What is Future Faking?

I could have been living the life of Esme, the main character in The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, going through my days learning new words. When I am reading and I come across a new word, I use a dictionary and make notes. New words are intriguing. I like to share a (to me) new word and accompany it with some personal reflections and artwork.

FUTURE FAKING

Future Faking is when a person lies or promises something regarding your future in order to get what they want in the present. It is often used in the context of men telling lies to women. For instance, a man does not like to bring a relationship to the next level but also do not like his girlfriend dating others, thus promising a future. His lies sound like ‘When I introduce you to my parents’ or ‘When we go on holiday together’. That is future faking (if it turns out to be a lie). The same counts for gifts, inheritances, and rewards. ‘Take care (of me), work hard, stay loyal, and one day you will receive a reward’. Or, ‘One day I will deal with my indebtedness towards you’. But that day never comes. The rewards or gifts never materialize, hence the faked future.

Apparently, women suffer more from future faking than men. When it comes to trust, women are more gullible (forgive me this generalization). Perhaps this is because women do not easily negotiate proper payment, deadlines, promotions, or rewards (forgive me also this generalization). A woman asking for a raise, a promotion, or expenses is often seen as unbecoming, over-assertive. Because the natural state of a woman should be voluntary caring anyway, so way pay?

MY EXPERIENCE & MY ADVICE

I have suffered a good dose of future faking, both personally as well as business-wise. Once, I was promised a compensation for caring/assistive work that I had done for many years. After waiting and waiting, I mustered the courage and asked for it (friendly). What followed was moral indignation and conflict. Instead of being compensated, I was shamed. Not the person -who for years ‘forgot’ or postponed to compensate me- was being accused of being shameful, but me a woman asking for a compensation was breaking traditional rules.

I also have a word of caution for young (or new) female artists. Beware of future faking whilst building a business as an artist. ‘Exhibit your art for free’ -followed by a future faking- ….’and you will gain a lot of exposure’. And that will bring in sales. Or, ‘Let me do some P.R. for your art’. Or ‘You will gain followers‘, which are exactly that ‘followers‘, not customers. I believed it, foolishly. But the promised results never happened; the only thing that de facto happened was giving away art for free. My advice is to never take the future-faking-bait. You should always make signed arrangements on paper or draft a contract to prevent future faking.

Are you now more aware of future faking before you knew the word? Do you have a more acute awareness of this manipulative trick?

ILLUSTRATING FUTURE FAKING

When it comes to choosing an illustration for this blog-post, my head swirled with stories. God and Moses and the opening of the seas? No. That was a case of a kept promise. ‘(Exodus 14:21) Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” Moses reaches the holy land. No future faking.

I have chosen Orpheus and Eurydice trying to walk out of the Underworld to illustrate this blog-post.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld, 1861

Hades, god of the Underworld, promises that Orpheus is allowed to guide Eurydice out of the Underworld as long as he does not look back at his beloved Eurydice during their perilous journey. What does this mean?

In Hades’s Underworld dwell those who have died. Orpheus can’t accept that Eurydice has died and thus has parted from him. Orpheus descends into the Underworld to plea for his reunification with Eurydice. Hades promises Orpheus a future with Eurydice however Hades’s promise is conditioned: Orpheus is not allowed to look back at Eurydice during their journey out of the Underworld.

During their journey, Eurydice is in tremendous need for support, and constantly begs Orpheus to check on her during the long and perilous journey to the end of the Underworld. Imagine the darkness, the horrors. Moments before stepping out of the Underworld, Orpheus can’t ignore Eurydice’s need for his encouragement anymore. He looks over his shoulder to Eurydice (‘Is she still there?) and by doing that he irretrievably loses his Eurydice to Hades again. He was just about to live with Eurydice again and have a future with her, when he loses her again). The suspense in this story is breath-taking and has inspired musicians, writers, and painters forever).

Hades knows beforehand that it is impossible for Eurydice to leave the underworld. As long as Eurydice dwells in the Underworld and does not see daylight, the natural order of things (Eurydice being dead) is not breached. Read: ‘no-one is brought back to life after having died’ but close to entering daylight, Orpheus loses Eurydice because Hades will never give up his power over his realm of death. However, this does not withhold Hades from perfectly preying on the deep longing of Orpheus for Eurydice.

The moment Orpheus looks at Eurydice, she slips back into the underworld.
Orpheus and Eurydice by Carl Andreas August Goos  (1797–1855) 

Hades foresees that Orpheus will feel an overwhelming urge to support the vulnerable Eurydice along their journey. Is she still following his footsteps? Has she fallen back? Does she still trust him when he is not making eye contact with her? Has the darkness swallowed her? Orpheus loses Eurydice but he was never able to retrieve her from the underworld in the first place. Odysseus is deceived by Hades. Hades has made a false -future- promise. Orpheus and Eurydice being united again after her death? No. Impossible. Too good to be true, future faking in hindsight.

Perhaps the end of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is the most haunting. Orpheus has given it all; he has ‘convinced’ Hades and has tried to guide Eurydice out of the Underworld. Yet, he loses Eurydice twice. A double heartbreak is too much for Orpheus. He becomes so pitiable, being alone (again), that he is murdered by malicious wood nymphs. Perhaps Orpheus’ death symbolizes that something dies after a breach of trust.

Death of Orpheus (1494) by Dürer

Future Faking has inspired writers to great stories and artists to haunting paintings. Forgive yourself when you have been a victim of future faking, but don’t make the same mistake twice.

THE MORALE:

Future faking is a highly manipulative method; its relational or emotional damage should not be underestimated.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer
Commission artist living in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and owner, artist, and writer at Mindfuldrawing.com. Mindfuldrawing.com is a personal blog full art, art-appreciation, art-musings, and essays on art plus artwork made by Paula Kuitenbrouwer.

Paula holds an MA degree in Philosophy and she is the owner of mindfuldrawing.com. Her pen and pencils are always fighting for her attention nevertheless they are best friends; Paula likes her art to be brainy and her essays to be artistic.

Paula has a lovely Etsy shop here. Her Instagram account serves as an online portfolio and is here.

Contact Paula freely by email or a contact form for commissioned artwork.