We are indeed the product of our environment, on the other hand the environment is what we ourselves build.
Thus how can the environment change us if we built the environment that influences us by the same qualities, nature we want to change?! In other words, can we “pull ourselves up by pulling out own hair”?!
We can’t change ourselves without the right environment influencing us, and we can’t build the right environment without changing ourselves! But we can draw an “external force” on us that can help. Or we could also say that we can awaken, initiate hidden, so far dormant qualities, abilities in ourselves in the right conditions.
Originally we are born with an inherently egocentric, self-serving, self-justifying, individualistic and exploitative nature which has reached its maximum, self-destructive potential in our times. As a result Humanity reached the threshold of a very realistic, imminent self-destruction which can unfold in different ways, even without wars, triggered from multiple different scenarios (plagues worsened by antibiotics overuse, mass unemployment, market/financial crash leading to socioeconomic breakdown, climate change, lack of nutrition, water, world wars…).
Our civilization is built on the service of the ego, based on excessive overconsumption, ruthless competition, success, survival at each other’s and Nature’s expense which is clearly unsustainable.
Thus there is a growing awareness, need for changing ourselves, for changing our Human relationships, the way we discuss and solve problems. When this need and our obvious inability to change ourselves, obvious inability to discuss and solve the mounting global problems that threaten our existence reaches a certain quantity and quality, the desperate helplessness, humility will draw help from Nature’s evolution.
Nature’s evolution relentlessly, in a deterministic fashion drives the whole Natural system towards a final, most optimal integration. And in this Humanity also need to take part. But contrary to other parts of the system Humanity was left with the chance to make the transition from egotistic, selfish individualism to selfless, altruistic integration freely, consciously, by our own efforts. This is why we are born different, seemingly outside of, against Nature.
Thus evolution “awaits” our conscious decision, need for change, so it could help us progress in a positive, mutually responsible, mutually complementing way above and against our original nature.
Of course it is not mysticism but empirical Natural science.
Nothing changes from evolution’s point of view, Nature is pushing the system endlessly, relentlessly in a lawful manner towards its goal.
It is us who change.
By reaching the above mentioned desperate helplessness, the need to change and the sharp, obvious inability to change at the same time, we become more sensitive, perceptible to evolution’s influence we simply ignored, didn’t feel before.
As a result of the humbling helplessness we subdue ourselves to evolution’s flow, we start to change together with the whole system, submitting to its direction in the lack of any other choice. Then as Nature’s evolution “upgrades” us with Nature’s selfless, altruistic qualities we change and as a result of the changes we can rebuild Human society to become similar to, compatible with Nature.
This process can be greatly hastened, facilitated, augmented by the right, “Integral Education”.
This is how the apparent “chicken or egg” problem is solved!
No one is owed you. No one is owed your company. You choose to whom you offer yourself. But sure, all those with whom you deal? Deal kindly. Why not? What’s it cost you? To whom does it give the advantage?
Certainly not to the other one.
To deal kindly with them may be as quick and simple as to arise, acknowledge a greeting, excuse yourself courteously and go. You don’t have to give any misuser of you any more of your time or interest to abuse. You may go. If they object to you going, well, how can they? What claim do they have on you? A thousand replies will answer.
Choose the best. You’re always free to go.
Why make yourself look bad – no, not “look bad,” be worse – than your best? For the sake of some unkind, abusive user? What can they do to you now that you know who they are? Why not be kind? “It’s more than they deserve?”
Sure it is. But what about what you deserve? Our worst which we give to those we find deserve it, is who we really are. Shall you become your worst? What, for them?
You’re kidding, right?
Surely anyone who deserves our worst isn’t worth it.
Kindness doesn’t mean giving – not giving more. It’s more in how you give all you choose to give. Kindness doesn’t even mean forgiving – though of course, there’s very little sense in carrying around someone else’s badness as your baggage, as grudge. It neither punishes nor burdens them. But even forgiveness does not mean you must give them more of yourself than you already gave away. Forgiveness just means you’ve wiped the slate clean. There is no wrong between you, anymore. They owe you nothing. Which is also what you owe them.
Kindness just means you treat others in kind – not by returning to them how they’ve treated you. By returning to them how they should have treated you. By returning to them how you treat people, not how they do. By treating them as your kind: one equal in dignity, respect and worth to yourself.
Even if, let’s say hypothetically, they may not be.
Run this one forward in your mind. If you treat them unkindly, how do you come out of it? In your view?
Yeah, pretty sure no you don’t, and you know you don’t. So I’d say, yes! Sure! By all means: in the dealings you have with them, in passing, in chance encounter – deal in kindness. Why not. It is nothing to you. It’s just how you deal with all us FOOLS. Fools for love, fools for life – we’re all fools for something, aren’t we? Like Mr. T, you pity the fool – and you deal in kindness. Except in an actual case of defending the weak against the cruel and strong – there, you deal in brutality, but it’s only because of a deep, sweet kindness you have in you for those being brutalized, right? Anyway, let’s assume so. You deal in kindness.
You don’t need to seek any more dealings than you have to, with anyone you’ve learned you don’t want to know any better than you already have. It’s just that in the dealings you have, in the crossings of paths, you are kind. Invincibly kind. You don’t have to give them what they ask for, if they ask for more of you than you want to give. Kindly decline, in that case.
You know all the ways to decline. Choose the best.
Or, if you’re moved to do so, take them up on it! If you really want to; not out of some misconceived obligation. But if you do take them up on it, remember what kind you’re dealing with. Even as you treat them as one of your own (which – of course you do, it’s gold-chased steel-keen habit with you by now!), remember who they are, which they’ve given you to know. Remember what you can trust them for. Pity, if you would; mercy, if you will – but kindness for sure.
It costs you jack nil. To cut yourself down to any less than that…costs more. Maybe a lot more.
Never give anyone any more of yourself than you’re willing to lose. No return, no repayment. Nothing ever expected back. Give stingless of you, with never regret over such free gift. You gave because you wanted to. This is the way to grow so much self you couldn’t give it all away if you tried. And you know, at that point? You might as well try. You’ll never catch up with the wild appreciation (in the sense of increase, but who knows? Probably a good bit of the other, too) of all you have to give, by that point.
It’s easy as can be. Easy as sincerity. Costs you nothing! Deal in kindness. Why not?
I mean, if you’re absolutely aces at keen, cutting repartee – I do admit to indulging a bit myself, time to time. But only in the moment of sudden crossed blades, you know – and I’ve never come away with hard feelings. So realistically, it would never arise that I’d charge in cutting and thrusting! What an ass I’d be, doing that! Bad form, woot?
Anyway, you know your best. Trust yourself to it. Be it. I suspect you have no best better than kindness, though.
I don’t think anyone really has. Short-term, long-term, any other term. Kindness is one bad mother*ucker, attitude-wise. I trust myself to it, just about exclusively, for all my in-person and phone dealings. Online, I confess I’m sometimes forced to substitute a sort of weird, courteous bombast. Tone is so hard to gauge.
