Etymology: c.1225, from O.Fr. ypocrisie, from L.L. hypocrisis, from Gk. hypokrisis “acting on the stage, pretense,” from hypokrinesthai “play a part, pretend,” also “answer,” from hypo- “under” + middle voice of krinein “to sift, decide” (see crisis). The sense evolution is from “separate gradually” to “answer” to “answer a fellow actor on stage” to “play a part.” Thus hypocrite (c.1225) is ult. Gk. hypokrites “actor on the stage, pretender.”

Words have a lot of power. Something I come back to again and again. My original online nick was nihilism, one I still pick up from time to time.

Nihilism is a sincere belief in nothing.

Is it to believe in nothing? To believe in nothing? To believe in nothing? A simple sentence can’t convey the actual meaning I’m looking for.

Which is why I’m not surprised that words are at the heart of every heartache I’ve ever had.

I’d intended to come and write about a situation that’s on my mind. Something that happened, that has roots in other happenings, and that will branch and flower into yet more. But somewhere in composing that entry I stopped. I looked at what I was saying. And I bit my tongue.

I was planning a diatribe on hypocrisy and inauthenticity. On how I throw myself into life and live it, and refuse to apologize for how I’ve done so or be mollified into submission to be accepted. I was going to discuss how I am truthful about myself and my experiences, and how everything I do and say is genuine.

But I realized something.

We’re all playing parts. We act and react and somewhere in the backs of our heads we’re calculating how much each response costs. What it’s worth to us. How to play a situation to the best advantage. The differences are only in what we’ve decided advantages are.

Are they social? Are they political? Are they personal?

And if, after attempting to determine the cost, we lose that advantage, can we cope?

I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. I have values which I hold very dear to me, but there are times when I don’t speak up, when I lay them aside, when I evaluate how much they’re costing me and ask myself if I can afford to put them down. Sometimes the answer is yes.

I had a revelation, today, about being human.

It was in the etymology of hypocrisy.


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