Tuesday, August 5, 2008

LAW 46: NEVER APPEAR TOO PERFECT

The Philippine Society claims to condone Envy, or so our morals and Christian values exclaim, but I believe that our limited and uneven allocation of resources has given birth to hybrids of envy. Comparing our local game shows to Western games shows, or American ones in particular, manifests crab mentality. The old "Game knb?" elimination round format had the "Atras powers" mechanism to pull back people who are ahead or keep them from reaching the next round. It disgusts me to watch the Filipino version of "The Wheel of Fortune" because while a contestant spins the wheel, his opponents would yell "Bankrupt! Bankrupt!" or "Lose a turn! Lose a turn!". We don't see this kind of behavior in the foreign versions it is exclusive to the Philippines or as they would say, "walang ganyan sa States" these are indirect manifestations of "unhappy admiration". Envy is no longer the "He has it I want but one too" mentality, in the Philippines, it has evolved into "He has it, i want it. The only way I could have one too is if I get the one he already has.".

"Of all the disorders of the soul, envy is the only one no one confesses to."
Plutarch, c. A.D. 46-120

I am very much sure that we have had our share of envy, but because it is deemed unacceptable, we never really talk about our "unhappy admirations". After watching the play "The Death of Memory", about characters who were trapped and forced to remember their repressed memories, I spent some time with the friend I watched it with and we thought and talked about the things we felt like we had forgoten or chosen to forget. The most interesting of which is feeling envy during the early parts of our childhood. Coming from very different backgrounds, it is funny to see how we both had the same feeling at one point or another. I believe that everyone who was once in grade school or kindergarten has had this experience. A classmate comes with a toy or something that does not seem interesting, but as people start fussing over this new thingamajig we get irritated and wonder why people are giving whatever it is so much attention then we slowly find ourselves becoming more and more attracted to that thingamajig but we still do not know what is so "cool" about it. At the end of the day you want one of your own and the next day the whole class comes to school with their own thingamajig.

We are not influenced to feel this way but influence does bring the feeling about. Given this example leads me to believe that envy is, in a way, innate but is repressed or something we refuse to admit because the confession to envy is admitting that someone is better than us and that we are inferior.

What makes envy seem so evil is that more often than not the people who see the fruits of success up close, those who are close to the people doing well are those who are filled with that deep feeling of envy. Running in the same circle, people wonder why someone who is doing the same thing becomes more successful than they are. From these circumstances, sabotage begins. The things they can tell you and their access to your resources makes things a lot easier for them to make things more difficult for you and ruin things for you. It is very difficult because it is hard to distinguish if someone is sharing your bliss with you or just saying they are. To understand the difference between true compliments and envious comments is very important. More often than not, those who envy will find grounds to criticize the person who makes him feel inferior. It can also be disguised through excessively praising that person's achievements.

Knowing and understanding that envy is innate and that one would never admit to feeling envy. You must come to terms with the fact when you start to gain success people will grow envious and you and envy will lead people to work against you.

By having people close to you feel like integral parts of your success is something that you could truly leverage off. When people feel responsible for your success and if they feel that they are rightfully given credit for the achievement, they will do what they can to help one maintain his status. There is a different with having someone feel that they need you and that you need them. The second is definitely more flattering while the first may have someone feel like a charity case - which is definitely not insulting and will stir up feelings of envy and inferiority, it will fuel their desire to bring you down.

If those who are prone to have "unhappy admiration" feel like they are better than you in certain aspects, you will reveal their true feelings for you when you hear them talking about how they better than you. This is strategic because you will know who to look out for and if someone you have in mind should be watched more closely.

The key element to leveraging off other people is showing them that you are not perfect. By displaying a flaw, they are distracted and while they pick on your flaws, they do not sabotage your operation.

Going back to the "Game knb?" elimination round concept, more often than not, the person who moves up to the next round is someone who slowly works his way toward the front steadily and quietly behind the person who is made to move back everytime someone is given the opportunity to use their "Atras Powers".

angge tioseco

39 comments:

janine cindy santiago said...

This law somehow justifies the Filipino stereotype of the "crab mentality". Our society has grown to be just like those crabs in the basket. Instead of working together for a common good, one crab pushes aside and overthrows the other in order to get out of the basket. Because we strive so much for the ideal life; the "perfect" life, we tend to overstep others' boundaries, and be envious of them.

camille martinez said...

It happens quite often that we are threatened by people who are extremely accomplished. That's why sometimes we would rather make friends with people who don't make us feel inferior.