There should be merit to everything, otherwise it becomes foolishness.
To an extent, “being kind to unkind people” is not wrong. Sometimes it can be better to let things slide than start a fight over one’s behavior, especially if making a fuss will hurt you more than the other person. Sometimes one might be rude just because they had bad day or something and if you behave kindly they might recognize the error of their behavior and apologize. Sometimes you let thing slide because you realize that you are not going to change the other person and it is pointless arguing with them.
That said, there is no reason to accept a continuous ashes behavior of someone. You may let things slide once or twice in hopes to calm down the situation. But if you see that being nice only makes matters worse, it is time to stop being nice and draw some hard boundaries with the offending person. After all, if you are not going to ensure your own peace of mind, nobody will do it for you.
Being on the receiving end of an abuse of kindness is difficult, but it is possible to remain kind and assertively stand up for oneself.
Maybe more difficult than that is realizing someone doesn’t appreciate the kind things you do for them. In those situations, it’s important to remember that being kind to others is something people should do with or without recognition. Be kind because it makes you who you are, not so you can receive appreciation for it. Lift up others for the sake of lifting them up. Get a copy of SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME
Well, there are many things that some can be ahead of in time. We would first think of technology but you need to understand that there are visionaries who have ideas of better social structures as well as individual development of the human.
Humans know what they have been taught. We are “programmed” from birth into a society and culture. We’re separated from each other because of race, religion, politics, geographical situation and so much more. So, just think how a Japanese and an American think of their lives. There’s quite a difference in thinking. Who is the better? You couldn’t really say that because it’s something you evaluate inside as an individual.
So, for the question, is that the same principle applies. What you cannot conceive is strange or even “crazy” for you. This is one obstacle for most of humanity. We blindly accept what we learn as truth through society in form of education and studies. We believe in the system of titles and education. They can be very limited as well as controlled. Many people who truly were geniuses like Tesla, Mozart, and Einstein to mention a few used their own intelligence to create more. Each individual is fully capable of doing this but due to your own limitations that YOU have created, you just don’t get involved. The good part is that humans could have evolved a great deal both in spiritual, social and technological part if this type of liberty would exist.
The negative part is that intelligent, free thinking person’s often pose a threat to the present establishment. They present things that would turn over things like religions, politics, and present technology and with that many corporations that deals with money. There are many examples of that and I’m going to list you a few.
Tesla is one of the more important ones. He was going to construct free energy for the world. He was stopped by the banks because of that. The only one who supported Tesla was George Westinghouse because of the AC that we now use as electricity. There’s another man today, alive who wishes to do the same, Eric Dollard. He has had a number of labs blown up because of his work. You can look him up on the Internet.
I have personal friends who have introduced cures for cancer who were effectively stopped by powerful people because it would ruin the billions that Big Parma earns on their “medicines”. Another couple of guys invented a carburetor that consumes fuel in the same way like today. This was done in the end of the 50’s. Shell Oil bought the patent and locked it up because they wanted to sell fuel instead. Another guy I knew invented an electric car back in the late 50’s that could drive cost-to-coast without recharge. It was self-generating. He contacted GM. GM told him to stop this. One morning, very early he was called by the police who told him his factory was on fire. The 2 prototypes he had were destroyed and later the insurance wouldn’t pay him out because there wasn’t enough “evidence” that it was an accident. From being a rich man with millions of dollars, he became poor. Holographic telephones have been introduced since the 70’s and you can see it in EPCOT center in Florida. They are still NOT on the market. The same was true for flat screen televisions which we now have. So, the truth is that the establishment controls what we shall have. This in turn is because of money and industry. It does cost a lot to build a production belt and it is designed to be there for some decades before a “new” product can be released.
The latest is the antigravity patent, filed by US Navy for Salvatore ….. (Can’t remember his last name now). They filed for this in one of their “unknown” scientist’s name. It’s quite controversial as it goes against much of the laws of physics that we learn in school. So, another little thing to think about as I mentioned above.
So, the ideas toward a better world is clearly controlled by our Elite. They use technology or psychology in advanced terms which normal society won’t see anything of until it can be safely introduced without losing economic and social control. It’s all in our interest to create clean nature, peace and healthy living. This advances Earth towards something much better. Humans need to use their creativity and intelligence to do this.
So, I hope this gives you some more insight of the dangers and positives from being ahead. Mostly it comes from ignorance and from selfishness. We should welcome solutions that benefit our planet and humanity.
Actually being ahead of one’s time is a major life disappointment.
Case in point: are you familiar with the concept of a deep fake? If not, a deep fake is a 3D animated version of a real person, typically used to replace a real person in video with this fake version to create a video of a real person doing something they never did. Most often a deep fake is a reference to pornography, with a celebrity’s face superimposed on the porn actress’s body.
A good 10 years before deep fakes became a thing, I patented a VFX process that automatically replaces people in filmed media with anyone else. I was trying to create Personalized Advertising, where you, your family and friends appear in the video advertising you view while watching TV.
The startup that I created to achieve this had an impossible time trying to raise financing simply because nobody believed what I was demonstrating right in front of their eyes was possible. They either thought it was fake, too expensive to take to market, or if they saw potential they also wanted to do porn, which I refused to be a part of because I could see how devastating a technology that inserts anyone into porn would be to society.
So, what happened? I hit my head against the VC, Hollywood studio, and advertising agency walls for 10 years before I was far past bankrupt and had to quit. The technology still works. But I am just sick of people and their desire for porn now, as even a few weeks ago one of the constant stream of interested investors contacted me with an interest only in doing porn. Gawd I hate our society sometimes.
I would say all good things.
I mean a lot of the time, for any big boom to happen downstream of the original innovator, there has to be an original innovator in the first place. It doesn’t mean we never would have tumbled to such tricks without them, but it could mean the boom would have come later without them. It would have to wait on a later originator.
So, somebody comes up with something nifty as hell. They’re ahead of their time. Their innovation is not widely recognized. But it is noticed by various far-flung parties, all of who go to work adapting the principle in different ways. There could be like, ten of them. All hard at work – who knows which one will achieve the later breakthrough? Being ahead of your time is basically like putting the seed out there for many other competing garners to cop and coax to bloom. Because here’s the thing:
It’s obvious the original innovator didn’t have what it takes to make their seed bloom. Or boom. Not widely. Just enough of a splash for far-flung others to note the potential, if combined with this and that. And when one breaks through huge, journalists trace the roots of the idea and come up the humble (or pissed) originator, toiling in obscurity, left behind in the success story!
Because it wasn’t a success they could make themselves. They needed help.
So…all good things!
Purely for the sake of the original innovator, I hope they patented whatever, or can demonstrate ownership enough to legally claim a stake in the boom. If not, maybe they can trade on their cachet a bit. In any case, that’s the difference between being “ahead of your time” and being “irrelevant.” When you yourself can’t turn your idea into huge breakthrough success on your own, but someone else later can…you were “ahead of your time.” Your position is at least elevated somewhat, and maybe you can turn that into something.
