Putting on your best face – or not

Dianne St. Jean
Putting on your best face – or not

You know when you have one of those days or weeks in your life when a certain ‘theme’ seems to keep popping up around you?

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on hypocrisy. I couldn’t help it.

I come across an article that says Kinder Morgan pipeline protesting Vancouver (Airport Authority) is actually planning to build their own pipeline that will be used to import jet fuel from Asia.

And speaking of pipeline protesters – flip on the news to see a group of them trying to block off a road, with their nice, big half-ton trucks parked beside where they’re camped out.

Then just this week, there’s Eric Schneiderman – someone who vehemently condemned the despicable acts of Harvey Weinstein and who, it turns out, was just as bad. And what about all those others in Hollywood and Washington, who knew about the behaviour of these men, but kept quiet to protect either their careers or politics?

I love studying word origins, so guess what I did? Yep.

I did the modern version of ‘taking out the dictionary’ and googled the word ‘hypocrite’ and ‘hypocrisy’.

‘Hypocrite’ – from the Greek ‘hypokrites’, ‘an actor’.

‘Hypocrisy’ – from ’hypokrisis’ – ‘jealous’, ‘play-acting’, ‘acting out’, ‘coward’,  ‘dissembling’.

Origin - from ‘hypo’, ‘under’, and ‘krinein’, ‘to sift or decide’.

I was somewhat surprised to find the word ‘coward’ in the definitions, and ‘dissembling’. But of course, thinking on it, cowards like to hide or pretend. They don’t want others to see who they really are. Those are usually the type of people who look good on the outside to everyone, but are sneaky and deceiving in reality. The other definition that I did not expect was the word ‘dissembling’, the opposite of ‘assembling’. To assemble means to put or come together, co-operate, build up. A hypocrite’s actions result in the opposite – they cause division and strife and tear down, especially so that their own fake image doesn’t get found out.

Obviously there has always been and always will be hypocrites and hypocrisy. Yet it appears to me that in this present age it’s almost becoming plague-like. It’s everywhere. Not just the two-(or more)-faced-ness, but the extreme reactions and anger when someone either exposes or disagrees with them.

A quote by Jess C. Scott says, “Hypocrites get offended by the truth”. That almost appears to be an understatement these days. Never mind getting offended, try fire-spitting, temper-tantrum angry.

One of the most overlooked aspects of hypocrisy, then, is found in the following quote: “Don’t you love it when you treat someone the way they treat you and they get mad about it?”

So what does that mean – we all have to be perfect in case we disagree with someone, or they’ll point out our faults? Hell no! That’s what hypocrites do – put on an image of perfection just so they can point out someone’s faults.

It’s not about putting a good face forward, it’s about respectfully owning the truth.