France just won the (soccer, for the Americans) World Cup with what was unanimously seen afterwards as a cheat move. That cheat opened the score, and began the downward spiral of the opposing team’s morale that lead to their defeat.
I looked around Twitter to see if I was the only one to feel just a little disgusted by the move and I came across one recurring opinion: the dive (the player fakes being tripped-up in order to fool the referee into calling a foul) was a strategic move. Several spectators had the opinion that this is exactly why the players take a dive, and why it works.
Cheating works, often
When you’re not caught there’s no denying that cheating, and lying in order to cheat, works. You just have to read the newspapers to see any article about Donald Trump to see that he’s a lying, cheating, megalomaniacal scoundrel, and he became president. Since it works, then it makes sense that there may be people who think it a viable strategy. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the things that get done in this world happen through cheating and stealing, conniving and bullshit. There are so many lies buzzing around our heads it can be difficult to see straight.
The universe, this reality, ‘allows’ all of that. It allows good, honest deeds, just as readily as it does devious or despicable ones. Unfortunately, many people are aware of this and they will exploit the system – cheat – and do everything they can… until they are caught. They’re only ‘caught’ by the majority opposition who deem what they’re doing ‘wrong’ and disallow it. A planet far away and across the galaxy might have a population whose inhabitants not only condone but encourage sexual relationships with their minors (if they even have a limit age they call ‘minor’) and therefore paedophilia wouldn’t be ‘bad’ to them. The universe allows this. There may be another planet on which theft is the standard market practice (I hear you grumble that it already is on our planet).
Freedom and Responsibility
Knowing that all these things can happen reveals that we are well-and-truly free, but with that freedom comes the heavy burden of responsibility – for our own actions, and our actions involving our fellow planetary inhabitants. We have the responsibility to be prepared for such eventualities (the ol’ “God helps those who help themselves” adage with the latter part often forgotten or misunderstood by its most fervent proselytizers) meaning we must secure ourselves from being cheated or generally treated unjustly. “Don’t tempt the devil” is another saying which comes to mind in this context. The other thing is to hone your critical thinking skills and to keep a bullshit meter on you at all times. Trust yourself and stick to your convictions only after you’ve carefully considered which opinion you want to adopt. It is no easy feat, and you have my deepest sympathies. In that, you must also be ready to drop old beliefs in the light of reasonable evidence. That too can be scary, but there is no dishonour in changing your mind.
There’s a quote from Bob Dylan that struck me hard the other day:
I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.
Truth and Trust
That lying and cheating is so rampant, truth and trust becomes a very precious commodity. Without trust, we begin to seize-up and become paralysed by indecision since we don’t know whom to trust, or which way to steer that might be the best or truthful way. We need to trust in order to act.
The energy one expends in maintaining a lie is enormous. It’s a costly practice and if you want to consider it a strategy, then keep that in mind. Sometimes you do need to trick someone into doing something (how else can you truly surprise them for their surprise party other than lying, concealing or feigning that it’s just a normal day?). But it is costly in your own energy and focus – the time and attention required to maintain it, to keep the story coherent. Choose wisely when to lie and when to tell the truth. Most lies, most of the cheating is wasted energy – energy that you could have spent focusing on other things. Take a couple for example, and one partner told a fib that has been kept alive and maintained for years. That person has to keep the lie in mind for almost every activity. They have to remain vigilant of every time the conversation steers toward the lie, so that they can prepare their response or deflect. If that partner had told the truth, then all that time and attention could be spent on other things – lesser or greater – but better things; like sweet attentions made to their significant other – or planning or preparing a special event – or even doing those chores that have been piling up in their mind for the last few weeks.
Unfortunately I haven’t got an easy solution, but as the saying (paraphrased) goes “there is what is right and what is easy, and they are very rarely the same thing”. And that makes me think of another motivational poster:
Best of luck to you.