But if you yourself can’t turn your idea into huge breakthrough success on your own, but later nobody else does either…you get stiffed. Bupkis. Anyway, keep toiling I guess! It’s for the sake of the thing that you do it, correct?
But it would be nice to catch a piece of that breakthrough success. Well, if none ever happens, you’re never going to parlay your part into anything.
Possible bad thing? From a certain perspective?
I suppose from an envious standpoint, the “ahead of one’s time” innovator may feel like all the ducats and accolades got stolen by some coattail riders from the future. Or into the future. And feel a wistful resentment “That should have come to me.”
Fact is, when situations like this happen, it’s usually the case that the later product had real features and applications built into it that made it a superior, more appealing product. And these were material factors in the breakthrough success. The core idea alone isn’t necessarily enough. Sometimes, but not always, it takes more than one person’s vision to realize all the things that need to be included to make something really fly. Sometimes it takes that first splash to bring the attention of all the people out there who sit up and say, “Holy wow. That’s a great idea. Or…I can see how it could be.”
Concepts are conceived then evolve and develop. They are communicated by people and to be effective need people to support and promote them.
Yet humans work within the framework and constraints of the people, place and era they live in and (much as an adult adjusts the communication for a child) the human with the concept may adjust the concept for their people, area and time. The difficulty is when a concept from the past is applied today without any review and updating.
If the idea is too far ahead of its time resistance is often extreme with resulting upset and arguments, especially from those with opposing views or by those who hate change and hang on to the status quo . Then those who are willing to listen are in a small minority and there is greater chance the idea is not accepted. As a result the concept may wither and die, or is archived – possibly to receive consideration at another time.
The good thing is the idea is debated and hopefully prepares a path making it easier for acceptance at a future date.
An example is Universal basic income – Wikipedia first proposed in the late 16th century by Sir Thomas Moore and again in the 18th Century by the English radical Thomas Spence and the American revolutionary Thomas Paine. It is only now, following mechanization and the advent of computer technology, artificial intelligence, remote surveillance and robots, the idea is getting serious consideration. The 2020 pandemic has highlighted how quickly the economy can collapse if too many people lose their incomes at the same time; UBI enables capitalism to successfully continue into the future.
Happiness and wisdom aren’t related in a true sense. However, wisdom can create happiness. Wisely used information put into practice can produce happiness. However, happiness is very subjective depending on the individual. Some believe in material happiness, while others believe in inner happiness. Happiness can be either of permanent character or of temporary character.
Most people experience the temporary one. You are happy when you get to buy what you desire, when you pass your exams, when you get the job you want, when you meet a partner that you “love” so much, when your dreams come true and the list goes on and on. Most of these are desires. They create happiness for a shorter or longer period of time. When the desire leaves you or you have achieved what you wanted then you’re back to the next adventure for “happiness”.
So, how do we create permanent happiness? Well, things and beliefs are different for everyone. But, some essential things are to accept things in life as they are and rather than to take a negative side, try to understand why these things happen and if there would be a positive outcome or learning from this. So being neutral with a problem and find a solution will be one helper to find permanent happiness. It’s essential to be within yourself and to trust your heart. When your heart is opened then the true happiness can flow. Stay positive in mind and let the negative thoughts just pass by.
You will not react to things and people, in the sense of what normal people do. You won’t be disturbed and more be like an observer and aware of things. There will be serenity within you. You can accept bad feelings and just let them pass by without affecting you. This is inner happiness and serenity and it’s very different from the selfish happiness that most people experience. It flows like a sun outwards from within your heart. Just an unstoppable force. The difference between the two is desire. What you desire goes inward towards you but what you give flows outward, being the Sun.
Wisdom on the other hand will solve problems and keep you out of trouble. It can also be used to help others. But as I said before, it an be used to create happiness. If our world used the wisdom we have, it would be much better and also a lot happier. To be able to eat, to sleep somewhere, to live in peace and be respected is certainly what most people wish in their lives outside of all other personal desires.
WE can achieve all this, together as ONE.
Happiness feels like the emptiness of the soul has been filled. Often imitated but never successfully – complete happiness requires enough wisdom to know that “this” is good and an awareness of the fact that “this” is a gift. A nursing child and an old man may enjoy it especially because of the awareness of being loved.
It could be wrong to divide the rewards of wisdom into separate categories – like counting blessings for the purpose of keeping score when really, wisdom – if a person was to have any at all, would say that it is never ours but still is owned by the one who created it – God. Wisdom is all One, and the benefits from it are all One also – and show that Creation itself is all One in the hand of the Creator. Happiness, like Faith, is the gift of knowing that.
We live in a world of duality. There are opposing forces everywhere in our world. They are natural for us and most people never think about that. Men-women, day-night and so forth. The same comes in term of spiritual ways. We term it good-evil. Different religions, life philosophies and so on describe it in their different ways. It’s mostly symbolic but also many distorted views, mainly to hide the truth.
The forces that govern our planet today, the Elite, Cabal, rulers or whatever you wish to call them are not going to give up the power that’s been created over a long period of time. The power belongs to the people of Earth, together. However, it’s been controlled as well as manipulated to fall into the hands of a few. These few have basically enslaved the people of Earth to carry out their own will. To divide and conquer is their motto. If this is threatened in any way, efforts will be made to put people back in the place where the Elite wants us to be. Most people hardly survive, because most are so poor that they have to fight just for food every day. Others have food and shelter but they are generally burdened by bills, mortgages and credits that they must pay. If you don’t, out you go…..
If humans come together and we start finding solutions to our predicaments, then the “rulers” may start to lose power. Money and fear is what controls mostly today. Events are staged, propaganda is created and so on. When we believe and accept these things, we have given our birthright power to these “rulers”. They are no more nor any less than any of us. So, ask yourself why they can play with your life? We need a new system in place. A place where our humanity is ONE. A place where each being is respected and appreciated for what they are. This is fully possible to do. People should have the power together and find the best solutions together. As a united humanity, that’s all possible.
But, like I said, the people who want to rule won’t give up so easy. It’s essential to expose truth about their beings and actions. It’s essential to stay positive and to stand up against tyranny. The more people that question what the “rulers” do and also people inside that can give real information about what goes on, will weaken their system day by day. Investigate and stop buying in to all the lies they do through media and “beautiful” public speeches. Use your intelligence and see what’s behind the scenes. If we had honest rulers on our planet, there would be respect and an objective to work towards a united humanity. Well, you can all see that this isn’t the case. Look at all the wars and conflicts that we are in right now.
You can take the left and you can take the right. They are the “opposites” attacking one another, BUT they both have one thing in common. THEY BOTH WANT TO RULE. They present their beautiful solutions to people but that will never work. No political system in place on Earth, today will work. They create more problems and are just power struggles to maintain power. This is on a global scale but in different forms. Slaves are not to be free. They are to be used for “our” purposes. Well, people of Earth are the slaves.
