Monday, February 23, 2004

Denial: Friend or Foe? The truth or the lie?

Sex and the City. Samantha has cancer. Her three friends have only ever spent their lives buying fabulous clothes, strutting around New York, meeting for lunch, and having sexually-liberated affairs while they try to find the perfect men. The classical gay man's fantasy (did you see that rubbish play called Shopping and Fucking?)

Carrie 's boyfriend is played here by Mikhail Baryshnikov (ballet idol of gay men) with stereotypical Russian grittiness. He points out that Samantha COULD DIE. Carrie wants to believe that Samantha will not die, so they have a big fight. Luckily, Carrie isn't just the dizzy frizzy that she spends so much money on trying to look like. No, no, because she is a writer, which means she has a brain! She figures out that she's afraid to live outside a world of happy endings. And thus she writes for her column, "Denial: Friend or Foe?"

They say the truth hurts, but why does the truth trigger fear so easily in some? Why are some people so fragile, yet manage to exist "successfully" for long periods at a time?

There is no doubt about it, denial works; it's there, here, and everywhere. It is a powerful way of filtering fear. It's not the only way of handling fear, but it is the endemic method driving Western consumer society. There is a preferred way of coping with fear in every cultural society, which assists that population to become large and successful.

In this episode of Sex and the City, the clash is between the Russian way and the Noo Yawk way, The Russian way is to throw back some Vodka, stare at Fear between the eyes, then dance with Madness, until it slinks back into the darkness of the woods.
The Noo Yawk way? Well, you know it - smile, shop, laugh, coz it will never happen!

How social cultures deal with fear, is so vitally important to their survival, that religions evolve to bolster them. Whole civilizations rise and fall in human history with the help of the religions that galvanize their courage. Wars occur between them, as one society refuses to do it the way it's done by the other society. So even today, we have the war situation with Al Qaeeda, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.

"Denial: friend or foe?" is the same quandary as the choice between Hedonism and Asceticism. One society aspires to Hedonism, which depends on denial, while the other society adheres to Asceticism and pessimism. Neither is correct all the time, but neither will learn from each other.

Away from nations and civilizations and back to you, me and the Sun reader: Should you tell somebody the painful Truth or let them believe their happy Lie? Should you live a lie, or face the truth?

Well, there are those two options at least. And then there are the refinements and variations of each. And then there is a time and a place that is right for one , but not for the other. So why not become an expert, and teach it to the next guy.....

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