not be an inequitable injustice. Remember, if it is an equitable injustice avoided by one group, it will merely be passed on to another group; and the fact that I am a part of the first group does not justify this transfer of injustice. So in the case of equitable injustice, despite the reality of a larger portion of Humanity, to speak out remains self-promotion. And in the case of inequitable injustice, because of the reality of a larger portion of Humanity, to speak out should be a selfless and sincere privilege.
And in the case of acknowledged privilege, when considering the whole of Humanity, I need to consider the WHOLE of Humanity, which necessarily includes the productive survival of future generations in perpetuity.
With that said, how can I know that anything I do, in this moment, will be beneficial to the WHOLE of Humanity?
I believe to answer this question, we must follow the logic and conclude that at first glance all injustice is potentially equitable injustice and will be passed on; which in turn should compel constant reassessment, ensuring consideration of the WHOLE of Humanity.
And, by doing so, I should become more adept at identifying self-promotion and only use my personal voice when I believe it has potential to benefit the WHOLE of Humanity. Simple. Right?
I should not use my personal voice to fight personally equitable injustice, (such as an airline double-booking a specific seat); nor should I fall prey to a divisive groupthink and fight an equitably prejudicial injustice which in actuality is practiced as an inequitable justice; nor should I presume to use my personal voice to speak for others---period. With that said, I can and/or, (because I am Human), I will use the privilege of my personal voice to briefly vent, to question and choose, and (if anyone asks), to speak for myself as myself or as a validated member of a specific group. And with all that said, I should also understand that I am not a validated member of future generations.
This week I was privileged to be asked and privileged to do a self-evaluation. After submitting it yesterday, I have taken an additional look and I realize that in my first sentence, which serves as a foundation for all that follows, I made an assumption which I believe to be accurate; but if it is not accurate or if it is considered inaccurate by the powers-that-be, the entire document becomes presumptuous and leaves open an interpretation of undignified narcissism. If, on the other hand, my assumption is accurate, there still remains a possible impression of a condescending disquisition; (much like this sentence). By engaging in self-promotion, the privilege to use my personal voice has become unflattering, partially because it has been interpreted as unflattering, even if the sincere intent was to benefit a portion of Humanity.
So perhaps the spectrum of perceived behaviors ranging from simple impertinence to moronic self-indulgence should be given some benefit of doubt. Perhaps intent is sincere; simply misguided. Or perhaps intent is duplicitous and misguided. And perhaps there is a way to rate an individual somewhere between 100% sincere and 100% duplicitous. Of course this scale would prompt an additional scale measuring from 100% effective to 100% ineffective. And in turn, this scale would call for a third scale to measure from 100% beneficial to zero benefit to100% harmful. And I believe in no case, on no spectrum, will anyone reach 100%. Even in ineffectiveness or harm, there will be beneficial lessons to be learned. And additionally, I believe that the Benefit/Harm scale can ONLY be accurately measured within the context of the WHOLE of Humanity including future generations in perpetuity. And finally, I believe that the Effective/Ineffective scale can only be measured in hindsight, at some unknown point beyond the behavior. And really-for-sure finally, I believe that the Sincerity/Duplicitous scale would involve far too much subjectivity and disparity to settle on exactly how one's behavior is misguided, because all Human behavior is, (as previously stated), misguided. And this-time-I-promise finally, we could add to the complexity by suggesting a Gullibility/Skepticism scale to measure those that perceive the behavior. O' what a tangled web...
But within all of these tangles, perhaps the least difficult to unravel is Sincerity vs. Duplicity. Yet even on this spectrum we will run into difficulty defining objectivity. For example, scientifically unexplained gaps allow for multiple fill-in-the-blank pseudo-sciences to live on or emerge, unsupported by provable realities. Additionally, differences of opinion regarding large scale Truths (such as Goodness, Justice, Happiness...) will forever create (at times, volatile) confusion in our efforts to separate objectivity from subjectivity. In light of these and other considerations then, how do we establish one's sincerity or duplicity? If an individual sincerely believes that murder rates are increasing, despite all the factual evidence at hand, is that individual less of a moron than if they were intentionally misleading specific masses of gullible morons for purposes of self-promotion? I recently heard this very claim from a center of power, (paraphrased): the untruth he told is not a lie, because he really believes it to be true.
So to unravel Sincerity vs. Duplicity, we must first agree on a certain level of reality-responsibility. And to define reality-responsibility, we must first identify the experts, and then rely on and trust in them to provide an accurate portrayal of reality. I have touched on this before: just because you can "Google" brain surgery does not make you a brain surgeon. I believe that if one does not rely on experts and/or goes against their expert reality, then that individual is duplicitous and potentially dangerous. A sincere belief does not excuse ignorance. A portion of the definition for duplicity is to speak or act in two different ways. In the face of statistical fact and/or an expert reality, for one to be both wrong and sincere is duplicitous. One cannot simply believe an untruth to make it true. Yet, that is exactly what appears to be happening. By using the privilege of personal voice in the interest of self-promotion, we have carved out a significant portion of the American population, (perhaps a majority), who are firmly convinced that untruths are true. We have created a significant lack of reality-responsibility. And without some accountability for individual reality-responsibility, we have heightened and intensified powers of persuasion; and in some hands, this is dangerous.
When I was initially privileged to be asked, and privileged to do, a self-evaluation, I had hopes to influence and persuade. And if we are in agreement as to the thrust of my argument, I believe there is potential for my personal voice to benefit a portion of Humanity. And if we disagree, power will win out and I may never know if my assumption was accurate or inaccurate, unless I am willing and able to be proven wrong by a grounded reality-responsibility; in which case I will learn. But if (in this instance and others), I am consistently dismissed and ignored, by ungrounded powers-that-be, with no proffer of reality-responsibility, what will I learn?