Do you want to be a slave? Sacrificed in a war or something else, commanded by this ruling Elite. If you don’t dance along their lines, then you’re out of society, punished or killed. They don’t tolerate other people, who may contest their power or that expose their plans. Honest people have nothing to hide. Things can be in the open when we are honest. Strange, national security and all what they tell people. Why is that so important when we should work towards a united planet and humanity? I think this requires transparency, honesty and to seek out the best ideas to solve our predicaments.
Well, I leave you to think on this subject. Some of you may not believe what I’m telling you but I challenge you who don’t and tell you to start investigating the truth behind the scenes. I did so many years, also through people who have some level within the system in different parts. Use your common sense and intelligence and you’ll see the truth of the structure that we live with. It’s time for a change, folks.
For the last 16,500 years our planet and its people have been under military rule which recognizes profit, bribery, fear, violence and suffering as the ways of governing. When we made it to 2012 the covenant expired. A new trustee was elected that had a 99.8 % DNA connection to the original mitochondria “Eve”. Her name is Kimberley Ann Goguen, and she has been working tirelessly to reset or disconnect some of the established, negative controlling systems that “Marduk” had put in place. The big ones are the monetary system and the intelligence agencies as these two systems have been working to keep humanity separated.
In 2020 she has given us the opportunity to rise up from our base levels and to see who we actually are as human beings. The future of humanity is based on free will and not control from above, as in our fascist, pyramid organizations that basically Marduk was responsible for creating as a system. He is also the author (Sun Tzu) of “The Art of War.” I do not know what Sun Tzu means, so there is probably more to it than just being a pseudonym.
“Evil” is a manmade word and there are plenty of evil people in charge at the present time. They are in a high state of panic as Kimberley is eliminating people and systems from the top down. It is our time to unite at the bottom so that we can fill the vacuums of energy with positive energy of love and light rather than let the darker energy of greed, selfishness, fear and Draconian laws to flow back in.
Human beings have developed bellicose natures because of the way we have remained divided one against the other. We can come together with our own unique idiosyncrasies if we view everything from a perspective of unconditional love, self-respect, and respect of others. From this position we do not need leaders as we become our own masters and we collaborate with other, like minded masters. We can become the human beings that we really are. I have experienced the mastery of average, basic humans many times throughout my life when they simply gave me a helping hand or a carefully designed piece of advice that was saying it as it was and that maybe I should be aware of it. One of the tricks of mastery is having respect for another humans abilities and working to enhance them for the good of the whole.
Evil has always use disease, division, hate, and violence as its tool to destroy as much life as possible.
The issue now in the USA is that millions of kids have been brainwashed that “socialism” is somehow good, even though every speck of evidence found where this really stupid idea has been has cost a lot of disease, suffering and death.
Even Putin said: “What’s going on in the USA? Don’t they know that socialism doesn’t work?” This is because that sort of thinking caused massive poverty and suffering in his country. But he is pretty happy that the US is going that way, because he will try to take over the USA if this movement in the USA succeeds in causing economic destruction, chaos and civil war.
Much of the education system now teaches that the citizens of the USA, who support freedom, prosperity, and constitution are evil. They believe this with all their “heart”. It is not some simple “movement”. That anyone who doesn’t know how evil the USA is is stupid, and must be eradicated. These “kids” were trained by Marxists in our own school, and that was a clever thing to do, and was planned some 90 years ago in Russia. When Khrushchev said: “We will bury you!” he was not kidding. They had this in place called subversion by entering all the main areas of education, media, news, and politics. We now have overwhelming knowledge of this success in the USA. The people in politics do nothing to stop this because they are part of this subversion. Evil is a cleaver thing, and uses brainwashing, now for at least 90 years in the USA, into thinking that socialism is “Utopia” just as it always has.
By the way this is clearly described in the Bible when the “King of the North” attacks the “King of the south” and takes over for a while. Right before the end of this rotting system of disease, suffering and death.
Here Yuri, a Russian defector tells all about it.
This is an extremely important question for our generation!
This is exactly what happens each time we try to unite and work together. The moment we achieve some success, our inherently egotistic, self-serving, exploitative nature immediately wants the success for itself and the fragile connections, cooperation is lost.
If we needed any added proof, we can observe it Live now through the woefully inadequate, selfish, individualistic and nationalistic reactions, “solutions” for the pandemic which makes the situation much worse than I should be.
If we truly cared about others, if we wanted to mutually help each other as much as we want to selfishly help only ourselves, we could have already solved the pandemic – and all the other, mounting global problems – long time ago.
Thus we need to learn through a very special – very realistic, empirical science – how to balance, complement our inherent egos with selfless, altruistic intentions that we learn, copy from Nature’s balanced, fully integrated system.
The ego cannot be suppressed, erased, our inherent differences, individual uniqueness will only grow. But by learning how to build “Nature-like” integration we can actually use, harness the individual uniqueness, differences for the sake, well-being of the whole collective.
The egotistic desires for more, the competitive spirit will give us the power, while the “Nature-like” integration, the selfless, altruistic intentions will give us the directions, purposeful guidance.
You have some very good explanations here already. I just comment because you did A2A on this. Sure, if YOU DON’T WALK IT, LIKE YOU TALK IT. Yes, then there’s a lie within you. Some things which are not really covered by the other answers is that our desires in form of feelings get the control of us. This is a subconscious part and it can be far stronger than your conscious mind. Things like food, sex, drugs, gambling and other addictions can be so overwhelming for many. Logically, they know NOT to overindulge in these things but the desire just simply becomes too strong. Humans are often trapped by our elementals in form of feeling or thinking. Feeling takes form as desire and personal selfishness. Mentally, we become trapped in a fix idea that just glues itself in front of your eyes. It tends to blind people and can lead to very harmful actions.
So, moral preaching something and living another life behind it, is a pure lie. Some are aware, others cannot control their thoughts and feelings. But regardless of the excuse, it becomes a contradiction. People who do this tend to lose respect and trust from others when the truth comes out.
Look at the Catholic Church with the priests and the pedophile scandal. Look how this goes in the political world, especially now with Trump and Biden. It happens all the time. It can be so manipulated by TV, media and powerful people in order to bias people. There’s a lot of hypocrisy involved here. And it’s not for the best of the people but to win an election and put your people in power. We don’t need these kind of leaders. We need common sensed, humble, open hearted and compassionate leaders who truly wish to serve their fellow human beings. That’s what they are elected for.
Okay, I stop now but to live in opposition to yourself is destructive. It will never bring anything good in life.
Yes, it is deceitful to all involved including the person who is hypocritical.
However, it could be caused by the person’s misunderstandings of their own true beliefs/ethics/morals, i.e. they either don’t actually believe things they think they do, rationalizing their hypocrisy to fit, or they have some beliefs they are unaware of, or think they’ve suppressed.
Until we face our basic selfishness & urge to succeed at any cost, we will be hypocrites, bypassing moral & ethical concerns.
Yes, either that or an act of ignorance. Hypocrisy is not doing as one tells others and oneself to do.
To denounce greedy people while owning a fortune and hoarding money and goods, or to enforce drug laws while being under the influence of drugs, are examples of hypocrisy. The subject is either lying to oneself or is ignorant of their actions due to cognitive dissonance.
