Monday, 18 December 2006

On Tony Blair

The gag, famously, is: ‘the great thing is sincerity; if you can fake that, you’ve got it made’. But it’s easier said than done. There’s a trick, and I’ll tell you what it is: you must, knowing yourself to be insincere, nevertheless believe in your own sincerity. Now, the problem in putting it like that is in suggesting a diremption between ‘knowledge’ and ‘belief’, and that’s not the trick. I might with equal accuracy say, ‘you must, believing yourself to be insincere, nevertheless know that you are sincere.’ The trick is that this sincerity is rooted not in the content of what the person says, nor in the manner of the saying, nor the intentions of the person saying it. Sincerity becomes a universal category into which you tap regardless of your localised pragmatic deceitfulness. It’s not a task for the actor, even the method actor; nor is it something that can be accomplished by the self-deluder, or the non-believer. It is a rare and very valuable social ability that only a few possess. They often go far with it.

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