Saturday, 5 September 2009

Why people lie about themselves (Part 2 of 2)


There can be no happiness without truth. Individual decisions based on lies are bound to result in disaster. Personal relationships based on falsehood are empty of warmth, superficial, and disposable. Whatever your doubts about the convenience of standing for consistency, let me reaffirm that, if you wish to make the best of your life, you really have no choice.

For the individual, time is always limited. The days of our existence are the most scarce resource on earth, since they cannot be replenished at any price. There are many good reasons to pretend that facts are different from what they are and it is indisputable that many personal advantages can be drawn from falsifying reality. Nonetheless, the result will be that lies will eat up your available time.

The argument for truth, on the other hand, is much shorter and more lethal. If you choose the way of pretence and misrepresentation, you will end up by paying a price that you cannot afford. The bigger the lie, the greater the unhappiness and dejection that it will produce. The larger the prevarication, the more painful the punishment that will ensue.

If you want to have philosophy condensed in one sentence, it suffices to say that you shall seek truth and act accordingly. Everything else derives from that fundamental principle. Success, wealth creation, friendship, love, health, longevity, justice and fairness, they all come from the desire to respect and uphold truth.

The enormous social pressure to hide our feelings and avoid calling things by their names are difficult to resist. Many a man spends his life in quiet conformity awaiting the day when he will be able to speak out his mind and show his true self. In that way, the moment of truth can be infinitely postponed, until one day, that man realizes that he has spent his best years in silence.

No one will deny how hard it is to examine our actions in the light of consistent principles. Most of what we hear and almost everything we read is meant to reassure us of the inevitability of living with contradictions. News reports often contain soothing words to assuage the anxiety of the audience, while what we need is encouragement to lead independent, rational lives.

You have to take a stand. You have to make a pause and check what you are telling to yourself. You have to compare your stories with reality and your interpretations with causality. Even if everybody around you lies about a specific issue, you will be much better off if you trust your own perceptions. Sharp observation, rational assessment, and relentless action are the building blocks of happiness.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by kyle simourd under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Why people lie about themselves (Part 2 of 2)


There can be no happiness without truth. Individual decisions based on lies are bound to result in disaster. Personal relationships based on falsehood are empty of warmth, superficial, and disposable. Whatever your doubts about the convenience of standing for consistency, let me reaffirm that, if you wish to make the best of your life, you really have no choice.

For the individual, time is always limited. The days of our existence are the most scarce resource on earth, since they cannot be replenished at any price. There are many good reasons to pretend that facts are different from what they are and it is indisputable that many personal advantages can be drawn from falsifying reality. Nonetheless, the result will be that lies will eat up your available time.

The argument for truth, on the other hand, is much shorter and more lethal. If you choose the way of pretence and misrepresentation, you will end up by paying a price that you cannot afford. The bigger the lie, the greater the unhappiness and dejection that it will produce. The larger the prevarication, the more painful the punishment that will ensue.

If you want to have philosophy condensed in one sentence, it suffices to say that you shall seek truth and act accordingly. Everything else derives from that fundamental principle. Success, wealth creation, friendship, love, health, longevity, justice and fairness, they all come from the desire to respect and uphold truth.

The enormous social pressure to hide our feelings and avoid calling things by their names are difficult to resist. Many a man spends his life in quiet conformity awaiting the day when he will be able to speak out his mind and show his true self. In that way, the moment of truth can be infinitely postponed, until one day, that man realizes that he has spent his best years in silence.

No one will deny how hard it is to examine our actions in the light of consistent principles. Most of what we hear and almost everything we read is meant to reassure us of the inevitability of living with contradictions. News reports often contain soothing words to assuage the anxiety of the audience, while what we need is encouragement to lead independent, rational lives.

You have to take a stand. You have to make a pause and check what you are telling to yourself. You have to compare your stories with reality and your interpretations with causality. Even if everybody around you lies about a specific issue, you will be much better off if you trust your own perceptions. Sharp observation, rational assessment, and relentless action are the building blocks of happiness.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by kyle simourd under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Why people lie about themselves (Part 1 of 2)


Everyday, in countless interactions, you have to decide what image of yourself you wish to project. Do you want to look self-confident even when you doubt your abilities? Are you seeking to hide your weaknesses and put on airs of invincibility? In other words, will you show yourself as your really are or would you rather fake and pretend to be what you are not?