Well, let’s consider time a little bit. What is the lifetime of a human being? In universal terms, it would be less than a lightning bolt. It’s incredibly short. So, why is it that we perceive time so different? Think about this: When you have fun, time goes incredibly quick. Hours feel like minutes. The opposite is when things are boring. The minutes seem like hours. In the mind, you can travel in “time”. You can go back into the past and review an experience in some form or you could go into tomorrow and imagine how it would be.
So, we live in a condition that we call time. Time for humans is a reference to many things. Like our age, when to meet and you know the rest. So, it’s a human invention and a condition of the human mind.
We can make a choice on what to do here on Earth with our time. This will always be of personal choice. Most humans indulge more into this 3D world where they believe that this is the only existence that there is. Others believe in things and others again belive nothing. So, what we do with our lives will depend on our beliefs, experience and knowledge.
When we have problems, either in the outside world or in the inner world, we many times become ignorant rather than to seek out solutions. Many problems require resolute thinking and research to be solved. Because of our busy world with many distractions, humans have been conditioned to take the easy way. People have become lazy because there’s no energy left after work or the bad news or discussions.
This negativity that’s been formed just makes many humans wish they were never born or they just want to get of the planet. Few, understand that we form our own reality. We also receive what we create. There is NO exception to that regardless of what you believe. Therefore this short time that we live in, should be used for our betterment and evolution which we should carry on to our children. This way humanity may survive itself. It’s always been said that we should listen to our Elders. This way the experiences and mistakes done by one generation can be carried forward and the present generation don’t have to do the same things over. This seems rather to be the opposite on our planet. History repeats itself here. Only because of human ignorance and selfish desires. So, it’s time that those elected responsible to lead us should guide people into what is essential and to motivate people into positive thinking, creativity and intelligence to solve our problems. WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR CREATION. Sure, we need recreation and relaxation. But we shouldn’t be chasing money and material things first. We can enjoy that but first our responsibility to ourselves and the planet. Use your time well! It’s short.
Do you believe in mythology?
If not please believe for a moment and know that our scriptures have written about one day of Brahma the creator of universe.
It is equal to one yuga.
Length of one yuga can be searched in google but is so long that one shall have to believe only.
Once again let us assume it to be right because there is no way we can really know what did happen thousand years ago whereas here we have to go back millions of years back.
This doesn’t reduce importance of time in human life but give some fresh angle towards the query.
In my understanding documented details of past knowledge or history would be available of 2000 to 4000 years (Please correct the figures if someone knows).
If we try to expand the evolution of mind of our recent time say from (1) jungle man to (2) tribal to (3) colonial to (4) nations as on today.
1. We can earmark progress from (1) to (2)
2. Then progress from (2) to (3).
3. Then progress from (3) to (4).
We are stopping here because even if we consider in place marked 4 as nation the world has not truly reached this state. Nation is defined by constitution / freedom etc lines and anything less confirms that they have to evolve.
Have any nation truly reached at all by such definition, could be!
More important by this concept is the majority of the nation we know have not reached state 4 and are mix or 4 and other lower ones.
Thus if say we have documented information of 4000 years we have still tribal or people far from civilized state who now are preserved community like in Andaman for example.
Those people are running behind at least 4000 years back from us.
Do you agree?
If we know the architecture genius of old monuments like Kailasha Temple in Aurangabad the scientific knowledge used in making is unique we have yet to learn. So we have live record of past but little documented evidence of growth.
Yet if we see the same three points time wise for a very crude indication listed above and relate with time span becomes a tiny period that is shaping ahead.
We are worried about losing nature by urbanization for generation to come which a scientist would but what is store is complex because human mind is yet not evolved to see ahead of time holistically directing the truth which prompts us to work on belief beyond certain point.
In my point of view time takes in evolving mind from uncivilized to highest level works in stages and each lower step consumes huge time span that is rise is slow by experimenting and experiencing in small steps entangling in duality as it rises.
Thus from raw ignorance we rise and go in deeper ignorance of duality losing certain natural traits being dependent on manmade material or belief.
Hindu mythology says that one yuga (cycle) takes approx. 12000 years and complete cycle in 24000 years which can be seen as rise in mind.
Ascending is also filtration of soul and all not rise equally where the importance of time exist in our life.
How much we make progress in the whole spectrum in isolated could be insignificant but has a great value and has relation with other souls too.
We may not bother in such line yet it is following value and rising higher could help us giving happiness, peace and joy gradually life after life which is the earning of soul.
One life of say 60 years of 100 years is not enough unless we expand the mind which can see beyond where our own like is not as important as influencing many souls in the right path which could be divine following order.
I say it’s more important than being nice to those who are significant in your life.
It’s easy to love and be nice to people we care about. It’s much harder for our ego to be kind to those we are not directly involved with, or that don’t reciprocate, or when we’re not in the mood of being nice.
It’s more important because I feel it’s a reflection of the level of sincerity and commitment one extends to the significant ones in their life.
When you are able to be kind without conditions, you can easily forgive wrongdoing and overcome fallouts with significant others. You can still go out of your way to make amends, without needing people to do something for you or be a certain way towards you. You learn to love anyway and you won’t have to lose any person because you lead with your heart, and not with your ego.
Learning to cultivate kindness towards those you are unfamiliar with, and especially the seemingly unlovable, will generate an inclusive spirit that always welcomes differences and feels authentic under all conditions. It will also serve to solidify existing relationships and make them a lot more real.
It’s always better to be nice to people, regardless of who they are or where they fit in our personal scheme of things, than to be unpleasant. Some people, including me, work even harder to be pleasant with strangers than we do with those who are closest to us.
We don’t have to be quite as concerned about pleasantries with friends and familiars. They know who we are and what we feel about them but strangers don’t.
At the end of “Civilization”, the program’s creator and the audience’s guide to the world of art and architecture reveals his personal philosophy in life… “as a stick-in-the-mud… I believe in courtesy,” he says, defining it as “the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people’s feelings by satisfying our own egos”.
Of the utmost importance. I recall a talk by Mr. Hooper Dunbar, former Member of the Universal House of Justice, and Supreme Administrative Body of the Baha’i Faith. One of the surprises in the spiritual worlds of God is how, there, one who was considered lowly while still on Earth, is one that other souls bow to in the spiritual realm.
Considering that none of the things of this world matters after death, that what matters is what we have made of our souls, in the words of Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, and that the ways of men are not the ways of God, then it is of the utmost importance that we treat a beggar with as much respect and dignity as a billionaire.
You should always be nice to everyone. I don’t mean overly nice and chatty, but I mean not being mean and rude. Everyone has their own problems they don’t talk about and you never know what someone might be going through in life. If you say something mean or rude to someone who is standing on the edge already, you might be the last nail in their coffin. By being nice you spread good vibes and enforce life.
But if someone is being inappropriate or putting you down, you don’t need to be nice. Just be appropriate and never lower yourself to their level.
