Why Do We Need April Fool's Day When We're Being Made Fools of Every Day?

Published: 25th March 2016 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th March 2016 01:36 AM   |  A+A-

Not a single day passes without our being fooled. Go to a restaurant, and you are made to pay an enhanced bill with wrongly calculated taxes; you are forced to enter untrue statements in mortgage applications if you want your loan sanctioned; from the day a child is born into this world, s/he is brought up among lies, lies and more lies.

Cheating seems to have become a part of life. Take students, for example. They download material from the internet, exchange answers through smart phones and even become experts in faking exam scores. This academic dishonesty is perceptible even in colleges and universities; they have unlicensed buildings, unapproved courses and unauthorised degrees. Some institutions are noted for selling forged degrees and certificates.

Media and the internet have made blunders of epic proportions and mass cheating. They make you believe the vilest of things. Advertisers ensure you become a puppet and retailers the puppeteers who stealthily steer your hand into your wallet to make you buy things you don’t need’.

The ‘real’ in real estate is a farce, as the sector is notorious for its lack of transparency. On many occasions, buyers find themselves stuck with properties that have flaws and unapproved land. Even the highly educated become easy victims, like bankers who have been fooled by businessmen like Vijay Mallya.

There is no end to our being cheated. We can’t buy vegetables and fruits in good faith anymore, with carbide-ripened fruits and pesticide-dipped veggies being the most commonly available.

Everything is so deceptive, even finding life partners has become a gamble. With fanciful matrimonial advertisements misrepresenting facts, it results in conflicts and early separation.

Man is now so entrenched in the lies s/he tells, that to escape being caught, they tell more lies and are unable to come out of the vicious circle. S/he makes a fool of themselves and others too.

‘Buy one, get two free’ is just a tag line to empty old stock, but we gravitate towards shop windows displaying it. Even smartphone plans are advertised with the word ‘life-long’. Whose life are they referring to, most probably that of the instrument, which may be just one year.

Conmen coming to your home and fooling you with glib talk is old school. Now, a simple flash on your PC that says, “You are the lucky winner of millions of dollars,’ is sufficient to net you. Advertisements from multinationals brainwash even the most intelligent of people and make them gullible idiots falling prey to their charms. Not to mention election promises, which are nothing but lies wrapped in emotive speeches. Here, the voter knowingly falls into the trap.

Medical professionals too are increasingly becoming unscrupulous. They give false hope to relatives of terminally ill patients, extract lakhs of rupees within a week, only to convey “God’s will” to them and hand over the mortal remains.

Lawyers, who consider themselves a higher breed of intellectuals, deem it a proud privilege to speak nothing but lies, blaming it on the nature of the job, when in reality they expertly mislead people with impunity. Gurus, yogis, masters and evangelists do the same in the name of religion.

When we become so used to lies and deceit, the speaker of truth comes across as false and dangerous. This is because the impact of a true statement is inversely proportional to how deeply the lie is believed. It was not the world being round that agitated people, but the fact that the earth was not flat. When we are used to lies, truth seems utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic. “Lucky for the rulers, the common people don’t think,” Adolph Hitler is quoted to have said.

April Fools’ Day is observed throughout the world. Practices include sending someone on a fool’s errand, looking for things that don’t exist, playing pranks, and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things.

Psychologists use the technical term ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ which is taken advantage of by people who easily deceive everyone. Possibly everyone we know has had been made fools of some time or the other. Why then do we need a specific April Fools’ Day?

 vathsalaj@yahoo.com

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