One of my many friends in law enforcement called me over the weekend to speak to me about an incident involving mutual associates of ours and said simply, “they don’t want to know the truth, Rob.” To which I agreed and hung up. Quickest phone call ever.
He didn’t mean that the news was so bad, they were better off not knowing. He meant that they simply refuse to see the truth. They simply are not capable of acknowledging the reality of the case in question, their naive role in it, and the evilness of others involved. In fact, they were actively working against the truth in an effort to self-soothe. So, no, they don’t really want to know the truth. The human brain has a wide and vast series of defense mechanisms designed to protect us from trauma; delusion is one of the most powerful. Thus, ignorance is bliss.
It’s been a tumultuous year to say the least. In the just the last 3 months, my wife and I have had a series of incidents that have led us to realize that, believe it or not in today’s seemingly hyper-partisan, angry world, the problem with our society is that people are simply too naïve, too trusting, and too kind.
Yes, you read that correctly. America’s current march towards demise is actually being fueled by too much kindness.
Over the past year:
- My wife and I have lost friends who were once in our inner-most circle of trust.
- We have seen 2 other sets of friends be the victims of crimes.
- We had a different friend lose their parent to death.
- We saw other friends have intimate dealings with the police and courts.
And that’s just the beginning.
Recently, we had an acquaintance ask us for help to identify some “weird happenings” in his house, only to finally, (almost 3 years since we initially told him so), be able to show him definitive proof that his wife has been cheating on him the entire time. He wanted to call in paranormal investigators. We went with old fashioned surveillance techniques and showed him it wasn’t a ghost that was causing the “banging” in his house. He didn’t want to believe she was cheating years ago, and he didn’t want to believe it weeks ago when he reached out to us.
In fact, in every single incident of anger, strife, and victimizationof the past many months, the people around us have played a vital and palpable role in their outcome as a result of being unable, on different levels, to embrace not just reality, but any and all possibilities. Some, like the aforementioned victim of adultery, finally were forced to acknowledge through the physical proof, exactly what was happening. Others still refuse to literally believe what is right in front of their eyes.
Sometimes, as is classic in 2018, even having the proof in your hands, isn’t enough to sway someone. Our acquaintance who was being cheated on, who reached to us for help because of the background my wife and I have in various areas, experiences, and contacts, was handed the answer to why his life has been so chaotic, by us, within 48 hours. He thanked us, and then did absolutely nothing with the information provided him. She’s still cheating, he knows, and he remains miserable, because that level of miserable is less painful than acknowledging and admitting the truth. That’s how the human brain protects us from traumathrough delusion and then avoidance.
Our friends I mentioned who wound up dealing with the police and courts? They got into their mess by trusting people they shouldn’t have, and then having to unravel the mess they created by calling in people vicious enough to clean-up such situations. And that is a microcosm of a great lesson my wife and I have been reminded of.
Christina is 20 years younger than me. Often times, ignorant people start their judgments about our relationship with the question “what could you possibly have in common,” which I always find to be ridiculous since one of my best male friends in the world is 20 years older than me. Meanwhile, I find plenty of other people in their late 60’s to be incredibly boring…so maybe it isn’t age, but rather experience, that is a greater key to understanding how and why humans interact, get along, and/or decide to go their separate ways.
My wife is 10 years Army including a year in Afghanistan doing work that is so classified she can’t tell me some of it…but I know the gist, and trust me when I tell you that my extra time on Earth in no way compensates for what she’s seen and done. I’ve spent a lifetime building a successful company in a very public position and a very vicious industry. I have, sadly, been involved in many things, personally and professionally, I will never publicly discuss and which very few people on the planet know anything about. Christina was raised by two parents who served this country in multiple ways, and I have too many friends and current and former acquaintances in too many positions of too much power that can ever be expressed.
In other words? One of the things that creates this hard-for-most to understand bond between my wife and I is that we know intimately, how dark the world is, and more importantly, how dark people are.
Don’t misunderstand. We don’t spend our days paranoid. Far from it. We spend our days knowing what people are capable of, and being prepared for it, while never actually looking for it. And when it happens to other people, we try to help to the extent they’re willing to accept it.
But in the end, the verdict is in, and no, people are not good. There’s a reason the world is a scary place and seems to be so chaotic. We, the people, are flawed in more ways than can be expressed and that scary fact is too much for too many, and so we revert to our self-soothing, childlike, and naïve attitude that most people are good, honest, caring souls. And the closer we are to someone, the less likely we are to believe otherwise.
This is what I have always called “the burden of knowledge.” When you see and experience the world and all of its’ coldness, you become intimately aware of things most people never want to see or know. TV shows like “The Blacklist,” and “House of Cards,” and so many others don’t come from peoples’ imaginations, they come from peoples’ experiences. Yes, people will kill, blackmail, and frame other people to get or stay ahead. Or sometimes just to survive. And yes, people that you love will betray you if they see a reason to, or of they’re presented an opportunity to do so that will seemingly improve their lives.
Remember the friends I mentioned earlier who used to be part of our inner circle? They committed the ultimate sin; they forgot who Christina and I were. It wasn’t the fact that they lied to the world, cheated and stole from others, and quite literally deceived dozens of people and institutions…the issue was that they thought they could do it to us. We saw it early on and gave them feet and feet of rope to hang themselves, which they did. So sad and disappointing, yet not surprising at all. People will always let you down.
And that, is a fact that is too much for too many. And so, they self-soothe themselves into believing that most people are good, and people they’ve given their trust to aren’t capable of exactly what they’re capable of, and they say things like “oh, they’d never do that.” And then when they do, they either don’t believe it or say “well I’m sure they had a good reason,” and the delusion goes on and on and on.
The world is dark. People are not good. These are facts, and they are facts that no one wants to embrace.
We’d rather slavishly believe that scientists, government officials, doctors, churches, and anyone with a level of credibility has our best interest at heart and is in no way allowing their humanness to interfere with their judgment and behavior. And no one has more status than someone in your personal life to whom you’ve bestowed a level of trust. And so,when you see that the world is about to end as a result of climate change according to the almighty scientists and you believe it because, hey, why would they lie…it is absolutely no different than, when you watch your husband come home late every night smelling like his coworker and believe all of the explanations,he gives you as to why.
Because, after all, he would never do that to you. Why would he? If he did, it would mean you placed your trust in the wrong person, which says more about you than anything. And your mind can’t have that. No trauma, no drama. Ignorance is bliss.