Every virtue- diligence, honesty, fairness, integrity- has its antonym representing the opposite pole. Diligence has sloth , honesty has dishonesty, fairness has unfairness, integrity has lack of integrity and good has evil.
A person can be fair or unfair. They may be scrupulously honest or grossly dishonest. They may be diligent or slothful. They might be benevolent or malevolent. Either end of the spectrum tells you where you are with them. You’ll know how to deal with them. If they are honest you can trust them; if they are not you are free to protect yourself from them. There is still an integrity about them. They are what they are and they stand beside it without trying to hide their true selves.
You will, however, be up the creek without a paddle when you are dealing with someone who counterfeits their virtue. Counterfeit, the ultimate form of hypocrisy.
When they counterfeit virtue, they will be dishonest but will pretend to be honest and upright. You will naturally trust them. You’ll notice the knife in the back much later. They will have slipped it in when they put their arms around you for a hug. You’ll die without knowing what killed you.
They may be unfair but present themselves to you as conscientiously fair. They will use endless words to create an illusion for you. The illusion will look real, like a stage prop expertly executed. There will be paint and camouflage. There will be thin sticks holding up figures of seemingly invincible heroes. Your sense will be further deluded because you will see the props fleetingly from a distance. The garish floodlights will distort the contours even more. There will be no substance behind the things you will see. None at all.
Why do they do it? Is it to gain something from you… rob you of your wealth? Sometimes, but not always.
Most of the times they counterfeit virtue because they want the respect the world grants only to a virtuous person. They want to be lauded for the things they did not do. They want to rub shoulders with the giants of spirit whose stature they cannot match. They have no other way of being included in that exclusive club. Virtue is the price of entry there and they are bankrupt. So they pretend.
Why don’t they genuinely become virtuous if they covet the adulation so much? Oh! But you see, it is such a strain to keep the spine straight all the time! The effort would be a 24x7x365 thing- and that’s too much. Never a day, never a moment off. They would have to be virtuous even when they were alone. It will be like wearing tight boots all the time. They don’t want that kind of strain!
They want to be able to dress up in their finery when they meet you. Once they’ve knocked your eyes out and had your admiration poured respectfully at their feet, they want to come home and take those tight clothes and boots off. Their flesh which had been squeezed into apparel too small for it, would need to be let loose. They will get into their roomy, faded tee and loll about. They can let their stomach protrude and their spine curve. They can relax and be their real selves.
When they have company, or they are going out, they’ll wear their tight clothes again. You see? Easy and so very convenient!
Remember the Big Bad Wolf? Beware!
Image from the Internet.