How we can become razzle dazzled by our own thoughts
The first time I traveled to Rome, I fell in love with the architectural beauty of the city. History was lived and breathed within its walls and I stood in awe of it all.
I also marveled at the apparent lack of overt appreciation exhibited by its locals. I wondered how they could live in such beauty and not be enamoured of it each and every day.
It seems, as with most things, familiarity breeds a certain amount of complacency and Rome's citizens were not immune. The beauty and history of its buildings seemed invisible to their eyes.
This memory, oddly enough, brings to mind the Broadway musical and movie, Chicago.
For those unfamiliar with it, the show tells the story of the 1924 trials of two female murderesses who became enamoured with their own fame and celebrity and engage a lawyer by the name of Billy Flynn to razzle and dazzle the jury in order to gain their acquittal.
During one of the musical numbers, Billy Flynn explains exactly how he will secure their freedom. He sings,
"Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle
Razzle dazzle 'em
Give 'em a show that's so splendiferous
Row after row will crow vociferous
Give 'em the old flim flam flummox
Fool and fracture 'em
How can they hear the truth above the roar?"
In other words, engage in a series of distractions that serve to overpower and overwhelm the truth.
Be loud and outrageous and most certainly righteous in your claim...so much so that the truth becomes invisible to the jury.
As an audience member, we can "see" exactly what is going on; we see the manipulation and flagrant mishandling of the truth.
We see the seduction of the jury and we wonder...
How can they be fooled?
How can they not see the truth behind all of the noise?
Actually, quite easily.
And it is something that we innocently do within our own minds every single day.
Consider the number of times we've listened to the loud razzle dazzle outrageous and most certainly righteous claims within our own heads that say we're not...
good looking enough,
enough, enough, enough.
Much like the jury, we become seduced by the noise...distracted by its incessant chatter and malevolent sincerity.
We innocently assume that the loudest voice with the most razzle dazzle (in the form of evidence from our past and emotional heft in our present), deserves the most consideration.
All at once we become like the locals in Rome, oblivious to the beauty that lies within their city
we become the jury in Chicago, overwhelmed by our very own internal Billy Flynn.
And left in the wake,
ready to be seen
upon our own awakening
lies the truth.
We are the visitors of Rome, continually awed by the beauty within.
We are the audience of Chicago, completely immune to the razzle dazzle of our Billy Flynns.