Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Yesterday I really was out of everything...just sat on the couch and could not move the whole day. Oh well, at least I got to read and finished "The Corrections". For the longest time I was not sure whether to like it or not but decided I did in the end. What I did not like was that every other paragraph I had this vision about the author sitting there, thinking about the great book he was going to know what I mean? Just a little too smug for my taste. (Did not help that I had heard things about Jonathan Franzen that I consider smug. And I just discovered that his website is pretty pretentious). But I had to admit the book was well written, and he is so right on a couple of times that I had to grudgingly concede I liked it and even considered reading it again.

It also gave me a Thought of the Day:

It's about a screwed-up family (sort of, I guess there might be families a lot worse) whose mother does not want to deal with the fact that her children are less than perfect and thus is under a "blanket of self-deception". I liked that metaphor and have been thinking about the term self-deception. It's actually a misleading term, I think. Let me elaborate what I mean:

Self-deception never works as an actual deception as you can never fully deceive yourself. If you could, it would be called belief. Self-deception implies that you are fully aware of the fact that you are trying to "deceive" yourself about. And thus, it can never work. It's like a mask you put on your disfigured face to pretend you're good looking. But you're not. And you know it. To use the aforementioned metaphor: Self-deception just covers you in a blanket. But if the blanket's suddenly yanked away, don't pretend to be surprised, because you knew all along.

Well, it's actually pretty deceptive, after all, because it sure does not make your life any easier: while you maintain the deception, you always have that nagging suspicion that you might not be right and a lingering fear that your blanket will be taken away and you'll be exposed for the fraud that you are (to yourself and to the world). We still like to use self-deception an awful lot, I guess.

So much for the deep thoughts that coursed through my foggy brain while I was trying really hard to give up any self-deceptions that I have...

By the way, if you're curious, now I am reading Slaughterhouse Five which I loved from the start. I can't really tell you yet why, but it might even be on par with my love for John Steinbeck (Cannery Row being one of my alltime favourites).

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