The conundrum lies in the perpetual conflict between oneself and others. The scope of that observation is far too vast to invite even a modest rendition. The simple explanation is that we humans are inextricably aligned to what is frequently a raging alliance with one another. It doesn't matter whether it is familial, friendly, romantic, commercial, legal or sexual. Whatever the association within the human sphere there is a percolating issue of singularity and duplicity - an inherent competition between the interests of oneself and others. Certainly these forces frequently conjoin - though to be clear not always for altruistic reasons (if indeed that even matters). When however there is a collision between the two, the arousal of a feature of invention is at times the most favourable outcome.
Strange though it may sound I have adopted the breadth of make-believe as an economic tool. And before you pshaw me for doing so, I remind you of the fraud which often attends material extravagance. Who I ask is the more pretentious person - he who has a little (but imagines he has a lot); or he who has a lot (but knows he has a little)? Here I believe the line between pretence and innuendo is very fine indeed! To be completely fair in this joust I have to acknowledge that both expressions are equally acceptable (and of course equally condemnable). Adopting the same device I have employed to obfuscate my own advancement, I must similarly tolerate the irreverence of others. The late Mark Twain for example - on the heels of initial celebrity - suffered threatening financial ruin and subsequently devoted himself to a lengthy European tour to seek to strengthen his success. It was imperative to him for personal reasons to maintain the "pretence" of a grand home complete with staff. In retrospect one wonders why all the fuss; but the immediacy of need invariably trumps its pragmatism.
Others such as Henry David Thoreau of Walden Pond fame translated his bucolic sparsity into transcendentalism. It is not the first romantic distortion of a country cottage - and every bit as palatable! You can see the evolving theme here - the promotion of reality as what we make it. Only last evening we watched again the telling story of Grey Gardens, the film depicting the everyday lives of two reclusive and formerly upper class women who lived in poverty at Grey Gardens, a derelict mansion in the wealthy Georgica Pond neighbourhood of East Hampton, New York. What lingered throughout the documentary account - and what proved in the end to be entirely tolerable - was the dedication of the women to their private reality. It is important to emphasize that this existence came at a cost. Achievement of honest purpose is never simple or easy. And you can't legislate for compassion.