[q]1) I believe there is a game we play. We hide behind masks, never showing what we truly feel.[/q]
1. These are three statements, not one, and they are linked only loosely.
a) The first is social psychology, and I believe there are many games we play, though most of them have the same structure and use the variations of switching through the same three roles. If I understand what you mean here, by definition, all of them are painful, and the major purpose of them is to avoid large unpredictable anxieties by substituting smaller and reasonably predictable ones that steer our lives along familiar courses.
B) The second question is about masks. Yes, all of us hide behind masks. They enable us to function in a sociable world. Jung thought they were built into the human psyche, since he knew of no culture that didn't use them to help people get along. They are very useful for that function. But they also serve as shorthand, a quick way of letting others see who you want them to see when you present yourself for social occasions, a way of letting other folks know quickly who you are at that moment.
Because you don't care enough about everybody to sit them down and let them know in detail exactly who you are and exactly what you're feeling and exactly what your hope and aspirations may be at this particular moment in time. You might have to retell the story to the same person after lunch with different nuances shaded differently in order to let them know what's changed over the lunch hour. And that's without their end of the deal: What about their story? And the retelling. What about your boss? And his secretary, and her assistant?
Most of that material is compressed and communicated in a fashion that is more distorted or less distorted, depending on the people involved by the use of masks.
c) Which people do you want to confide your "true feelings" to?
I suspect that there are a number of reasons that we don't confide our true feelings to people. One reason is that we find their content to be scary, and are afraid that bringing that content into the relationship might destroy the relationship. Another is that we worry that other people will laugh at us for having strange feelings. Another is that we have suppressed the feelings through use of alcohol or other drug use and we have no idea what they are. Another is that the stuff that is most scary for us may not be feelings at all, but a concern with details, soaring and sweeping ideas or crowding thought we can't make sense of. Another is that we simply don't understand the concept of feelings at all, and we need to be taught about them.
You might be surprised at the number of folks who would answer the question, "What are you feeling right now?" with an honest, "I don't have a clue."
Whatever the situation may be, it's reasonably certain you don't want to trust your feelings to everybody out there. No more than you'd want to trust your money or your health.
[q]Religion is a bared topic in school and at the workplace. All is fair in love and war; indicating of course that love is an art of deciet as well.[/q]
a) I wasn't aware religion was a forbidden topic at school or at the workplace. I thought preferential treatment was forbidden. I thought that perhaps evangelizing was forbidden, both of which involve pressuring of one group by another. As somebody who listened to a reading of The Lord's Prayer every day before school from Kindergarden through High School and was not a Christian, I can assure you that I felt a clear message about who was important and who wasn't, and why. I grew fond of Christmas music, but I always felt myself an outsider.
I don't think anybody thought they were in breach of the golden rule, though they were. They never would have accepted evangelizing by another faith and the downplaying of their own and yet thought nothing of imposing it on others.
Had they actually tried living by the golden rule, living a Christian life instead of a privileged life in this way, the current situation might never have jelled the way it has.
I would like to see Christianity in the schools, not as displays of prayer or doctrine or ritual, but as actual lived lives of witness. I have seen Quakers do that. It can be done.
b) All is not fair in love or in war. Some cliches are simply stupid. This is why we have courts that issue restraining orders and why governments attempt to establish conventions for wars and hold trials for war crimes. When we don't apply them evenhandedly, it simply shows us how far we have to go, even now, in establishing an actual rule of law. That doesn't mean that the crimes themselves are fair.
c) You might as well argue that war is an act of love; There's a nice book by James Hillman on the subject.
If this is an attempt at syllogistic logic, there is no middle to it to connect the proposition with the conclusion, and it doesn't work. It's two independent propositions forcibly conjoined by an "of course," much as one might scotch tape two railway cars together and skip the standard coupling, and assume that the scotch tape would hold.
Love is love. If deception is needed, at least one person feels there isn't enough and is frightened to say so. I fail to see the art in that. If one person is frightened in a relationship, it may be possible for the other person not to sense that fright, or it may be possible to ignore the signals of fright that they see. Even use of the framework of deception is to make an aggressive claim about the mature of the other person and the nature of the speaker.
This speaks to the question you raise about truth and half-truth.
In working with couples, typically each person presents
a point of view describing pretty much the same set of circumstances, but from a point of view that is unique to them. They see themselves as the hero of their story, and the other person—at best, usually—as not the hero. All the details are built around this, and they are usually pretty much accurate.
Each one thinks the other one is a liar. Sometimes they are, but mostly not. This is the way they actually see the situation. There is no duplicity; there are two real and actual true versions of the same situation told from two different points of view.
In this situation it becomes the job of the counselor to help the two of them formulate a third true version in which everybody's point of view makes sense given the situation, and where they can see the motivations that pushed the other person had some love and care in there.
The explanation needs to be able to add dimensions to how the couple sees each other, rather than constrict them. Sometimes the therapist fails.
This is because of a half-truth. The invention you have come up with, which you may think is real, just isn't. Both of them know it, and they won't take a half truth. It won't sell. You can't sell a half truth. People see through them.
The story you come up with has to be more true than either of the stories they have limited themselves to, and they have to feel it in their bones.
You have noticed it most in High School because this is the time when kids first get a chance to compare families and see how the way things were run in their home were done in other homes. It's a chance to make some major re-evaluations of what's what. Some you keep, some you don 't.
There are some people who deserve to know you in depth, and whom you should get to know in depth. Which ones are they? I'm starting to talk with one of the guards at the local Target. I like him, the progress is slow, who knows how much we'll talk about or for how long. I've spoken with my wife in depth for more than twenty years and it's a deep and rich relationship. I have relationships that go back further that are very rich, but not so many.
I don't want all that many people to know all that much about me; a lot of that stuff goes into my poetry.
There have been times when I've been much closer to more people, and I've liked that too. It changes as I change. Sometimes I have stuff to give, sometimes not. Sometimes I have stuff I need, sometimes not.
Nice set of questions. I'll be heading out for a few days so I may not be able to reply to any response before that time. If I can, I will. Yours, BobK.