Hi @Trishie ,
Thank you for taking the time and trouble of giving such an extensive answer.
I have to admit life these last years has given me a very negative outlook on social life. Especially so regarding truthfulness. (The business and rural worlds hold this in different forms, but there are common denominators.)
A family member warned me latter in life: “In 1000 you’ll find 1001 false persons”. (The inverse reason of the number given in Ben Sirá for choosing 1 confident among 1000 friends. )
I spoke at length with a seminarian last week, among the many reflections he put an emphasis on “dissimulation”. How he was surprised by its prevalence, and that it held a high functional value in that high-pressure academic small society he’s integrated in. We didn’t pursue -nor will I- this line of analyses.
(But he was categorical that “dissimulation” and “success” have a positive correlation, not without exceptions. I was led to wonder, could a lifetime of composure be a result of moral principles without strong underlying natural dispositions ? Virtue, in this case, is perhaps, more a furthering of a durable psychological pre-disposition formed during childhood, than the result of habitual cooperation with grace.)
And here we return some humanity, to what theology could have us believe as exclusively mystical. Or scripture presents as exclusively of wisdom.
In social terms, thus sociological, the same “durable disposition” can be acquired by prolonged belonging to a group endowed with its own pressures and sanctions (thus the Ómerta, the “law of silence”, that we rediscover in all sorts of professions, among them: the priesthood).
I was thinking about Blaisé Pascal, and his persona of the “semi-apt” who being endowed of wisdom and knowledge is, nevertheless, perpetually mal-adjusted to the societies he lives in.
Everyone participates in social life - not everyone participates in religious life. We may be taken to overlook by familiarity all the times social agents aren’t sincere by habitus, and so are perfectly adjusted to the specific social world they live in.