The Culture of Playing Pretend
While watching a college football game yesterday, I began to focus on the commercials. One showed a confident, strutting person, who seemed to have it “all together,” climb into a car, pet the steering wheel as if some kind of spiritual height had been reached, and the message was delivered to the viewer: If you want to be “all together,” if you want to reach the spiritual heights, you must—-must, with no exceptions—desire this car, covet this car, go into debt to buy this car. This car is your life!
Then there was a video of some kind of bun with melted cheese and bacon on it. The cheese was bubbly, the bacon sizzling and crisp. The video was in slow motion as camera panned ever closer to the heavenly bun. You must—-must—-desire this confection, covet it, go into dietary debt to buy it. This bun is your life!
And we almost insist that the sellers make such commercials before we buy. Go ahead, trick me first and then I will buy. Create the fantasy. I live for fantasy. Fantasy is my life!
And so it goes. I began to wonder. Have we created a world of fantasy, not only in books or films but also in our-everyday-life-as-a-lived-fantasy? Go ahead, trick me. And so, do we do this with regard to the injustices of life now? Do we deny serious wrongdoing as we go about filling our pain with the bun or even, on rare occasion, with the new car? I am not all that hurt…..no, really……pass the buns.
Do we also engage in the opposite of this? Do some create false injustices and play the role of victim to garner sympathy………and power? After all, if in the world of fantasy, I can falsely accuse you of harming me and you falsely believe it, then I am controlling your behavior. I win……at least temporarily in the world of fantasy.
Such fantastic fantasy, I think, keeps us from forgiving. On the one hand, as we deny that we are in pain, then there is no one to forgive. As we deny that others are manipulating us by playing the victim card and controlling our behavior, then there is no injustice to stand against, to correct, to courageously confront with the truth. There is no one to forgive.
Oh well, this is all too strenuous for me anyway. Perhaps I am wrong. If you have the time, would you please pass that bubbling bun?