top of page

The Feldman Confession -- How the Truth Hinders Social Motives

Updated: Apr 30

Individuals' Struggle Against Insignificance

As a society and as people altogether, some if not most of us aspire to be one thing away from being good-for-nothing, a "waste-of-space", so to speak, a "Klumnik," as it is said in my native tongue.

We strive to be productive not only to contribute to society, and not only to afford our living expenses, but also to make a name for ourselves. To look in the mirror and say, "Here is someone who has done something in their lives, and has not lived it thus far with much waste, that was not a parasite of society and/or family". As to whether this aspiration is genuinely individual or a product of socialization, that is another matter. The morality of the means to get just that, is also another matter.

It is so because much of the value we place on people and on ourselves is conditional. It is reflected in social conversations as well, and indicates one of the reasons society is unfair: There are people whose significance is seen as greater. And it is mainly so because the world is today is very much a meritocracy; you either succeed in some way and thus gain love, respect and recognition, or be casted aside as irrelevant.

Although the concept of human dignity as a right exists, people are always prone to poor treatment and degradation by others. However, while it cannot be completely eradicated, attaining success in life and being an overall decent person is a good way to preserve the likelihood of being respected by others. The gentleman knows it well.

However, some people do not have the same access to opportunities as others, further hallmarking the general inequality existing in this world. And as such, some people are likelier to attain the respect of others, than other people.

After all, respect for the most part is gained, not granted by default. People who contribute little and/or nothing to society, whether by disability or by incompetence, will be likelier to be looked down upon than those who are integral parts in communities and/or organizations.

Nothingness As a Socio-Existential Theme

And there is a certain character from an Israeli comedy show, named after his own director, Ron Feldman, who has the courage -- or the unawareness -- to admit that he's a "klumnik". He lives his life from day to day, between job to job, not knowing for sure what purpose he wants to have in his small life. He spends most of his days either being on errands or wasting his life away through life's small pleasures -- being with his friends, trying to find true love, getting high to substances.

Whenever someone asks him what he's doing in life, he'll bluntly say "nothing", not really aware of the fact that he is in his 30s with no higher education, no career, no relationship and no kids. The people around him either see him as weird or even reject him from their company. They have already done what is expected of them: Achieve success in any way that is acceptable and/or impressive.

He is also a generally unimpressive man, even being rejected by a woman one time simply for being slightly shorter than her as the sole reason. He often walks with a grey shirt and jeans. He's a classic example of a concept I devised called the Reverse Individuality Theory.

Ron is a very honest character, even though he is not particularly blunt or rough. He rarely had breakdowns. Regardless of the things he tried to do, some people took advantage of him, seeing him as an inferior being, either seriously or for the show's comedy. The show, after three seasons, stays where it started. At point "A", the point of being "good-for-nothing". He did not find true love. He did not find a steady career, and it is unknown if Ron will find any of these.

In one of the more philosophical kinds of episodes, Ron finds an apartment where someone used to live and died. In Judaism, we have something called a "Shiva". It's a period of 7 days where the deceased's family mourns over the death of their beloved. The door of the house remains open to guests and anyone who wants to comfort the grieving relatives. It is used to assist the family and close friends in dealing with death in a caring way. It is also a way to honor the person who has died.

The thing about that episode's beginning, is that the deceased was a "clone" of Ron himself. He was also called Ron Feldman and was also a "Klumnik". His life was insignificant, he watched TV all day and was busy smoking, which is basically who the original Feldman have been doing.

In a typical plot, that deceased man could serve as an inspiration for the protagonist to change his ways, and work harder towards success; a call for change towards a transformation towards his ideal self. However, that arc didn't even begin, as it changed nothing.

In another episode, he searched for a woman he knew and had met before, only to find out she was a lesbian. And all the few jobs he had, were all temporary. Jobs that you might find a person far younger than him doing, such as pizza delivery and so on.

Generally, all the arcs in this show are fleeting, rarely leading to a significant, pivotal event. All arcs eventually end in loss and rejection, and the protagonist returns to his original state: A state of loneliness. Arguably, it's an original state we all share because we can always end up being alone either by presence or by feeing alienated and misunderstood.

If we delve further, seclusion is one of the three expressions of void, along with silence and space. And of course, nothingness and void are one and the same. It isn't expressed merely in metaphysics or even in philosophy in general but also in society. Even in consumerism, people buy to fulfill an area of nothingness within them.

