I heard an interesting program on WNYC radio yesterday. On a program called “Radio Lab”. Radio Lab investigates different things in a humorous way. The show gives you the opportunity to challenge your assumptions.
The program I listened to yesterday is titled “Deception”. You can find it HERE. It explores the various ways that people lie, and examines why some people are better than others at it. The part that interested me was the experiments testing people who are good at lying TO THEMSELVES! Self-deception. They interviewed psychologists who tested whether people who were better at lying to themselves were more successful than those who thought of themselves more truthfully. A lot depended on the ability to hold two opposing beliefs in your mind at the same time. They found that athletes who believed they were GOING TO win because they were THE BEST did better than athletes who more realistically assessed their chance at winning. So lying to yourself, i.e., believing that you ARE THE BEST, actually helped athletes to win. Hilarious!
This made me think about Fandom. I have often thought about why I am a “Fan”, while others of my friends never are. Why is that? I have seen that my friends who are not fans are much too realistic. They see the human flaws in the object of my adoration. They cannot let go of the fact that we will probably never have a true personal interaction with the person of interest, so what’s the point in adoring someone who you will never really know? This Radio Lab program about Deception explains this to me – that I am HAPPIER than my friends who are not fans because I believe something without needing to know if it’s true in “reality”. I choose to believe that Richard Armitage is charming, handsome, talented, funny, intelligent, geeky, dorky, sexy, polite, a family man, athletic, graceful, generous, and just plain attractive, without any real personal knowledge of the man. All of these qualities I ascertain from his pictures, performances, interviews, very limited real life viewing, reports from others. The sum of all is that he makes me happy. I am happy to see pictures of him, to watch his performances, to hear his voice. Even though I don’t know whether any of it is “true” about him. Even though I “know” I will never, in reality, have the opportunity to find out if any of it is true.
Guess what? I am HAPPY in my possibly self-deception about Richard Armitage! I would never want to be like my friends who are more “realistic”! Life is tough. Happiness is worth finding wherever you can find it. <steps off soap-box>