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Living a Lie: We Deceive Ourselves to Better Deceive Others

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/living-a-lie-we-deceive-ourselves-to-better-deceive-others/

scientificamerican.com

Living a Lie: We Deceive Ourselves to Better Deceive Others
People mislead themselves all day long. We tell ourselves we're smarter and better looking than our friends, that our political party can do no wrong, that we're too busy to help a colleague. In 1976, in the foreword to Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene, the biologist Robert Trivers floated a novel explanation for such self-serving biases: We dupe ourselves in order to deceive others, creating social advantage.

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Our Delusions

Most people are misleading themselves all the time. Our biases, our ego and our mental traps have held us captive, unable to endorse or support anything that shakes our cage. We believe we are smart, good looking, and can do no wrong.

The truth is that our mind’s information-gathering, reasoning and recollections are inherently biased.

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Reality Distortion

Reality Distortion

Most of us have evolved to overestimate our positive qualities, as it feels good. This ‘self-enhancement’ is done with the right intentions but is nothing more than a reality distortion in our minds.

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Self-Deceptions

We all form impressions about ourselves, and once those impressions have been formed, they stick. It is as if once they are frozen in our minds, having become a part of us, and we don’t want to lose them, even if they are proven to be false.

Example: A study on high school boys showed that having overconfidence (or self-deception) in one’s abilities (athletic or academic) made them popular, even if they weren't really better in any of those abilities.

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Fooling Yourself To Fool Others

If a person believes in himself completely, he is able to use that belief to his advantage.

Self-deception is often the first step to convincing and persuading others. It is about one’s inner motivations, and not about what’s right. Many people depend on this tool to advance their careers. Being self-motivated is the only way others can be motivated.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Our reasons for lying

Where lying is concerned, we just can't seem to help ourselves. 

We lie for two reasons: behavioral conditioning and cognitive evolutionary biology.

Behavioral conditioning

Lying keeps us hooked because we enjoy the reward. The outcomes are unpredictable.
Lying is reinforced every time we get away with it. 

Cognitive evolutionary biology

Lying is a valuable tool in our survival kit. We can spare someone's feelings or build social standing. Lying can keep us out of trouble or even save our lives.

Practicing deception starts as early as six months of age such as fake crying or laughter. But people only start to get good at it after another four years where they learn to let go of the unbelievable lies and settle for what kind of lies work. 

To Persuade or Convince

When people disagree with us we assume they are ignorant … that they lack information. So we try to convince them with information. It seldom works.

  • Persuasion...

The Illusion of Explanatory Depth

When knowledge is put to the test, our familiarity with things leads to an (unwarranted) overconfidence about how they work.

Most of the time others won’t test their knowledge either. This is the beginning of how we start to show others or even ourselves that our view of the world might need updating.

Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

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The Persona

In a public situation, we present a different version of ourselves than from the one at home. Every profession has unspoken agreements about which manners are acceptable, and which are not....

The Shadow

The 'shadow self' is everything a person has denied in themselves, such as spontaneity, aggression, cowardice, carelessness, passion, enthusiasm. It embraces all the thoughts and moods for which we feel guilt and shame.

The shadow is emotional, for it must oppose the rigidness of the ego. It is prone to psychological projection, where we attribute to others the inferior qualities we do not want to admit are in ourselves. When we perceive a moral deficiency in others, we can be sure there is similar inferiority within ourselves. If we take note of our resentment towards ourselves and others, we have the opportunity to bring the shadow into consciousness.

Anima/Animus

  • Jung believed that inside the shadow are the qualities of our opposite gender. The anima expresses the feminine qualities within a man, and the animus indicates the masculine qualities within women.
  • Jung presented the concepts of the anima and animus as the archetypes of Eros and Logos. Eros (the female) is identified with receptivity, creativity, relationships, and wholeness. Logos (the male) is associated with power, thought, and action.
  • The archetypes of the anima/animus have their own autonomy, and are independent from our conscious mind.