Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Ironic Society


Irony works this way:

You propose a friendly agreement: you say to the vicious person you want to mock, "you are such a kind soul."

You know the kind soul is smart enough to realize you don't mean what you say.

He wants to believe what you say, at the same time he knows he is an accomplished hypocrite, and you have caught him out.

But he has gotten used to pretending to be what he is not and it has become second nature.

You suggest to the kind soul that he relies on the power he feels in being taken for what he is not, and he is vulnerable because of it. He wants both you and he to be deceived, but you are not. You suggest he is in the habit of feeling safe when people are making an appearance of being agreeable, but he is not safe with you. The ironist uses the power of his victim against himself.


And if you are your own willing victim, use irony against yourself?

You know you are a hypocrite. But the part of you that pretends to be good is also the part that is ironically telling you that you are good. Hypocrisy, originally a vulnerability, is transformed into power. No one can catch you out in your hypocrisy because you have got there first.

When self irony is a fundamental characteristic of society, society must be rewarding it. Being self ironic in public shows others how to be safe too. With each expression of self irony everyone feels better, is distracted from the pervasive hypocrisy. Each takes comfort from the other, and watches the parts of themselves that are hypocritical and caught ironically in their hypocrisy from the perspective of this public position of comfort.

Self irony is an act of complicity with society defending against the individual's irony, even when that individual is oneself.

Self irony is a form of hypocrisy: an act of social conformity pretending to be independence from social conformity.