Discover, June, 2013
Why do we lie to ourselves? Evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers has spent some time developing a theory to answer this question. We repress painful memories, create false ones, rationalize immoral behavior and jack up our self-esteem. We deny ourselves the truth. It’s the problem of self-deception.
According to the principles of natural selection, we wouldn’t have that curious ability unless it gave our ancestors a competitive edge. Trivers’ theory: We often deceive ourselves because it then becomes easier to deceive others.
One way we lie to ourselves is by seeking information selectively. Another way we deceive ourselves is through false memory. We, basically, remember what we choose – which could have very little to do with the facts. We also simply reject information that doesn’t fit our current model of the way things should be. Several experiments were done to substantiate these theories.
This Discover article written by Paul Raeburn is a high level view of Trivers’ latest book, The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life.
When I read this article last night, I thought, you know, the guy is right. We do deceive ourselves all the time. My last post, We See the World Not As It Is, But As We Are, really is saying a similar thing in a different way.
Isn’t it wild we feel we must construct an imaginary world in order to journey here? We feel we must “deceive ourselves because it then becomes easier to deceive others.” Why would I feel I must fool you?
To me it goes back to self-worth – knowing who I am and celebrating me. Rather, than hiding behind deception – some perceived socially acceptable me. Having courage, standing up and saying, “Here I am, take me or leave me.”
It may be worth looking at your own life – looking for where you are fooling yourself and others. I call it looking in the mirror. Sometimes I don’t like what I see. I know I can’t change what I don’t acknowledge – so, I keep looking.