We humans have a strong tendency to say “need” when all we really mean is “really, really want.” Let’s score a finer line than that.
Need pertains to purpose. When we say a thing is necessary, we must specify “necessary for what?” Does a human organism need love tosurvive?
Does a human organism need love to survive happily, to thrive and feel purposeful with a fit in the world?
Well, no. Some humans don’t need that at all. But we are social creatures, and probably most do need some, for that. Some level of human connection. Of knowing others and being known by them. Human populations have always produced a variety of temperaments, some loners, and some people persons. There are all kinds of fits available, including solitude – which suits some mightily! But for those who crave connection, solitude can be a trial and a misery.
Still, at the bottom of it all when we say “need” in reference to a human being, to me that means necessary to survive.
Love is not need. In those who “need” it, really it is want. Desire. Satisfaction and fulfillment are what it brings to the table, not survival if you’ve got it or death if you don’t. Sure, a life barren of all satisfaction and fulfillment, a life bereft of love may prove unendurable to some, and they may even end it rather than endure what seems pointless misery. Others though, deprived of one satisfaction they crave, find other satisfactions and pursuits to offset. Life offers many of these, even if for a given individual love is the best.
Now, when you say social necessity, one thing that’s necessary for social anything is humans and human interaction. Given that, I’m always going to find love – of various kinds and character, based on each individual in interaction and what they bring out in me. By this sense, love is not a social necessity. Love is the unavoidable outcome and by-product of all things social. Of human interaction. Where there are people, I always find love. But that’s just me; your mileage may vary.
When you say “physiological need,” I think you’re conflating needs and drives. Humans overall have a strong urge to mate, of which romantic love is but one of its expressions and flourishing. Not all humans have that sex urge strongly or at all. Hard as that may be to believe for someone who has it strongly! Some have it not at all. In some, it expresses as sexual desire but without the romantic trappings. And some want love far more than they want sex.
In any case, drives are not themselves needs. Strong as they may be, they are wants. Desire and urge, and with a purpose: to impel the organism to survive (hunger, thirst, aggression towards or avoidance of threats) or to continue the species (sex). The drive serves the need, but clearly what we personally individually need to survive is very different from what the species “needs” to continue.
Whatever physiological “need” is involved in sex, it is released at orgasm. Technically, no one needs social life or human contact for this.
The other things we need in love, really we just want: belonging. Validation: knowing (and showing the world!) we can attract and keep a desirable mate, someone who knocks our mind’s eyes out with wonder that they’re ours. And we are theirs. Companionship, and a co-conspirator and collaborator for all manner of life hijinks. Or beyond couple ship, all the different love and loves fanning out in social circles like ripples from our thrown stone, people who know us and love us by all degrees, different unique ways, all arising from the combination of who we really are andwho they really are. What we bring out in each other.
It is or can be incredibly rewarding, but to some it’s just “eh.” No need.
Really to all of us: it is not “need.” It is like. It is want. It is love.
Love is what makes life worth living, I’d say. Need is just what makes life possible to live. Need is not the greater, here: it is so much less. It is base. What we want, like and love is greater than what we need. For the sake of what we love we forgot what we need, at times even unto death.
Need is animal. It is our wants that make us human.
Usually, it is hard for anyone to admit known error because ego and a sense of self-preservation interferes with the prompting of our conscience to adopt an attitude of humility.
That said, the reasons for a lack of admission can be varied.
~Some simply are not yet aware that they have made a mistake. You may see quite readily where they took a wrong turn. But their “refusal” to admit is due to the fact that they are still ignorant. They need to be shown patience and given appropriate knowledge/tools and time to be able to face the truth once it is made clear to them.
~Some fear lack of control. They expect that they will be exposed to abuse (often due to past experience) should another discover this point of fallibility. As above, these people should be shown compassion and allowed ample time and space to own their mistakes.
~Some have a prideful reaction that admission of known wrongness will appear weak or incompetent. This is often related to fear that they will lose “respect” or the approval of others. Demonstrating acceptance of the individual and appreciation of the courage it takes to say “I’m sorry I was wrong” might improve the chances that this type of person will step up and do what (s)he once believed to be an impossibility.
~Some are just plain stubborn about getting their own way at any cost to anyone. I’m sorry that I have no helpful insight other than to distance yourself and let this type live in their own version of reality. Consequences will eventually catch up and there may be future repentance, but it is a waste of time to battle now with anyone who aggressively justifies the unquestionably errant things they do or say.
Why Don’t People Accept Their Mistakes When Told?
The stark honesty of these men in taking responsibility for their failures is striking, all the more so because similar statements are so rare. In recent years we have seen the heads of the nation’s corporations and banks testify before Congress as to their role, or rather lack thereof, in the implosion of the economy, and could only shake our heads as they passed the buck, admitted vaguely that “mistakes were made,” and yet failed to name anything specific for which they were personally at fault.
In our day-to-day lives, we all know folks who constantly blame their failures on everything but themselves. They were fired because their supervisor was jealous of them. They got dumped because their girlfriend is nuts. They failed an exam because the questions the professor asked were unfair. The dog hasn’t just eaten their homework – it’s devoured their whole lives.
Plenty of folks decry this shirking of personal responsibility, and declare that “people need to own up to their mistakes!” But what does this vague injunction really mean and how do you start doing it? Unfortunately, most people rarely go beyond the slogans, essentially saying: “You should do this. Okay, now do it.”
Today we’re going to take a look the very real cognitive reasons for the difficulty in owning up to your mistakes. Understanding leads to greater awareness of the blind spots our brains develop as to when we’re at fault, and this awareness is the first step in learning to overcome them. As we explore this topic, we’ll come to see that while it’s awfully satisfying to point out the motes in others’ eyes, we all justify our failures to one degree or another.
Then tomorrow we’ll explore why owning our mistakes is so important and how we can work to counter our natural tendency to shirk responsibility. Taking ownership of our mistakes and shortcomings requires both humility and courage; as such, it is one of the true hallmarks of mature manhood.
Why Is It So Difficult to Take Responsibility for Our Mistakes?
All humans are essentially ego-driven creatures. Starting from a young age we develop an identity — a self-concept and self-image — constructed of our beliefs and how we view ourselves. Most of us think of ourselves as pretty decent people, better than average in certain areas, maybe a little worse than average in a few, but always trying to do our best. We believe we see the world realistically, and act rationally.
When our own thoughts and behaviors, or the accusation of another, challenges our cherished self-concept, we experience what is called cognitive dissonance – a form of mental discomfort and tension. Cognitive dissonance arises when you attempt to hold two conflicting beliefs/attitudes/ideas/opinions at the same time. For example: “I know smoking is bad for me…but I smoke a pack a day anyway.” Because our minds crave consonance and clarity over contradiction and conflict, we immediately seek to dissipate the mental tension created by cognitive dissonance. The smoker can reduce their dissonance either by throwing the cigarettes away and trying to quit, or by thinking to himself as he lights up, “People say that smoking is bad, but my grandfather smoked two packs a day for fifty years and never got cancer. It’s fine.”