That's why if you're petite, you are less likely to hang out with people who are six-feet tall. If you are a Plain Jane, you would rather not hang out with supermodels that wil make you feel like Ugly Betty.

Miguel Rojas said...

When you hang out with people who are greater than you (smarter, more hardworking), you become envious, that's a given. However, the plus side about this is that we tend to become more determined to beat someone to the top because of our fear to fall out of a 'group' or something. Like Honours courses in Ateneo. Would you rather be an above average fish in a normal pond or a normal fish in an above average pond? As for me, I would rather be normal, because being in 'the pond' has its own wow factor, just belonging in the above average pond garners more benefits. :D

Miguel Antonio Rojas
Hi18O

Marcy Leonora V. Pilar said...

Hey Angge! :)
Though envy to me is plain cruel and destructive, it does foster competition (both healthy and unhealthy) which, as was discussed most recently in class, is most of the time essential. We live in a world where forces are constantly clashing. In Physics, this can be summed up in Newton's Third Law of Motion: The Law of Interaction (where every action has an equal but opposite reaction). You can't have one without the other.
In Theology, we were taught that man is constantly groaning for what he does not have (his dignity as a child of God, for example) and so we find ourselves concupiscent in a world that is surrounded by sin. Envy, as a sin, is thus attractive in our eyes. I then agree with Angge in saying that envy is as innate as it is inevitable.
What's appealing to me is not fostering envy in everyone around me; it is fostering that influence and calling that drive within everybody I know. I know that it is more significant (and touching) to inspire rather than to instill envy.
While inpsiring other people also attracts attention to ourselves, it does pay to remain humble and human.

Dexter Tanengsy said...

To a certain extent, everyone wants to be the one on top but the problem there is that only a handful can be in that position so that's when pulling one another happens. I agree with what angge said. Do not appear to perfect so that people won't even mind disrupting your plans. Be one with the masses and gain power silently.

Dexter Tanengsy, Hi18-N

maiki Abello said...

While reading the previous comment, about gaining power silently, I remembered the story of the tortoise and the hare. I'm sure almost everyone knows the story. The tortoise was going slow and steady. He wasn't seen as a threat. So he was just left alone and in the end, he was the one that won! He was on top.

Katrina L. Abello
HI18-O

mariel said...

I believe that we need someone to "appear too perfect." We need the goodie-goodie, the teacher's pet, the star who always rises above others. I believe having these kinds of people around keeps us on our toes. If you're the one on top, I don't believe that you should hold back just because you perform better than others. There is a reason why you are at the top-no matter how envious others may become, and no matter how much they conspire to bring you down, you should be able to handle it. It's just another challenge for someone like you, right?

And if you're someone belonging to the rest of the mass, what you should do is this: strive to be ALMOST as good as the best. You will come up strong, but others will be too busy keeping up with the best to even consider you as a threat.

Marian Janelle C. Aliwalas
HI 18 N

luigiramirez said...

First of all, i do not believe in perfection or being too perfect, i think you are either good or bad no line in between. People who are accomplished don't have the right to boast, but It would be better if they let their actions do the talking. Just be the best you can possibly be. Do your job well and know your limitations. Being too perfect could lead to your downfall

Luigi Ramirez Hi18-O

janna_amigo said...

i think another way to keep people from being envious of you and your successes is to be as humble about your accomplishments as much as possible and to always praise or thank those who've helped you, even in the smallest of ways. make it look like your accomplishments are just as great as theirs, no matter how little or insignificant theirs may seem. and you won't be lying or be hypocritical because you realize that every little thing is crucial to accomplishing something big. we should all realize that the little things matter too and by doing so, we won't be too proud of our successes neither would we be too ashamed of our little accomplishments or of the little we have and be envious of others. that's one way to get rid of envy and the "crab mentality" altogether.

biks said...

Never appear too perfect... good law when you want to keep a low profile. Besides we are not perfect. Everyone has flaws. My brother keeps telling me that "God is Fair". Showing that you're perfect will just hide the great flaw within and will eventually show up.

In the sense of envy, it is normal to be envious at someone who you think is better. Sense of competition. But, think of it this way... You might be better at things the person is not good at.

alex salaveria said...

No one is perfect, so you can never be too perfect.

This law embraces the concept of disguise. Your enemy would not suspect you of anything, so it will be easier for you to find his weakness and use it to your advantage.

biks said...

