The Fine Art of Pretence- IV


It is a better compliment to be trusted than to be loved. I read that from John C. Maxwell, and ever since Ive wondered what makes trust such a scarce commodity even in places where love is superabundant.

Now, it seems quite ironical that trust should be central to such a concept as pretence because the two seem to harbour mutual animosity. Im sure, however, that even you reading this would, at one time or the other, have dealt in pretence, prevarication, or  even outright lying to someone just cause you knew they trusted you enough to hang on to your every word. Thus, I dont need to remind you that the trust they had in you was the very reason you got away with that act. 

Right, weve established a connection, so lets begin to cut a little deeper. Ill start by telling you something about myself. Basically, Im a lawbreaker; a lawbreaker in the sense that I learn the rules of my environment just for the purpose of knowing how best to break them and recreate them to suit my preference.

I have this pet aversion for rules because they are, by their very nature, made to be restrictive. But Im of the opinion that rules are made to restore confidence and trust. Have you ever heard that Justice must not only be done, but must also seem to be done? Well, it tells you that justice is essentially a psychological feeling. Forget all the idealistic talk of conscience: most people dont listen to the conscience when theyre determined to do something.

If you reason things out, you discover that rules are set to establish standards upon which justice should be premised. There really is no justice without laid-down rules. Thus, if youre able to pretend to keep the rules, then justice is on your side for as long as it takes to deliver the blow you have been preparing.

Now you see why they say that everything is fair in love and war. In conditions of perfect love or perfect war, the rules mean nothing because no one really gives a damn. Rules are made to be broken; that is a standard fact. Else, why is man so bent on defying every law of nature? Take gravity, for example. Man has been on the go trying to make nonsense of gravity. Aerial vehicles were made and are still being made for this purpose. People travel by air with brazen abandon, secure in the power of the aeroplane, helicopter or jet to shut gravity up for as long as they want. Tell them to try letting an eagle take them so far high.

Dont forget where were coming from. Were saying that trust is essential for pretence to work, and that trust works best where rules are absent or not enforced. We are saying that the necessity of restoring trust, for which rules are made in the first place, is the selfsame reason why those rules must be broken. I dont guard myself when talking with my friend cause I know they cant shoot me, but with a stranger or enemy Im on my guard because the rules for safety and security ensure that I should not give myself away. Remember this: Trust is absolute where rules are unnecessary.

Let me tell you a story from my childhood days. We used to have a house-help who was roundly maltreated by my parents, especially my mum. She thus resorted to self-help: she  would steal from them, lie, and also have illicit dealings with men. One day, she persuaded me to take her into my parents room (it was usually locked, but on this occasion it wasnt) to get something. It was my elder sister who gave us away, and I knew two things for sure. One, being labelled an accomplice to a thief would earn me many strokes of cane. Two, my parents would believe anything I said. (That was then, not now; growing up makes you more crooked.)

What did you go to do there? was my mothers inquisition. I was trying to check my weight on the scales, came the equally swift reply from me, with all the confidence I could muster. Now catch the gist. I dont exactly remember what we took out of that room, but I do know that it had to have been incriminating. My best move was to put up as big a show of confidence and truthfulness as they had always thought of me. Instead of answering the question of what I had gone in there to do, I replied with something else which I also did and kept back my mission.

You know why that incident trips me? I could not have been more than six or seven years old at the time, but I was already learning to bend my way around the rules and regulations of the house by taking advantage of my parents trust. (Kids, dont try this at home!)

As I am writing this chapter something else has just happened that I wish to share with you. Dad and I had discussed plans to give me the key to the penthouse so I could get some items downstairs. True enough, I got the key, retrieved the items, and delivered his key back to him. 

The knot here is…

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