You’re Too Kind By Richard Stengel

John Locke said – we all “find pleasure to be deceived”
-> but we are getting better and better in recognizing flatter -> it is harder to be decieved -> harder to get pleasure

“At every level,” wrote the philosopher George Steiner, “the linguistic capacity to conceal, misinform, leave ambigues, hypothesize, and invent is indespensable to the equilibrium of human consiousness and the development of man in society.”

In the case of the failed prosecution of former secretary of agriculture Mike Espy for accepting illeagal gifts, the Supreme Court made an interesting distinction between gifts and gratituites or bribes. A gift, the court said, was something given for its own sake with no particular expectation of a return. A gratuity or a bribe was a gift in order to get something in return. it was the quid in the quid pro quo.

In a society where we live by the opinion of others, the stock of flattery should just go up and up. If we give disproportionate value to others’ opinions, why wouldn’t we give even more value to disproportionate praise? In a society where there is less personal or individual validation, flattery becomes more valuable. In that sense, we have a greater hunger for praise than ever before. It validates us to ourselves. It shores up our fragmented identities.And besides, it’s really, really nice.
-> analogy with financial crisis, companies lost own identity, do not know how much they worth -> nobody knows.

-> As in Louis 14 time, the intrigue became so intricate like their barocco it reaches a limit of complexity and rectifed in Victorian Classicism in both social life and art. Now as our flattery became so complex, we might go the same way


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