Be forewarned: all of this could be a blatant rip-off of one of Chuck Klosterman's books. I read part of the free sample on the Kindle bookstore and walked away with all kinds of ideas swimming in my head. If these ideas happened to be his too, I'm sorry. The only thing I based my idea off of was the two words in the title of this post – fake love. They say everything's derivative anyway, so let's let the deriving begin! The prime reason we're not happy with what we have and what we want isn't that these things aren't enough. They are. If you're reading this right now, you have a computer or an iPad or a smartphone and you're able to read things on the internet for free of charge (sort of). That alone would be enough for us to get smacked and told to stop whining by people alive just 50 years ago, but no, we have things like the best treatment for just about any disease on the planet, the ability to travel across the country or the world in a day or less, and even simple things like warm houses and clean water. We have TVs and movie theaters and Hulu and HD Radio.
Things are good. We're still not happy. Why?
Because we have computers and iPads and smartphones and TVs and movie theaters and Hulu. (HD Radio probably doesn't help either, but I don't know a single person who actually has it.) Every day, on our technology, we get glimpses of what life is "supposed" to be. We see romantic comedies, put our hands to our hearts and point at the screen. "That. That's what it's supposed to be like," we say to ourselves or anyone in the general vicinity. "That's what I'm missing."
So we wait for it.
And wait for it.
And wait for it.
And then we die, never having found it.
Because we never learn, or at least never want to believe, that these things we see in front of us aren't real. They resonate with us to our very cores, so they must be a reflection of what we need. They must be truth.
Now before we go on, I think it's important to note my two separate definitions of truth. One has a lower-case T and I used it to define things that are actually real, physically present, or just plain fact. Little-T truth is gravity and math and the fact that when I was about 15 years old, I was playing basketball with my dad and fell and skinned off a whole bunch of skin on my arm. I had to go around with a bandage wrapped around my whole forearm for a few days so I wouldn't bleed on people. You can still see the scar. Little-T truth.
Then there's capital T. This is the kind that moves me. This is the Truth of art. The Truth of religion. The Truth of our philosophies and the nurture that made us who we are today. This is the Truth in our lives that determines how we respond to things and the Truth that makes us get out of bed in the morning (or not). This is the Truth that defines us.
To use an example – in When Harry Met Sally, when Harry meets Sally (sorry) at the New Years Eve party at the very end, the "truth" (yes, I know, it's fiction) is that Harry ran to the party to meet Sally. The "truth" is that he barely got to her before the clock struck midnight. The "truth" is all of the other events and meetings they have in their lives.
The Truth (notice the capital) is that sometimes our best friends become the ones we can't live without. The Truth is that love doesn't always happen prettily and that life doesn't turn out the way you expect it. The Truth is that happily ever afters can exist. Capital-T.
It's not the problem we have with the capital-Ts that messes us all up. It's the little ones. We should find meaning and philosophy in art, in movies, in TV. It's when we think these capital-T truths are little-Ts that we get lost.
Movies and TV are amplified versions of life. You don't see characters going to the bathroom and sleeping and working out so they don't put on those extra 2 pounds unless it's important to the story. These are glimpses, not the whole picture. We need to stop expecting our lives to have the same little-Ts.
It might be that nobody ever stands outside our window with a boombox blaring Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." We probably won't ever have that little-T truth. That doesn't mean we're without the capital-T of the same moment though. We just need to find it. We need to be able to see it.
And most importantly, we need to want to see it. That's how we find the capitals in our lower cases. That's how we start being happy with the piles of awesome we have around us. That's how fake love and fake lives get our of the way of our real ones.