When we make mistakes, the gap between our questionable behavior and our sterling self-concept creates cognitive dissonance. We can allay this dissonance either by admitting that we made a mistake and revaluating our self-concept in light of it, or by justifying the behavior as not in conflict with our self-concept after all. Here are some examples:
• You think of yourself as an honest man, but you cheated on your last exam. You can either:
Admit that cheating is wrong and that maybe you’re not as honest as you thought. Or,
Justify the cheating by saying that a lot of other students were doing it too, so it really just leveled the playing field.
• You think of yourself as a decent guy and have been casually sleeping with a girl over the course of a few months. You’ve never talked about the relationship, and when she admits she has feelings for you, and you shut her down, she’s pretty crushed. You can either:
Acknowledge that you should have set clear parameters for the relationship and admit you had a role to play in her hurt feelings and didn’t treat her decently. Or,
Tell yourself that you never said anything about a relationship and that it was entirely her fault for letting herself get attached.
• You think of yourself as a good friend but one night when you’re out drinking with your buddy you bring up your bitter feelings about something he did in the past, and try to start a fight with him. You can either:
Admit that you’ve been nursing a grudge and didn’t tell him, which isn’t something a good friend would do. Or,
Say that you were totally trashed and didn’t know what you were doing.
• You think of yourself as a smart, cutting-edge academic, but when you present a paper you’ve been working on for years, your colleagues point out numerous errors in your conclusions. You can either:
Acknowledge the mistakes and reevaluate your theory and research methods. Or,
Accuse your colleagues of jealously, narrow-mindedness, or bias.
Unsurprisingly, many people, when push comes to shove, lean towards option #2. When our behavior threatens our self-concept, our ego automatically goes into hyper-defense mode, circles the wagons, and begins issuing self-justifications designed to protect itself. The higher the moral, financial, and emotional stakes, the more our self-concept – our very identity — is threatened, the greater the dissonance that arises, the harder it is to admit a mistake, and the more we seek to justify ourselves to preserve our self-image. Self-justifications are not lies, where we know we’re being dishonest, nor are they excuses; rather, we believe the justifications to be true, and truly think that they show we are not to blame. Self-justifications can take many forms:
If X had happened, I would have been right. (“My predictions for the economy would have been correct if A had won the election rather than B. No one could have seen that coming.”)
It really wasn’t wrong. (“The company doesn’t pay me enough anyway, so taking those supplies just evens things out.”)
It wasn’t that big of a deal in the long run and didn’t have lasting consequences. (“I’m sorry I treated her the way I did, but she’s happily married now and probably doesn’t ever think of me.”)
I can’t help it, this is just who I am. (“My father has a temper, and my grandfather had a temper, and my great-grandfather too! It’s a family tradition!”)
I was provoked. (“No one could have heard what he said without punching him out.”)
The situation was to blame. (“Everyone was yelling and it was total chaos – I couldn’t even think straight and felt paralyzed.”)
That was the old me and happened in the past. (“I’ve changed a lot since then. I’m not the same person.”)
It was an isolated incident and is over and done with. (“I’ve never acted that way before, and haven’t since.”)
My mood/state was to blame. (“I had just gotten over the flu and just wasn’t feeling like myself.” Or, “I was really drunk and don’t remember what happened.” Or, “I had been crazy stressed for weeks and that was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.”)
Regardless of what form self-justification takes, it’s designed to keep your self-concept and self-esteem intact by reducing your responsibility for the mistake or failure.
While I cited more “dramatic” examples of mistakes above, self-justifying happens every day in small ways, and everyone does it. When we cut off someone while speeding to work we tell ourselves that we don’t normally drive this way but have to get to work on time or we’ll get in trouble with the boss. When we’re gruff with our kids when we get home, we tell ourselves that we’ve had a long, hard day and are tired.
Whether self-justifications kick in over big mistakes or small, we don’t really notice it happening, especially if we haven’t been cultivating an awareness of them. They work much like an ego thermostat – making small adjustments throughout the day to keep our self-concept nice and comfortable.
The Tricks Our Memory Play
When it comes to piecing together justifications to mitigate our feelings of responsibility and protect our self-concept, our faulty memory can be our greatest “ally.”
It used to be thought that memory was like a filing cabinet which stored everything that ever happened to us. Sometimes it was hard to find a specific file at a later date, but it was all in there somewhere, waiting for us to pull out nearly whole cloth. Memory was seen as an accurate film strip of past events that would fade over time, but could be replayed whenever we wished.
We now know that our experiences are broken up into pieces, and that these fragments of memory are stored in different parts of the brain. Not every detail of a memory is stored, just the most salient bits. When we later try to remember something, our brains reconstitute the memory, pulling together the pieces it has stored, and filling in the blanks in a way it feels make sense – splicing in background information from other memories, stories our friends have told us, childhood photographs, old home movies, and even Hollywood films and tv shows, along with your own dreams. The memory doesn’t feel like a composite, however; the whole thing feels very accurate and real to us, a feeling which only increases the more we recall that version of the memory and rehearse it to others.
For example, in a study that asked participants to read stories about two roommates, and then to write either a letter of recommendation or of complaint about one of them, they invariably added their own details to the letter that did not appear in the original stories. When they were later asked to recall the original stories as accurately as possible, they remembered the details they had added to the letters as being part of the original, and they forgot details of the original story that conflicted with the kind of letter they had written. The act of telling a story about the past had successfully revised that past. If you’ve ever seen a convicted criminal passionately proclaim his innocence, despite a mountain of evidence against him, he probably isn’t knowingly lying; years of rehearsing a version of events where he isn’t culpable has likely replaced the memory of what really happened, and he himself now believes in his innocence through and through.
While we all firmly believe our memories are accurate, and such things would never happen to us, as Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson report mistakes were made, studies have shown that “memories are distorted in a self-enhancing direction in all sorts of ways”:
“Men and women alike remember having had fewer sexual partners than they really did…People also remember voting in elections they didn’t vote in, they remember voting for the winning candidate rather than the politician they did vote for, they remember giving more to charity than they really did, they remember that their children walked and talked at an earlier age than they did.”
Another interesting fact: 73% of college students surveyed remember seeing the first plane crash into the World Trade Center on 9/11…even though footage of that event was in fact not aired until the next day.
If you’ve ever been sure that you remembered an episode of your past correctly, only to later find evidence that your version of events couldn’t possibly have been true, you know how disturbing it is, and how much dissonance arises when you realize your memory isn’t as reliable as you once thought.
The Role Memory Plays in Our Self-Justifications
“‘I have done that,’ says my memory. ‘I cannot have done that,’ says my pride, and remains inexorable. Eventually–memory yields.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
The pieces the brain chooses to compose our memories are those that best preserve and protect our self-concept. We have all had experiences where our memory of an event differed from that of another person. While the ensuing argument often presumes that one person is remembering it accurately, and one is not, what is more likely is that each is remembering it from their own angle – one that highlights their innocence as opposed to culpability.
