A smile is the most common lie. We smile while we tear people apart. We smile when we are torn apart. We smile when we are suicidal. We smile when we drive others to suicide.
Homo homini lupus, no? But then we knew that. Maybe that is why I happen to love fairy tales and mythology so much: the monsters are clearly monsters. But that is make-believe. Man is the monster, has always been the monster, in reality.
In literature, there are considered to be only 6 (sometimes there are a few additions) true conflicts that the protagonist may have, which are mirrored in the notion that they are one and the same for any human being. They are Man vs. God, Man, Nature, Self, Society, or Technology. What is perhaps overlooked is that the second term is always viewed as the “problem”. But is that true? Maybe the problem is the reverse. Maybe it is always the ‘Man’ that is the aggressor, or, at the least, a mutual aggressor in such an equation.
And so our smiles are perhaps best suited to those of a shark. Though even that is unfair to the shark. After all, a shark is not malicious nor deceptive. Sharks are predators, but not of the same skin as a human.
We are worse than wolves in sheep’s clothing. We, above any animal, know about morality and, by virtue of knowing of its existence, are bound by it. Yet, who acts upon it? Even those who understand it, study it, live by it, lie every day with their smiles. We are all liars. We are beaten into subservience for in those rare moments when we are honest; we are pounced upon as the monsters see a human in their midst, a decent and good heart surrounded by ravenous beasts, waiting for the brave hero or heroine to devour.
I like when people frown at me. When they grimace at me. When they sneer at me. No one is false in cruelty but only in kindness. At least such miserable and wicked people do not hide their fangs from the world, but embrace who they are.