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The Hypocrite

Know that feeling when you make a thing and feel that you might be worthless? Here's a weird trick to be okay with it :P

Gah! I suck at everything!

A lifelong nagging feeling follows me around. Staying just out of sight when I am in a good mood, creeping behind stealthier than a shadow to whisper in an eerie voice just when I'm alone, looking at something I made…

"Another master-shitty-piece! Oh when will you stop?"

"You made this? THIS? Kids in a craft class could do better."

"Right, and you forgot the most obvious thing. Again."

The hypocrite is me

I know two easy paths to look at my own work, first is admiration with a bit of pride that I actually pulled something off. The second is this background noise of "lol, destroy it with fire!"

I cannot speak for those who refrain from creative hobbies and work, for me putting things together to make something curious is second nature. All around me are half-done projects ranging from short stories, poetry (heh, please, no!), articles on philosophy (dear lord no!), dozens of electronics circuits yet to be fully assembled, woodworking projects with pieces stacked up in boxes, exotic seeds for the garden, a drip irrigation system that's still not installed. The cunning mosquito zapper with fans and humidifier lying disconnected. Tens of software projects, each in its own state of disarray.

Add to these the countless other projects on paper, in my voice notes or often the worst place to be - in my head.

Somewhere in this chaos, are a few things I did finish.

That's when the hypocrite in me awakened, every time.

"Please, self, don't show this to anyone. Don't waste their time with your mediocre shit. They have better things to do."

The hypocrite is not me

Despite the constant background noise, I know I am not that noise. I am the signal that makes listening to static worth it, sometimes. At least for myself, maybe a few others.

It is great to be aware that I exist, that I am capable, that I have resources, that I am resourceful when constraints apply.

That I can look at my work and criticize it also implies:

  • I have created something, that's already a good start.
  • I have a decently good taste that demands better of me.
  • I can criticize myself, hold myself accountable.
  • I know what I am lacking, therefore I have direction.

Not so bad, eh?

The two towers of hypocrisy

There are at least two kinds of hypocrisy, one as described above is a moving target - I may feel I'm a hypocrite about a certain topic today, someone might even call me out on it. However, if I am learning, adapting and improving my understanding of the world, I will eventually close the gap between how I expect things to be done and how I perform. I would not be too concerned about these ephemeral hypocrisies, they exist in the gap between my understanding of something and my skill to pull it off.

Another kind is the one we are all familiar with, the ossified, static unchanging hypocrisy rooted in the belief that I know everything there is to know, and that I am right, because I am. Something that's dead does not evolve, it will break down once the resources required to keep it from decay are pulled away. Our loathing of hypocrisy stems from this waste of everyone's time and energy in pretending otherwise.

I suspect there will be more, however these suffice for the time being.

What now?

It seems fashionable to pick out the smallest inconsistency in behaviour or skill against the ideals someone espouses and beat 'em up with that; I refuse to stumble on this gimmick.

Hypocrisy as a commonly understood word is derogatory, and as long as people agree that's the case it will remain so. However, when subject to unnecessary criticism, having this nuance seems useful to retain sanity despite trolls and often, my own inner voice.

With this post, I intend to restart my blog, fill-in backdated blog posts that I had drafted and never published. Share more work-in-progress projects, even if I never complete them. It is okay, I believe, if my "hypocrisy" moves ahead with knowledge instead of stagnating in ignorance.