chapter  3
21 Pages

Faking it

In this chapter, the author would like to make a plea for a more appreciative view of the varieties of faking it. Psychoanalytic theory has its favored dichotomies: objects and instincts, realities and fantasies, sexes and genders. But in the categories of discourse predating psychoanalysis—in that Old World animated by vanity, pride, honor, and self-command—part of the human spirit was captured by another contrasting pair: knaves and fools. Knaves deceive and fools succumb to the deceit of others. Anxiety, from this point of view, is less about forbidden impulses threatening to surface than about the peripheral awareness that we might be engaged in a confidence game. An obvious example of faking it is the common experience of the novice feigning self-assurance in a new role. The uneasiness of faking it can also be a way of questioning the purity of one's own motives.