Memories also change over time, as our present experiences and attitudes alter and shape how we see the past. This bears reiteration: Our memory of the past doesn’t simply shape who we are today, we also shape the memory according to how we’re doing in the present.
For example, a study asked teenagers and parents to come into a lab and list their areas of disagreement, then spend ten minutes discussing the conflict together and trying to resolve it. The teenagers would then rate how they felt about the conflict and their parents. Six weeks later, the teenagers were asked to remember how they felt about the conflict at the time of their first visit to the lab; those who were currently feeling close to their parents remembered the rating they had given as lower than it was, while those whose relationships to their parents were more strained remembered their rating as being worse than it was. Their current feelings altered the memory of how they had felt in the past.
This distortion can be magnified as we think over the sweep of our lives. Every person feels the need to fit their personal history into a narrative. The lead-up, the turning points, the bad guys and good guys, our triumphs over obstacles that made us who we are. For instance, “I grew up in a very religious family with uber-strict parents. I never questioned what they taught me until I got to college in New York. And then I became an atheist, and my family disowned me. And I’ve had to make it on my own but it’s made me stronger.”
We explain our lives through the filter of this narrative. And if we’re currently in a chapter of the story where we feel more down-and-out than triumphant, we’re inclined to remember episodes of the past that we believe led to our current struggles and confirm our narrative, and forget details that are dissonant with it. This is often the case for those who blame their parents for how they’ve turned out. As Tavris and Aronson explain:
“We tell our stories with the confidence that the listener will not dispute them or ask for contradictory evidence, which means we rarely have an incentive to scrutinize them for accuracy. You have memories about your father that are salient to you and that represent the man he was and the relationship you had with him. What have you forgotten? You remember that time when you were disobedient and he swatted you, and you are still angry that he didn’t explain why he was disciplining you. But could you have been the kind of kid a father couldn’t explain things to, because you were impatient and impulsive and didn’t listen? When we tell a story, we tend to leave ourselves out: My father did thus-and-such because of who he was, not because of the kind of kid I was. That’s the self-justification of memory.”
The problem with our memory is it invariably paints us in the best possible light, and confirms our chosen narrative, while leaving out the details that threaten our self-concept and contradict that narrative — the mitigating factors, the strengths of others that balanced their flaws, our own role in a situation. Those we blame for our current woes, like our parents, become not complex human beings but one-dimensional symbols for why we’ve turned out the way we have and everything that’s gone wrong in our lives.
Confirmation Bias & Sunk Cost Fallacy
Two other cognitive distortions that keep us from owning up to our mistakes bear mentioning: confirmation bias and sunk cost fallacy.
Confirmation bias explains the way in which our brains seek information that ratifies our preexisting beliefs, and spurns that which contradicts them. When we come across information that aligns with our own opinions, we readily believe it to be true (“This is brilliant!), but when we’re confronted with information that challenges our opinions, cognitive dissonance rears its head, and researchers have actually found that the reasoning parts of our brain shut down. We seek out flaws, however small, in the conflicting information that enables us to summarily dismiss it (“This is utter garbage!”). Once we do, consonance is restored, and the emotional parts of our brain light up with happiness. The result is that being confronted with information that contradicts our ideas can actually leave us more sure of them than before. Confirmation bias explains how a Republican and Democrat can watch the same debate, and both walk away feeling confident that their candidate scored big points, while the opponent was smarmy and dishonest-looking. We look for and latch onto the things that confirm what we already believe, while that which contradicts us flies under the radar – as if one is made of velcro and the other teflon. The confirmation bias explains why it is difficult to change our minds once we’ve made them up.
The sunk cost fallacy explains how the more we invest in something, the more we fear losing that investment, and will thus continue doing it even we don’t really want to, in order to avoid knowing we wasted our time, money, and/or effort. The law student who decides halfway through his three years that he definitely doesn’t want to be a lawyer, will feel he’s invested too much to drop out now. The man who knows his girlfriend of nine years isn’t right for him can’t bring himself to break up with her and face feeling like that near-decade was a waste. The man who’s been devoting all his free time to serving his church can’t bring himself to leave even when a sordid scandal involving the minister blows up. Each is suffering from the sunk-cost fallacy. Each will tell themselves sensible-sounding justifications for why they should continue in their path, when at the heart of it, they really fear losing their investment and feeling like they made a mistake and wasted time, money, and effort. If they continue on, they may come to waste much more, but that’s in the future and the abstract, and is much easier to deal with.
Related to the sunk cost fallacy is the fact that studies have shown that the more pain, effort, and embarrassment you go through to get something, the happier you will be with your choice. Your mind doesn’t want to believe you went through all that for nothing, so it keeps telling you that the reward is truly worthwhile and you made the right decision. This is why hazing rituals are so effective. It would create too much dissonance to think that the painful and embarrassing hazing you went through to get into a group was all for naught, so your brain says, “I am so glad I did this. This group is awesome.” If it’s really not so awesome, and not right for you, and you’ve made a mistake in joining, it becomes very hard to admit.
But Not Everything My Brains Tells Me Isn’t True!
We’ve now established the way in which your mind works overtime to shield your cherished self-concept from any threats. Self-justifications and distorted memories create veritable blind spots in our brains that keep us from seeing a completely accurate picture of how we operate in the world and to what degree we are responsible for what happens to us.
You may be thinking, “Well, I guess I do come up with justifications to wriggle out of responsibility sometimes, but there’s often plenty of truth to them too! A lot of other students were cheating! My friend deserved that grudge I had against him! I was stressed out when I snapped at her! I was unduly provoked when I got in that fight! My parents were distant when I was growing up! I am happy with my fraternity!
Self-justifications distort reality, but they typically do not supplant it. There often are indeed kernels of truth to them. Yet the whole truth of the matter tends to lie somewhere in-between what we tell ourselves happened, and what really happened. Taking ownership of your mistakes means being able to reflect on, and sift through, what our role and responsibility in a situation was. Does the number of students who cheat have a bearing on the moral rightness or wrongness of the decision? What could have been your friend’s motivations for doing what he did? Is it possible to control your temper even when you’re stressed? Did you do anything to provoke the other person’s provocations? Are you forgetting some of the good things your parents did for you too?
Our brain’s blind spots are actually not entirely bad – they do serve a purpose. Without these ego defense systems, we wouldn’t be able to function and would endlessly ruminate about things we did wrong, embarrassments we experienced, and hurts we caused others. We would agonize over whether we made the right decisions and become paralyzed by regret. Self-justifications preserve our confidence and self-esteem and help keep us plunging ahead.
However, too much self-justification can lead to truly deleterious effects on our lives. Tomorrow we will talk about the importance of owning up to your mistakes as much as possible, and also offer strategies on how you can fight the self-justification beast, take ownership of your life, and mature into manhood.
PS-As you were reading this article, did your brain think at certain parts, “That totally reminds me of ____. He always does that.” That’s your responsibility-shirking brain in action again! We readily think of how admonitions apply to others rather than ourselves. Try to think of how this applies to you too!