-Don Faylon
Hi18 N

biks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
trixie said...

Appearing too perfect, as the other people before me said, makes people put their guard up around you. That's why it's best to let them see a weakness, or least, make them think they see your weakness, even though it really isn't. That way people feel less insecure around you. That way people would be easier to deal with.

Trixie Cruz
Hi18 O

Niko Falcon said...

"janine cindy santiago said...
This law somehow justifies the Filipino stereotype of the "crab mentality". "

To follow up on what Janine said about crab mentality and Filipinos. I would take it a step further and call it crab mentality and the human race. It is "innate and inevitable".
Another thing I would like to add about the crab mentality concept is that, like the crabs, we cannot get ahead or move forward because of precisely how the crabs move, side to side...effective image of the law there.

As far as this law being compatible with everything, well there are boundaries but the reason I say everything is that happens every second of every day, envy happens. When you are walking around the streets and you see someone prettier than you, or you are just simply sitting down, doing nothing and wishing for something you didn't have.

A good place to see this in action is in school. School is the epicenter of judgment. The reason to why girls take forever to dress up for school, the reason to why boys take their showers and brush their teeth, because everyone is judging you. What happens to the ones that are shinning as they walk the halls? The rest wishes to be like them and hopes they trip and fall on their faces.

Just remember back in your high school, think of the Mr or Ms perfect. If something bad happened to them it would be the talk of the town. If they did something bad, not only do the kids feel better, saying to themselves, "They weren't that great after all", but even the parents are thinking the same thing. Why do we look for the stars to fall? Well as stated over and over again, envy is "innate and inevitable".

This is a law that you should always have in your pocket. The brighter you are the more people wish for you to be extinguished.

Miguel Rojas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miguel Rojas said...

"This is a law that you should always have in your pocket. The brighter you are the more people wish for you to be extinguished."

I agree. Also, this law agrees to the general truths of life.

You have much talent and skill equivalent to another person's 'perfection'. No one's really THAT perfect, as to speak, because, according to religion, only God is perfect. Someone's going to be prettier, or someone's going to be smarter than you. Or if you are the smartest at something, usually you'll suck at other areas like sports, or, uhm, love/family life or something else. There's always be a hole in a person's life. No one has absolute extremes.

The bottomline is: everyone can appear to be perfect (some can in the most unconventional ways), so everyone's just about good as you, which means, they can take you down too. So yeah, never appear too perfect. :D

Miguel Rojas
Hi18 O

patricia said...

When people appear perfect, we (yes myself included sometimes) relish finding someway to make them look bad somehow. People are always wanting more than what they have, and seeing another have these things will naturally evoke feelings of envy.

At first, when you appear perfect to others, awe might be one of the first few responses to your "perfection", but eventually people will get tired of singing your praises. At this time, the only thing that will interest people will be your mistakes, your fall from grace. Some will even go as far as making nonsense up just to put a kink in your reputation. Everyone will be waiting for the moment you slip up, then pounce on you mercilessly.

Niko summed it up nicely when he said, "The brighter you are the more people wish for you to be extinguished."


Patty Geollegue
HI18-N

MiRz_29 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ninefingertips said...

yep. and appearing too perfect could lead to others, trying to find your hidden flaw. and more often than not, if they couldn't, they'd make one themselves.

Mark Bantayan
Hi18 - N

J.C. said...

Ah Envy, one of the seven deadly sins, a sin that would lead one to commit detestable acts that would put one to shame, but if you got the power in the end, where's the shame in that? is competition worth it, is something you desire most worth everything that you would destroy lives and risk yours in the process? When we're talking about the struggle of keeping or gaining power, well I'm pretty sure to some, IT is worth it.
Scary as it may seem, it all starts with something that you have and that green eyed monster that would put you to the test.

patrickdioxide said...

What if you appear so perfect that no one will even try to outdo you? Yes sure, people will be jealous of you when you're at the top and they will try to topple you at some point. But what if, in the off chance, you still defeat all your your challengers (either by chance or by prowess)? They'd think that you're invincible, so no one will even try.

patrickdioxide said...

^ ^
Patrick Reyes Hi18O

MiRz_29 said...

The word perfect is not for us, just be the best of what you can be, people who are boastful will fall. If you are deserving on that highest position, just go on! but, always remember that there are exemptions and limitations.

MiRz_29 said...

Miriam R. Reyes
Hi18-O

dueyselphy said...

