Sunday, July 19, 2015


As an infant, I squalled in order to get fed again. Research has shown that infants usually are not really hungry, they just want to be held – they are just learning how to manipulate their parents or minders.  Ah, deception from birth goes on.
     When I was 10 or 12 years old, I deeply studied the art of deception or “sleight of hand.” I spent hours practicing to “palm” a quarter, and hide coins between my fingers. On Sunday, the “Lord’s Day”, the only day I was forced to wear a long-sleeve shirt, I tried to perfect that old “slip-the-card-up-the-shirtsleeve” trick, something I thought the Lord might get a kick out of. It was only a sleight deception, right?
     Later, I actually stole change from where my father emptied his pockets on his dresser. One Saturday when he was mowing the lawn, I stole a dollar bill from his wallet – just to see if I could do it.  He never said anything. Deception seemed innocent, like a game.
     Then, I bought practical jokes of all sorts: cans with spring-loaded “snakes”, whoopie cushions, and “exploding” cap-loaded lipstick, and plastic vomit which “shocked” my other into feigned horror. Innocent, right? Fun stuff.
     My favorite comic books were all about deception: Superman, Batman, The Flash were all about individuals who were not who they said they were – they were really Super Heroes. Super Heroes are the ones who have great powers – and they are all deceivers who don’t have to be themselves, or maybe thgemselves is really a lie. Today, kids age 10 -12, love Harry Potter, another example of someone with extraordinary abilities who can’t stand “ordinary” people.
     In our teenage years – and perhaps beyond - we seem to grow and become dissatisfied with ourselves. We long to be far more beautiful, stronger, smarter and more capable than our reality. We image ourselves – imagine – ourselves greater than our skinny legs, big ears, long noses, cowlicks, and zits. Ordinary is boring. Being perfect is better.
Well, dating when beer is involved is deception in motion -  “You tink Ting-Tong ugry?!” - “there are no ugly girls at closing time”.
     In college, I studied drama and acted in plays – more deception. I majored in Radio-TV-Film and excelled in the art of illusion in broadcasting. When I graduated, I got a job in advertising where I was paid to be deceptive – and outright lie – called persuasion.
     I was a high flyer! There was a future, a whole potential!

There are two sides of our brain – a right and left hemisphere. The right is the impulsive, spontaneous quick thinking side; the left is the home of reflective thinking, structured thinking, and planning.
     Deception makes use of quick thinking which is our normal thinking-style in our rapid, media soaked society. In research studies, some 80% of quickly made decisions are shown to be wrong. It is this side of the brain to which advertising, media and computers appeal. You won’t find slow-thinking on TV.
Advertising suggests we find happiness through purchasing – and happiness is the #1 motivation for us. The quintessential advertising message which I once saw painted on the side of a liquor store is “Buy-Here-Now.”
We make wrong decisions when we “need” something or feel we lack in some way. There are lots of financial “come-ons” sound like they will make us happy, but really they are not what we think they are. But, we don’t take the time to slow down and think them through carefully. But, I was a high flyer, I knew how to make decisions, boy! I had potential!
Life is always this struggle between fast and slow thinking, emotions or intentions. We need exercises to help us be able to do both fast and slow thinking. But we don’t have time to slow down.
Our emotions are torn by deceptive feelings which move rapidly: sympathies and antipathies, friendships, bullying and love-affairs which thrash about, flip-flopping this way and that over time.
We believe we must do something urgently: we need something to make us feel better, we need wars to keep us safe and we need them quickly! “Fix-Me-Now!” What we get is addiction to urgency and drugs.
Life seems to be built up with deception upon deception. One quickly created experienced deception “covered” by another quickly created deception because we’re embarrassed because of our first mistake. We cover our personal deceptions one after another with denial. It gets worse.

Catathesis is a Greek term for a “drop” of some sort. This is how life deceives us. This drop starts our path of initiation. When we are at the “top of our game” – say when we graduate from college - we have expectations that since we have “graduated” life will at least deliver to us opportunities for our future. We are ready, or so we think.
This is not what happens. We are deceived by this vanished expectation, our step up – our next step, our trajectory The next step in our development is the catathesis – the drop, a humbling. We may have been at a peak, living in a fine college dorm, on loan money or scholarship, we had dates and parties, we looked fine, we played and loved and learned. Suddenly, catathesis – we drop into the rat hole, the darker way, the way down, all the way down to the bottom, the way we dread and can’t believe we find ourselves there. On the way down we see the losers around us. “Why do I find myself with losers like you?” Here we must do anything to survive, but what we have to do bottom-jobs and not what we thought we would be doing. It is a hole. We are way down.
As Bob Dylan wrote, “How does it feel? How does it feel? To be on your own? With no direction home? Like a complete unknown? Like a rollin’ stone?”
No one wants us. It feels like we are weightless. There is no push or pull around us. We can’t make anything happen. The phone doesn’t ring. We feel suddenly we have made a wrong choice somewhere. We were deceived. They never told us about this. How will we ever work our way out of this hole? Work our way out of the debts and depths? We make little, we try to make a living. We scrape by. Time begins to slip away. Maybe we’re in our 30’s now. We feel like our lives are being wasted. Who are these losers?
Catathesis – a drop, we are in a depression. Or, is it a trench? Alice falls a long way.
     All addicts come to this point. “But I’m not addicted,” you say! And, what were you not addicted to? To the belief that you alone were in control of your destiny? This is the deception of the deception. Welcome to the path of initiation. Getting conscious of your deception is the first step in stopping your deception. "Pride goeth before the fall."

© Copyright 2015 – Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved

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