Have you ever had a realization what was causing a problem between you and another person, but were unable to express it? So much of what goes on between people is based on layers upon layers of social protocol that dilineate what we can say and what we can’t, that I suspect it’s actually painful for most people to break through those barriers, even when a situation calls for truth. And the ability to recognize and express difficult emotional truth is not a skill they teach you in school — at least not where I come from.
One of the appealing qualities of fiction is the opportunity to see people, on occasion, transcend those barriers. Of course in movies and theatre the entire situation has been carefully arranged to make this possible. Such a scene is meticulously sequenced, paced and staged, culminating in an apparently spontaneous moment of truth, which in reality was written and refined by professional writers over the course of months, and delivered by a highly trained actor. Often with, I might add, very flattering lighting.
Out here in the real world we don’t have this luxury. So how do we express these truths to each other? They say that alcohol has such an effect, but “in vino veritas” is largely an illusion. We rarely speak truth when drunk. Rather, we spout convenient epiphanies that merely sound like truth to a sodden mind.
If there were a pill we could take that would allow us to say exactly what we wished to say to each other, would people take that pill? Or, dangerous as such a thing almost certainly would be, would it immediately be declared illegal?