Since we are human persons and we are not perfect, I think that "appearing too perfect" is something really really impossible to do. At the most, all we can do is to do our best to be perfect.

And I would disagree with this law if we are speaking here of the threat that other people would attempt to bring you down when you are on top. Like what Mariel said, instead of bring that person on top down, we should just do our best to be as good as that person on top.

After all, we are not perfect and in my opinion, we do not have the right to put others down, like how the "crab mentality" of the Filipinos is described.

Duey T, Guison
Hi18N

joanne atienza said...

you see, appearing too perfect is NOT a choice. I believe one is perfect because others perceive him that way. This could be explained by George Robert Mead's concept of " the generalized other," being able to define one's character or behavior in terms of other people. It's purely subjective. Now, the thing is that when people see you as too perfect, it is not bad at all. Certainly, you would only become powerful to the extent of their perception.This interplay then cultivates competition which could perhaps push one to become better. It is all in your hands then if you would be proving them right or wrong...

:Joanne Atienza N

Pauline Purugganan said...

No one really likes a perfect person. I mean, isn't that why Jesus Christ was crucified?

Being perfect is deemed to be a flaw by most people. Why? It's because we all know that no one is perfect. Therefore, appearing to be too perfect would just make them think that you aren't being true to the people. It would make people think that you have a hidden agenda, therefore making them go against you in order to 'save' them for your 'evil plan.'

-Pauline Purugganan
Hi18-N

mariedacquel said...

"The key element to leveraging off other people is showing them that you are not perfect. By displaying a flaw, they are distracted and while they pick on your flaws, they do not sabotage your operation."

I agree with what the writer was trying to say with this paragraph. If you appear perfect all the time, then you might create secret enemies for yourself.

Marie Dacquel HI18-O

Sean Paul Baldemeca said...

I think that most of our politicians constitutes to this law in order to gain the affection of the masses because people from this level feels inferior in so many ways. That is why politicians should never appear too perfect so that these people will support them.

alan mamonluk said...

I think that this law has to be balanced. If you are too imperfect, people won't like you too. It has to be just right so that people will underestimate what you are capable of.

Alan Mamonluk
Hi18-O

katherine conde said...

If in Law #1, appearing to be better than others is dangerous, what more in this law when you appeared to be perfect? That makes it more dangerous.

People always have tendencies to bring other people down.
Admit it.
Katherine Conde
Hi18 O

yesandno said...

If you seem too perfect, you only place a greater distance between you and the world at large. Unless you desire this, unless you desire to generate sentiments such as envy and resentment, you should remain real. There's no such thing as perfection and by appearing to embody such a trait only invites people to prove just this. Most of the time, people don't like to get bested after all.

Jennifer Stacy Tan
Hi18 M

P.S. I think your example is excellent and yes, it really is disgusting to see how we Filipinos would rather have others brought down for their own advantage. For this reason I disliked watching "The Wheel of Fortune". It is distasteful. -_-

princess joan said...

I agree with Allan. Of course, if you are too imperfect (with so much flaws), everyone will hate you, but true, never appear to perfect because everyone knows that no one is perfect, and then if you try to appear too perfect, people will just try to find your mistakes, or worse, make mistakes for you. And that is not a good thing. People may create lies just to destroy your image of perfection. That's why most of the worse things happen to good persons because other people try to find what's wrong with them. I agree with Pauline, maybe, the perfect example for this law is Jesus himself

Joan Medalla
Hi18 N

0oyanfango0 said...

In relation to Angge's "Game Knb?" example wherein the winner is always someone who quietly works his way up (almost unnoticed), i recall having watched an interesting movie with the title "House of Nine". Here, 9 complete strangers were randomly abducted and put into a "completely sealed house" and the last person standing (that was ensuring the death of all 8 other "contestants")would leave the house with 5 million dollars. All of them were just ordinary people who wouldn't result to kill for money, yet when they realized it was impossible to escape the house, they had no choice but to play the game and some had to kill to defend themselves. Surprisingly, the last survivor was an innocent lady who didn't have the intention of winning the "game". Nobody bothered to kill her because she seemed too harmless. The policeman (among the abducted), who was thought to be the most probable winner for he had with him a gun, was killed at the very beginning of the story. It is important to always keep a low profile so as not to get the attention of those who want to bring you down.

YanFang Zhu
HI18-N

Dino said...

Envy is dangerous and at times sinful but i think that it is a major force in fueling the passion to succeed in a person. All it takes is a game of paunahan or being the first one to use possible resources.

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