Do You Prefer Superficiality Over Depth?

charles_peguy.jpg“A word is not the same with one writer as it is with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.
                                                    – Charles Péguy

Mr Péguy died in 1914. He had Mercury in Sagittarius and his Sun conjunct Saturn in Capricorn.

I thought the comments on this post were interesting and not at all what I expected. It made me follow up with a second post, “Preferring Superficiality Over Depth.”  This update merges the two posts from 2009.

I was considering this along the lines of someone who tells you that they love you.

wellThe words, “I love you”, spoken by one person can mean something different than what they may mean if spoken by another.   One person speaks from their soul. The other pulls the words from their shirt pocket!

I recall suggesting to client, she quit lying to men. She was forever telling them she was going to love them forever, no matter what. It just wasn’t true.

It’s interesting, a lot of people prefer do the superficial version. It’s telling, even when you add the context.

What are your thoughts?

54 thoughts on “Do You Prefer Superficiality Over Depth?”

  1. The one taking it out of an overcoat pocket, to me, is usually detached and objective, has good perspective on life, in the sense that things don’t get to him easily. He’s taken the word out of his coat, holds it in his hand and observes it, displays it to others, doesn’t need it.

    The other is emotionally enmeshed, I would think, and lays it out there and battles with it, it kind of controls him. He needs to defeat it or be defeated. His passion is his display, as opposed to the word itself. (Although the detached reaction is also a display, but the focus is on the word.)

    1. Ten years later, and I have literally no idea what I was talking about in the above comment LOL.

      I couldn’t be superficial if I tried. And I have tried, but you can tell. I can’t even fake smile.

  2. Avatar


    I already know I’m the first one. The one that must take it out of the gut. It’s hard not to personalize these descriptions. Hours upon hours, days upon sleepless days of writing a paper, while peers whiz through a 5-pager with an all-nighter. And then, people tell me to try to B.S. my way through it… O_o I don’t know how to B.S., peoples!

    Woot…. that’s Capricorn energy as a young person for ya. (Mercury-Saturn conjunct)

    The second is very much Gemini energy. It’s a breeze for them to pull words (and new words) out of their many coat pockets. Or maybe Mercury-Uranus folks have got this. Writing is an activity, a fun way to play with words. aka Wordplay. Everything is at their finger tips. They don’t cry over it, it’s not a product ripped out of their souls. Cause, well, it’s B.S. Though, haha, oftentimes pretty damn artful/skillful B.S. and wordplay.

    e e cummings.

    This is just my point of view and I love e e cummings.

  3. One person’s strength in saying what he means well and with a passion others can understand is not easy for someone else, who may struggle to get across the same feeling/thought.

    I guess it goes for everything, really. Everyone has strength and weakness.

  4. I see it terms of a song writer. The words of the song are either felt or thought.

    “One tears it from his guts.” The person writing the song knows how it feels. Like Don Gibson’s words “Sweet dreams of you every night I go through”

    “The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.”
    The person writing this song has thought about this. Like Sting saying “Then I went off to fight some battle that I’d invented inside my head”

  5. Both have value. Everybody has their own voice. I like some writers, and can’t stand some others. Instantly get what some are trying to say, and am baffled by others. With some, I don’t bother trying, with others, I give it time. Thing is, when people don’t get me, I’m often pained. I need to feel understood.

  6. Oh yeah. When I was in a philosophy class we went from Kant (Libra) to Hegel (Virgo) to Marx (Aries) and you so could tell. Placid, carefully constructed texts to vibrant passionate declarations. It was striking.

    1. Those declarations were structured as rhetoric to inflame and manipulate the poor.. that was by design

      In that way it was calculated

  7. Avatar
    Little Miss Hermit

    Yes, at lest in fiction – which is why I’m such a big fan of Dostevsky:)

    In the realm of ideas, it sees to depend on my synastry with the writer – like I got Heidegger instantly, whose Sun is on my Mercury-Pluto conjunction as it turned out:)

  8. Yes, things mean different things to different people.

    I had been told I was loved in the past by previous boyfriends yet it wasn’t till I started going through real challenges with my husband that I noticed that his words and actions of love are really deep and sincere.

    The rest of his actions can be very superficial (he owns it, he’s Sagittarius rising) and I appreciate the lighter times (Gemini moon and mars, mercury angular and conjunct IC.)

    I like depth/profundity in my close personal and working relationships with sprinkles of superficiality and lightness. Yet the depth needs to be there at the core or in time I drift away as I ended up learning.

    I try to talk from my heart or my head. I said something early this year which I didn’t mean: told a neighbour I’d like to have tea with her when I’m really not bothered – nor is she I sense – as we’re in different life chapters.

    Well, I said that from my overcoat pocket, and I regretted it shortly after.

    Elsa, thank you for re-posting this post and Péguy’s words.

    I’d never heard them – and they are Wow!

      1. But why does depth require being dragged into a sewer necessarily?

        Superficiality is a word with a negative connotation in our society. Copping to it is like copping to being vain.

