Thursday, June 29, 2006

"Hadaka No Tsukiai": The Irony of Shame

After all is said and done, there is always something that could have been clearer, less understated, more explicit, direct. There are always those funny feelings in your stomach, those nervous twitches, those imposing grey clouds that suddenly slid over you on what was up till then a gorgeous day. There’s always that one time, that tone of voice, that something said that just didn’t add up. Sometimes, there’s the odd unexpected object, obviously foreign and out of place. Often there is the thing you saw that you shouldn’t have seen and so you choose to ‘unsee’ it. In retrospect, all these things combine and flash “hazard” like a blinking neon sign at the height of the night.

Garr Reynolds waxes lyrical about the merits of communication in the nude, i.e. “hadaka no tsukiai”, a Japanese practice thought to strip people of the unnecessary barriers that inhibit free communication. He suggests that the idea is a useful one when making presentations and I thought it could be extrapolated nicely to the realm of everyday life and dealings with people.

Imagine… without pretenses and props we have no option but to be ourselves. And the honesty that we present probably means that the response we get is more likely to be honest too, does it not? We human beings, past the honorable innocence of childhood, become experts at giving the people what they want but in the process, we lose sight of or neglect what it is that we ourselves want! So in this whole counterproductive mess, can we really complain about dishonesty when we are players in that same game? It’s a tough one and it’s perhaps easier to say, well, that’s the name of the game afterall, why should I sit out?

Henry David Thoreau warned to “beware of all enterprises that require new clothes”. There are those that will say, ‘but sometimes you have to pretend a little in order to get what you want’. Unfortunately, the prevalence of this response means that it’s a strong contender for truth status. However guilty, I am not absolutely convinced. Where does the balance lie? While getting what I want by lying (harsh but at the end of the day, that’s what it is), I’m possibly (probably) hurting somebody else. But if I don’t look after no. 1, I’ll be victim to all those other billions out there who do it all the time. So in the end you wonder, what use nobility?

Some reason that a little evasion and some embellishment here and there is closer to the honesty side of the scale. I contend that lack of communication is on par with lies. Both are deeming the would-be receiver unworthy of information. If you cannot say it, there’s obviously something amiss – whether it be because of dubious underhand goings-on or just plainly that the understanding/arrangement/relationship isn’t working out. The truth may not be for everyone but I personally want the choice.

So how about it? Communication in the nude?

“Humanity’s greatest sin is non-communication, unwanted and unloved solitude, forgetting that we were created to find each other, to be each other’s mirrors” (Paulo Coelho).

Jaded am I from time to time. Each time professing to never open myself for such possibilities again! But something inside me still wants to believe that somewhere somehow I will find, not so much a mirror, but kindred spirits with whom I can grow.

I have no shame in this nakedness.