Home > Dan Dennett, Freakonomics, Honesty, Politics, Religion > Freaking Faking It

Freaking Faking It

The boys at Freakonomics have a cool pod-cast on “Faking It” that I encourage everyone to listen to. It touches on a few topics that come up on this blog from time to time. It’s always interesting to see how religion or politics forces “honest” people to “fake it.”  The pod-cast makes the argument that faking it from time to time is a good thing so long as you’re not deliberately swindling anyone. That’s hard to disagree with on some levels but it also contributes to an awful lot of cultural inefficiencies (to adapt some language from economics). 

How much time (i.e. resources) do people waste pretending to be a certain way when they really aren’t? How many golf-courses have phonies hacking away when they’d rather be shooting hoops? How many church pews are filled with frauds knowingly talking to themselves? As Daniel Dennett has pointed out, whole lives of pastors are spent “faking it.” How many otherwise sensible people are forced to stay out of politics because they don’t want to be or can’t be fake on a seemingly endless variety of issues. Faking it definitely has its place – communities, as the pod-cast makes clear wouldn’t be possible without some degree of it – but I wouldn’t discount the harder (equally hard?) to calculate effects of our cultural inefficiencies.   If you think that our politics are poorer because our system rewards the best actors instead of those best able to govern and that our world is more dangerous because of the sanctuary built with forged piety shelters the worst aspects of religion, maybe “faking it” is best left to the bedroom. 
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