  9. I don’t agree. I know legions of people who don’t want to be bogged down and I don’t think they’d care what you call it. They know their view is legitimate. If you don’t like it, they’ll move on because that’s the point and this is their lifestyle.

    You and I may live in different societies, though. That’s big mistake right there, when people think that other people think when they don’t.

    This may interest you:

    1. I have encountered this very recently. I bogged someone down real bad with my need for depth. She had no patience for it. We were so incompatible that we just stopped hanging out. It is what it is.

    2. Ahhh I mean the country might be the same. I’m just voicing my reservation with the term. I haven’t known anyone who’s taken being called ‘superficial’ as a compliment. There’s that whole movie Shallow Hal. Superficial often connotes judging people by their appearance alone.

      1. It just seems like a ‘cake or death’ question.

        I’d argue I like emotional depth but do not like to have long political arguments which can be seen as the province of more airy types.

    3. When I think of depth, I think it can be defined in several ways. There’s philosophical and rational (‘brainy’) depth, mystical or religious depth, emotional depth which can mean Piscean empathy or Scorpionic depth.. I think the term is also hard to pin down. Only one of them connotes sewage. Also I would say that Libras don’t mind a knock down drag out philosophical debate if we’re going to generalize.

      1. I tend to agree with you Kri. As a water sign with an 8th house moon, I need a deep, real connection, but only with no more than 3 people maximum in my life. Quality over quantity. That deeper connection is so fulfilling, is love to me. Yes, I can have acquaintances with airy and/or fiery/earthy people and enjoy them. But it’s the deep, feeling, compassionate soul connections that I’ve had that make life worth living for me. I can trust those people with my vulnerability and heal from life’s wounds, share life’s deep joys, etc. I once compared this to living in black & white, or full color. Not everyone can handle it. I think it depends on who you are, your emotional maturity and capacity, empathy,etc. Astrology has taught me to accept others as to where they’re coming from. But me – give me the passion, or I’ll die from superficiality.

  10. Im a guts person, but I can joke around and be light. Deep doesn’t necessarily mean dark or heavy. Mercury conjunct Moon in Scorpio in the 11th.

  11. Sometimes superficiality is what you do because dealing with everyone’s depths will just result in chaos. Someone has to hold the line for agreed terms of behaviour. This is sorely missing now.

    I have Libra. Never underestimate Libra. We can all shriek and scream, takes real power to say “Put that all aside. We will never get to the bottom of you suffering and mine. Let us just talk without rancour.”

  12. I agree! And I admire superficial people, greatly, in certain circumstances. Like at a funeral, for example. I am so grateful for people who can greet people coming to a funeral and make them feel comfortable. It’s a great skill. I couldn’t do it.

    It just shows how we can complement each other. It reminds me of a funeral I attended awhile back. One of the primary family members was so stricken by the sudden death, she started drinking… she was not a drinker. Consequently, she wound up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning. But someone was able to go get her… walked her to the front pew so she did not miss the funeral mass, which is something she’d have had to live with.

    The person who managed this was in their head.

    I wish people could just be allowed to be as they we’re created, rather than constantly expected to make modifications.

    Getting breast implants is a good example of this. I think the younger generations are going to pass on that kind of thing.

    The way I see it, both people at that funeral were a-ok.

    It’s like the sea. These are different kinds of fish at different levels. This is normal!

    1. Elsa, I don’t think anyone is truly superficial or deep. We are all just people. Some people think they are deep and sensitive if they roar and scream and make demands on other people without for one single moment thinking of those people and what they can bear. Or wha what they want or need from you.

      Some supposedly superficial people are actually better companions here because they don’t require you to engage with their effing drama all the time, and they will get you to the church on time.

      But above all, I have to wonder at the sheer arrogance of labelling people as deep or shallow. Like, who made any of us the judge?

      You don’t have a window into other’s souls.

      And Merry Christmas to you and yours, Elsa. You have done a lot of good.

      1. Choufleur, I think I chose my husband as he’s not dramatic or needy (what I can be at times – one person in the couple like that is plenty for me.)

        Aquarius IC – like it light and different at home.

    2. I agree completely with this.

      Superficial people are very complementary and are super helpful in some life/death situations (e.g. funerals, visiting and helping fatally ill people – just don’t expect them to hang around for long after the death which is okay), family events, and practical matters.

      The right to be superficial is legitimate.

      With my mix of Water and 8th house personal planets and Air personal planets and Leo Midheaven and Uranus rising I have both, depth and superficiality.

      My husband and his family are superficial in general and although he lives with my depth my husband’s Sag rising gets my superficial side too. He just often needs to go away to another room to not be bogged down by my need for depth (it’s ok, my girlfriends aren’t bogged down.)

      With his family I use all my air and Leo MC energies when I notice they’ve had enough depth (5 minutes tops.) They don’t live locally, hehe.

  13. The positive trait is called ‘polite’, ‘diplomatic,’ ‘cordial’, or ‘civilized’.

    Fake and superficial is the negative. There is a huge difference between being fake and being cordial in my opinion.