In Seinfeld, the characters have their own ways of achieving success. Jerry is a known comedian, George has his own small successes, Eileen is an attractive woman with a rich dating experience, and Kremer is an eccentric entrepreneur. Even Newman, arguably the show's antagonist, is competent at being a mailman. However, what "Ron" succeeds in illustrating, in contrast to "Seinfeld", is true nothingness.

It is as if portraying void of meaning is an art of itself.

There is no hero who is entitled to something, there is no grand ambition in hand. There are no villains to defeat, and there are no antagonistic forces to oppose. The plot carries itself throughout Ron's life apathetically, while we are all aware of how insignificant Ron is. One of his brothers, who is just as "klumnik" as him, is a physically-unfit sibling who lives with his parents and watches TV all day.

Society only cares about you if you extend yourself beyond the default status you've been born into. Those who won't, will not be respected and will not be loved, as both require the initative to build one's character, have ambitions and working towards them. It is no surprise that in one episode a woman who took interest in him literally ran away because she realized what Ron is.

Having a kind heart doesn't cut it in a world built on empire builders and ambitious charismatic personalities. A kind heart impresses less than power or high status, certainly doesn't pay the bills, and by itself is boring to many. Not only to lovers but to friends as well.

The Audacious/Tactless Feldman Confesion

To admit that you are an "empty" person in front of others, a person with no impressive achievements whatsoever, while being in your 30s without a clear plan in mind... It's something that requires either a lot of courage, or a lot of stupidity.

Why stupidity? Because hiding the fact that you are not an "empty" person, both professionally and educationally, is not something that a wiser person will just say to people without any filtering. Hence, I'd like to coin the term, The Feldman Confession.

As the show came to an end, Ron adopted a certain ability -- the ability to lie. In the few times he lied about himself to people, these were the only times he was viewed with an actual impression and above-average respect. As far as I remember, there were only two times he did so, and they were all in the final season.

In the first one, he told someone he was an actor, even though he had yet to actually perform beyond rehearsals. And in the show's finale, he told a few women he was a TV director (which is true in real life, but not in the show). Beyond the ability to lie, Ron has developed no abilities and did not learn anything during his "journey".

If anything, Ron learned that he will only be respected and even admired if he lied. This further highlights the unfortunate human condition also indicated in a short story by Mr. John Duran, "For the King's Royal Pleasure": People unconsciously want to be lied to with the things they would like to hear.

Theoretically, no one likes to be seen as tiny in social, family, or romantic relationships. By "tiny," I mean insignificant. It's something that makes people wonder, "Why is he or she still stuck there" and "Perhaps I should keep him or her away from my life". Not only does it make it harder to relate to the person, but it also leaves a bad impression on the guy, especially if it's on a date or in an interview.

Humanity as a Privilege

"Humanity used to be a God-given right. Now, it's a privilege. You follow the rules, I allow you to keep it. But when you don't, you must lose your humanity" -- Dr. Ivo Robotnik, Sonic (2013 fan film)

And the thing is, there are people like that. They're products of either a set of circumstances or of themselves or both. Either voluntarily or not, they are losers and underachievers. The rule of society is that one needs to offer value to it to gain its favour. And should you be outside of it, or worse, give mundane value, you will be dismissed as too unimportant for consideration.

This is why you need to know yourself better if you wish to become something in life. I'm not talking necessarily about being a "big shot", or an influential figure. Rather, being something people will remember you fondly for. If not through power, than by the impression you leave on others. Any impression that others would find appealing enough, will grant them a "permission" to consider you relevant enough.

And it's only important as long as you wish to be worthy in the eyes of either yourself, others, or both.

Finally, within these "empty" people (for lack of a better term), there are those who have the "privilege" of not caring at all about their lives in terms of importance and success. They don't care what people will think of them or if they will leave an impact on the world, of whatever kind.

Ron is the type of klumnik who is honest about his lack of importance. However, he nonetheless tries to do things, occasionally, even without getting any permanent success. That's the most inspiring thing we could salvage from this character -- the fact that he is open minded enough to try things. And not remain a pure good-for-nothing like his brother, which can be seen as a diminished version of Ron; the very same type of klumnik Ron could've become without his futile efforts.

And it's better to at least try than not try at all. It is therefore possible to admit your lack of achievements without just staying in that state. Those who may think you're not trying just because of your current under-achievement, succumb to their own confirmation bias.

And I myself am trying my best alright,

107 views0 comments


Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

bottom of page