I love this stuff. Human beings are capable of so bizarreness. The Cornell study called the Dunning-Kruger Effect established that the most incompetent people have the most confidence in themselves. How could this be?! Conversely, the most competent of us are neurotic souls who question everything we do. Which makes sense, I guess.
I know I’ve spent a fair amount of my life (the exact number of years I’m ashamed to say) living in La-La Land (still struggling to be free of said La-La Land) so I get it. I figured if I was pleasant enough everything would go smoothly and that was the key to happiness. Or if I faked it. But I didn’t know I was faking it. What a mess.
I remember when Ricky Gervais’ The Office first came out on DVD I was mesmerized. And horrified. I watched the entire thing twice in a night. Brent was just so clueless about himself and reality. Here was a man who believed himself to be a philosopher, an entertainer, a comedian, a beloved and respected boss, a visionary – and he was none of these things.
I couldn’t tear myself away and that night I couldn't sleep. It triggered a massive impostor syndrome. (I remember in my acting days when I had a small role in a long run of Death of a Salesman and that show had the same effect – am I just another Willie Loman, glad-handing his way through life?) If what Cornell’s Dr. David Dunning (I’ll call him Triple-D) identified is true, that the "most incompetent people do not know that they are incompetent", then how do we know if we’re incompetent? Yikes.
Wouldn’t it be great to live your life without knowing? Are schizophrenic street people, laughing and singing, actually happy since they don’t know they’re not? Take the blue pill and just chill.
This is what is so great about the art of comedy. It wakes us up. Drama can be very inspiring, sure. And I’m grateful for every second I’ve watched Rudy and Ordinary People and Tender Mercies and other films that make me cry. But it’s not as real as comedy – as Steve Kaplan puts it, drama is a beautiful lie and comedy tells the truth. We all live in the matrix, struggling and agreeing to rules which we had no role in creating. And developing the skill of denial. Which keep us alive. Or do they? Hmm….
Like me writing this blog. Am I living in the deluded belief that I have something meaningful to say? The other day, someone called me a “subject matter expert”. Really? Who the hell am I? Maybe my doubt makes me sane. And highly competent. Thanks, Triple D.