Deception of oneself,
one's own person.
There is a lot
of deception and self-deception
in the world and in society. One problem here of a logical and
psychological kind is that whereas it is obvious how and why persons can
deceive other persons, it is not obvious how they can deceive
The answer comes in several steps.
First, there is no reason to believe that people are not capable of
believing their own lies. Indeed, to a considerable extent this is
necessary to play any social
role whatsoever: You must pretend that you
are a so-and-so and feel such-and-such, also if you don't think you are
much of a so-and-so and anyway would like to do and feel something else,
and be elsewhere.
Second, there are many ways to tamper with one's
evidence and retain one's
prejudices: By not reading or listening
to any book, paper or argument that does not already support one's own
ideas; by turning a blind eye to any event
that goes against one's prejudgments; by
following one's own leaders of one's opinions; by freely indulging
in wishful thinking whenever
that seems helpful to retain one's beliefs or values; and generally by
remaining as uneducated and
unscientific as one
can be concerning those opinions one desires to retain.
Third, one always can resort to all manner of logical
fallacies, consciously or unconsciously.
Indeed, it is surprising how crude the fallacies may be in order to be
accepted by those who desire to retain their beliefs come what may.
A favourite one, through the centuries, was 'my country
(party, religion, authority, boss, colleagues, friends, family) right or
wrong' - in short: I believe it because My Kind Of Folks believe it:
"I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all."
Fourth, failing all of the above one can always become a
post-modernist or a
relativist: Simply insist that
does not exist at all and that all moral opinions are equally valid, and
you never can be refuted and you always are morally justified whatever
you believe or do. It's so easy and so satisfying!
In short, the means for self-deception are many, varied, and tested
and found to work through the ages, and the motives for self-deception
have always been great: Life often is painful, and it sure feels better
if you deceive yourself about it.