My Two-Bit Opinion #6: The Principle of Least InterestMost human interpersonal relationships operate upon the principle of least interest. Whether in business or pleasure, only when interests are balanced are they beneficial to both parties. This sounds like a big old "well duh," but bear with me for a moment.
If you need your job, and your employer knows this, there will often be trouble. Employers only respect those employees who don't care about their jobs. I have witnessed this in real life and in movies. When I worked at KARN Newsradio, I discovered that the general manager, one Neal Gladner, treated most of his employees like complete shit. The few that received respectful treatment were those who did not need their jobs. One might respond that only those with the necessary skills and talent to have a job anywhere would be qualified to receive management's respect, and this is an important part of the dynamic. However, one employee maintained that she used her job only for "sewing money" and was thus not seriously invested in her career. She too received a greater measure of respect than those more talented and able than she. She simply didn't take any guff from management, so she received none.
In the movie "Office Space" (among others), the protagonist of the story begins to stop taking his job seriously and gets promoted. He expresses his opinions with candor and without fear of unemployment and is rewarded.
This honesty only came from being fearless, and fear comes from caring about things.
Romantic relationships are the arena in which the Principle of Least Interest is most often displayed. If a person expresses interest in another person, then the second person immediately has more power because he or she has something that the first person values. It's almost economic - supply and demand. But it's harder to examine more thoroughly because affection is such a subconscious, ephemeral motivation.
Janeane Garofalo once characterized her take on admissions of affection by saying something to the effect of "oh, you like me? well then you're obviously insane..." This is generally a good example of how a person feels when someone admits that they care for them. If you admit your affections to someone, you are not only vulnerable, you are devalued as well.
So the games continue because true honesty is not possible without fear of being vulnerable and devalued. But fear is a natural side effect of care. Perhaps this leads us to the conclusion that caring negates honesty? This is still a work in progress, so I'll let you know if I come up with anything more; and I hope you'll do the same.