This question touches many aspects that go beyond the merely psychological. Lying or telling the truth remains a fundamental choice even if you live in a desert island. What you tell yourself about the world, your life, and your future has a major impact on your happiness. Lies distort your perception of reality and render you less efficient.

Misrepresentation leads to miscalculation. An impairment of your ability to perceive the world may endanger your survival. Serious damages in your capacity to process information will render you helpless. You will no longer be able to make consistent decisions. Your choices will be arbitrary. Your actions will be based on random justifications.

Despite all negative aspects of lying, people still choose to disguise the truth in order to try to fool others and, in particular, themselves. The amount of anxiety and worry associated with this phenomenon are astounding. Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs are symptoms that reflect how difficult it is to live with inconsistencies. In this light, why do men and women prefer to lie than tell the truth? These are the ten most common reasons:
  1. Fear of rejection, private or professional.
  2. Satisfaction obtained from praise and admiration.
  3. Short-term gains obtained from acceptance by the group.
  4. Avoidance of conflict.
  5. Reassurance gained through conformity.
  6. Search of fame and popularity.
  7. Psychological benefits of adherence to generally accepted values.
  8. Reduction of risks, private or professional.
  9. Fear of criticism and ridicule.
  10. Believing that no alternatives exist.
Each of those reasons is immensely powerful. History offers many examples of institutions that have been created on those justifications and have subsisted for hundreds of years. Fear and conflict-avoidance can take total control of our lives, if we let them. They can turn our search for happiness into an escape from embarrassment and criticism.

Nevertheless, the question that we must ask ourselves is not how much worse things can get. If we look upwards instead of fearing demotion, we soon realize that, through lying, we restrain ourselves to living in little corners. Fear of virus and bacteria should not prevent us from opening the window and breathing fresh air.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by emrank under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Why people lie about themselves (Part 1 of 2)


Everyday, in countless interactions, you have to decide what image of yourself you wish to project. Do you want to look self-confident even when you doubt your abilities? Are you seeking to hide your weaknesses and put on airs of invincibility? In other words, will you show yourself as your really are or would you rather fake and pretend to be what you are not?

This question touches many aspects that go beyond the merely psychological. Lying or telling the truth remains a fundamental choice even if you live in a desert island. What you tell yourself about the world, your life, and your future has a major impact on your happiness. Lies distort your perception of reality and render you less efficient.

Misrepresentation leads to miscalculation. An impairment of your ability to perceive the world may endanger your survival. Serious damages in your capacity to process information will render you helpless. You will no longer be able to make consistent decisions. Your choices will be arbitrary. Your actions will be based on random justifications.

Despite all negative aspects of lying, people still choose to disguise the truth in order to try to fool others and, in particular, themselves. The amount of anxiety and worry associated with this phenomenon are astounding. Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs are symptoms that reflect how difficult it is to live with inconsistencies. In this light, why do men and women prefer to lie than tell the truth? These are the ten most common reasons:
  1. Fear of rejection, private or professional.
  2. Satisfaction obtained from praise and admiration.
  3. Short-term gains obtained from acceptance by the group.
  4. Avoidance of conflict.
  5. Reassurance gained through conformity.
  6. Search of fame and popularity.
  7. Psychological benefits of adherence to generally accepted values.
  8. Reduction of risks, private or professional.
  9. Fear of criticism and ridicule.
  10. Believing that no alternatives exist.
Each of those reasons is immensely powerful. History offers many examples of institutions that have been created on those justifications and have subsisted for hundreds of years. Fear and conflict-avoidance can take total control of our lives, if we let them. They can turn our search for happiness into an escape from embarrassment and criticism.

Nevertheless, the question that we must ask ourselves is not how much worse things can get. If we look upwards instead of fearing demotion, we soon realize that, through lying, we restrain ourselves to living in little corners. Fear of virus and bacteria should not prevent us from opening the window and breathing fresh air.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by emrank under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]