The Lost Hope in a False Promise

When reflecting on my most recent experiences from Haiti, I have specifically started to analyse the idea of “a false promise”.  There appears to be a general feeling of entrapment in a transient state of passivity.  This means accepting whatever happens without any physical possibility to influence change or control life.

When being approached by touts, who try to sell items in desperation to survive, refusal is unacceptable because is seen as definitive and therefore, can be dangerous.  Giving false promises instead is much safer.  It creates and illusion of achievement, gives a glimmer of hope and allows to avoid conflict and confrontation.   It diffuses negative energy and silences nagging. It is an easy way out of an unwanted and undesirable situation.

Strong refusal simply equals aggression and harassment.  It can be also potentially dangerous.  It is threatening and can lead to acts of violence, assault and robbery.

I have started to develop the idea of incorporating words, which are associated with false promises into my painted and printed images.






To extend on my critical understanding of the concept of false promises, I have read a paperback titled “Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals” (2012) .  Following the digestion of the content of this document, I reflected and summarised my thoughts below.

Kant argues that, as a principle, it is crucial to treat others as you would treat yourself. This is his Golden Rule and it is central to his philosophy.

He also states that you should not use other people in ways to which they would not consent.  He totally rejects manipulation and control of people for the purpose of self-benefit. Therefore, all people should be treated as having dignity. This is Kant’s view of the ideal moral community using the conception of respecting others. The perfect community is a “kingdom of ends” in which people are never merely used by others.  No one acts on principles to which others could not consent.

Kant extends on these thoughts and proposes that certain ways of behaviour are wrong by definition and in every context.  He refers to the idea of false promises as always wrong, because they are not intended to be kept. Therefore, it is absolutely impossible to accept the idea of making false promises as this would lead to a total breakdown of trust. False promises are unacceptable, simply because there are not promises – they are dishonest lies.

Honesty and trust are the backbone of all human relationships.

The essence of life is about being able to establish and maintain these relationships.

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