  14. The negative connotation to the word “superficial” has been assigned at some point in time, unbeknownst to me!

    You can have a superficial injury for example which is a GOOD thing. A superficial cut is not a DEEP cut and that’s what the word actually means.

    Most people on planes, prefer to have a superficial conversation with their seatmate rather than a deep one.

    It’s like I hit some trigger word. Well, I’m sorry. But I am not going to explain or defend myself anymore.

    If you want to hold people to your personal standard and definition of words, on a platform like the internet that people all over the world, can access, of any and all ages – good luck!

    But if you hear me, next time you have a superficial injury, maybe you’ll realize your good fortune! 🙂

    1. I have to admit I’ve heard the word superficial used in a negative way more often than not, so definitely misinterpreted your meaning.

      Reflecting on that I can see the need for superficiality (with or without negative connotation, truthfully). Without it, we’d all be drowning in the figurative depths and go insane. In fact, coming up to breathe can be such a relief! (Speaking from experience 🙂 )

  15. I suppose the key rests with the intention of the speaker in a given context. Whether one truly means what he or she utters, or whether words are words, uttered without care of significance or consequences.

    I often find myself stopping frequently at saying things and regretting things I have said earlier. I have to work for each words I have spoken, not only because of the absence of Air signs in my chart but also the heavy emphasis in my natal 8th house. Words cut me deeply, and perhaps from that awareness, I often fear offending others.

  16. Maybe the word superficial is like the energy of planets: neutral until applied!
    Sure stirs up a lot of discussion though.
    But very interesting too.

    1. Like I said, up thread. I know a lot of people who really don’t want to get into it. FIFTY PERCENT!

      Now they may have a Pluto transit and be taken downstairs but crap! It’s like the Mercurial signs, dealing with Neptune (in Pisces at this time). They may learn to deal with it. Some of the might enjoy if but I feel confident to say, at least half them can’t wait for this period to pass. Hah!

      I compare to losing money on a stock, you feel or even know, will turn around and come back up. You’re going to be much happier once the dip is behind you.

      Life and people just aren’t that simple but we’re constantly taught that they are.

      All men want big breasted women.
      Um… I think most men would prefer a regular breasted woman, who is interesting, loyal and trustworthy.

      I’m talking about, reality, now. REALITY.

  17. This is great stuff for me. Helps me turn over a sluggish mind and body energy due Seasonal Affective Disorder – by October the low light has me doing the survival doggie paddle.

    Yeah – I’ve got Mars and Venus in Scorpio so depth and intensity just are so natural and sometimes too habitual. Libra Sun I think is at times panting for the LIGHT touch. A good reminder too about Aquarian energy – I’ve noticed those cool folks who don’t go deep and yet people feel nicely charged after being in their presence. I have to work not to feel envious or jealous.

    Elsa’s funeral example is really on point. I am grateful for people who can keep things moving. I’ve noticed front men and women in bands often get grumpy comments from their band mates – and yet that job of keeping things light and open for the group is a real talent.

    1. This is a general comment, not directed at anyone here.

      #1 It occurs to me that some people take themselves very seriously. You would have to, to think everyone sees things the way you to.

      I mention this, not to be a bitch but because I think it’s key. There are billions of people. Most of them are NOT like you and don’t share your views. If a person can understand and internalize this, it will be greatly liberating/

      #2 The internet is not LIFE. Get out there and talk and be with people, face to face. When you do this, it becomes clear, you really are different then other people. Understanding this, you would never expect them to see something they way you do.

      I may have an advantage here, in that I talk to people from all over the world, daily, and I have for 30 years. If you can just imagine that, clearly I would know that an Indian woman is not the same at a gal from Brazil or a man for New York or whatever.

      3. People do not need to be punished for not thinking the way you do. What the hell?

      Again, these are just thoughts, offered to people who may be seeking clarity here. Judging from the comments, there are people doing exactly that.

      1. Amen.

        If what you seek is to be understood, remember so does everyone else. As a wise statesman once remarked in the UK parliament ” I wish I was as cocksure of anything as Milord is of everything”


  18. I thought it was funny reading an interview once with the artist and songwriter, Sia, as she said that she and Adele butted heads because Sia doesn’t overthink her lyrics or they don’t all have a lot of meaning for her… it is more so getting the job done and or pulling words out to be clever. Whereas, for Adele it is quite the opposite she was explaining and is a deep process that almost was obnoxious for her. She was saying this all with good spirit of course, too… naturally.

    Sia Sadge Sun opposes Moon Mars in Gemini… and Adele has Sun in Taurus opposite Pluto Scorpio.

    1. That’s a good example. I have another one.
      Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier starred in a movie together; Marathon Man. Both are considered exceptional actors.

      To prepare for his role, Hoffman went without sleeping or bathing for three days. He beat himself to a pulp. He showed up on the set like that and, Olivier, said, “Or you could just act.”

      Story told by Hoffman. 🙂

  19. I am grateful for my Libra, Gemini and Aquarius.

    If I had relied on my deep profound Scorpio 8th house placements, I would have been dead a long time ago.

    Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. That is Scorpio for you. I would not have minded that much.

    But I would have been a dreadful bore.

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