Is self-delusion possible?

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chewybrian
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Is self-delusion possible?

Post by chewybrian » July 8th, 2018, 6:33 am

Do sane, rational people ever successfully fool themselves?

What valid reasons, if any, could these folks have for wishing to delude themselves? Are they always trying to get away with something they feel is wrong? Is self-delusion always involuntary, always deliberate, or can it be either or both? By what process or processes do people accomplish this deceit, if in fact they do? Is the deception, or the attempt, ever justified; can the means of fooling yourself result in worthwhile ends?

Have you ever deceived yourself; if so, how and why? Would you know if you had, or can this only be seen in others, or perhaps after the fact?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkdU7p30xKg

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Newme
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Newme » July 8th, 2018, 1:28 pm

Self-delusion is inevitable to some degree. We can’t possibly see all perspectives. Not seeing reality objectively, we are always some degree of subjectively deluded. I suppose the degree of delusion involves several influential factors like personality (intuitive vs sensing & introvert vs extrovert), family upbringing, mental illness, cognitive distortions, life traps etc.

My guess is you’re thinking of more extreme cases of delusion. Some people seem to lack self-awareness so much that I feel embarrassed and sad for them at times. 2 cases come to mind. My sister was raised very punitively with high expectations of perfection, yet she has been impulsive which at times has got her into major trouble - almost prison. Witnesses saw her “lose it” - yet she still denies any wrong doing and blames others, so much that she has alienated almost everyone. It’s as if the weight of her infallibility is just too much to bare, so she makes up alternate stories and freaks out if anyone questions her.

A friend is different in that she was raised as an only child who got what she wanted most of the time and was the boss of her single immigrant mother. She has often accused others of acting as she does - and it’s so obvious that it leaves me speechless. In her case I think she didn’t have enough feedback from siblings and others when she was young, and that caused her lack of self-awareness to cause problems - debt, relationship problems etc. From an early age, she was the caregiver (worked in family restaurant at age 9 and by 11, she was driving her mom around a big city). And yet materialistically she was spoiled. So she was taught & believed that it was all about her - pressure and in receiving.

Illusion (more subtle than delusions) is probably the more common state. Some types of illusion are good and motivating etc. The most obvious is competition in a trivial board game - funny to realize how intense some of us get to win!!! And for what? Just to win!!! :D But when it comes to getting up when feeling depressed, to accomplishing goals and improving conditions... “Functional illusions are priceless.”

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » July 8th, 2018, 3:25 pm

The moment you prefer a certain idea of yourself, you are open to self-delusion.
I am a good guy.
So when I did X, well it depended on circumstances Y and Z person's behavior.

That is rationalization. We have all done this. We let ourselves get away with certain things because we experience the complexity of factors PLUS we don't like the realization that we did something we would just others harshly for. And it cuts the other way also. Sometimes, some of us, are harsher about our own behavior and reactions than we are of others.

This is just one way we delude ourselves. Here about things that are ego-dystonic.

There can be other motivations.

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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » July 8th, 2018, 3:26 pm

judge others harshly for

is what I meant.

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chewybrian
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by chewybrian » July 9th, 2018, 5:35 am

Newme wrote:
July 8th, 2018, 1:28 pm
Self-delusion is inevitable to some degree. We can’t possibly see all perspectives. Not seeing reality objectively, we are always some degree of subjectively deluded. I suppose the degree of delusion involves several influential factors like personality (intuitive vs sensing & introvert vs extrovert), family upbringing, mental illness, cognitive distortions, life traps etc.
It seems that it should be impossible to make yourself believe something that you know is not true. But, of course, you're right.
Newme wrote:
July 8th, 2018, 1:28 pm
My guess is you’re thinking of more extreme cases of delusion.
I didn't want to limit the discussion. I can think of a little one. I had convinced myself that it was OK to skip a day, or even two, of shaving, and that somehow people would not notice. Nobody was saying anything, but of course, they could see it. It was only through noticing someone else who was skipping a day or two, and seeing how sloppy it looked, that I realized that I was not fooling anybody else, and only fooling myself.

There are plenty of big ones you see all the time: religion, alcoholism, all kinds of escapes from reality. It can be as simple as altering the time perspective. The relief of that next cigarette might outweigh the risk from just that one cigarette, so you might convince yourself that it makes sense to have one more, even though you know you need to quit, or think you might be on the verge of quitting soon. You could be about to quit tomorrow for twenty years by only looking at the risk or benefit of that next cigarette alone.
Newme wrote:
July 8th, 2018, 1:28 pm
It’s as if the weight of her infallibility is just too much to bare, so she makes up alternate stories and freaks out if anyone questions her.
Man, did you hit on a big one there. I had a man pull out in front of me on the motorcycle because his view was blocked by a car in the right turn lane. When I (foolishly) confronted him about it, he said he was glad for the opportunity to tell me that I needed new gear, because I just blended into the background. I was wearing:
ImageImageImage

It was impossible for me to wear anything more visible. Yet, he had convinced himself that I was the problem, and he was helping me by making me aware of my relative invisibility. He could not accept that he made a bad choice by pulling out when his view was blocked. If you refuse to admit such errors, you block off many chances to learn and grow. These 'infallible' people seem to be more common today.
Newme wrote:
July 8th, 2018, 1:28 pm
But when it comes to getting up when feeling depressed, to accomplishing goals and improving conditions... “Functional illusions are priceless.”
Maybe the question should have been: "Can a person live without deluding themselves?". Sometimes you just have to 'fake it til you make it'. But, I can't help thinking that deep down we all know the truth, at least our own sense of it, as we perceive it with our limited abilities and information.

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Newme
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Newme » July 11th, 2018, 2:47 pm

Hi ChewyBrian,
I completely agree that refusing to admit errors limits growth. I still go to church (interfaith marriage etc), but I see how a belief that Jesus is a scapegoat is ironically damning (holding people back). Maybe the paradox of accepting ourselves as forever fallible works in progress... while also striving for better - is just too much for some.

Regarding your scruffy look - some women, like me, find that or a beard attractive. But I realize a lot of workplaces require a clean-shaven look. And btw, I think guys on motorcycles with helmets like that look sexy! But please be careful - so many careless drivers and it leaves you more vulnerable. I once got in a motorcycle accident. Summer night, I was wearing shorts, tank top & no shoes, no helmet & jumped on the back of a boy friend’s motorcycle for a quick ride. Almost went off a cliff out in the middle of no-where in the hills of So Ca - got thrown. No broken bones on either just scraped up, but scared us both. My adrenalin kicked in and I pulled the bike off him as if it were a toothpick. Since then, it’s thrilling but my legs shake when I’ve ridden. I guess I’m deluding myself to think the present is the past. ;)

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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Spectrum » July 12th, 2018, 3:00 am

Delusion: Psychiatry: a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact:

The mother of all self-delusion in the belief there is a God that is really real.
God is an impossibility and an illusion thus the continual belief in a God is the mother of all self-delusion knowing or unknowingly. In practice such a self-delusion is not only possible but it is of critical necessity by the majority to deal with an inherent unavoidable existential crisis.
Without such a self-delusion many theists' life would go haywire.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Newme
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Newme » July 12th, 2018, 10:42 am

Spectrum,
Considering the power of belief as evident by the placebo effect, I see reason to believe in things that are not yet so, but hopeful of being. It is not just theists who believe things which have no factual evidence. “All have faith, but not all are conscious of having faith.”

Sorry but I find it difficult to take you seriously when you state, “God is an impossibility.” The bible defines God as Love. How logical is it to claim, “Love is an impossibility”? God is also biblically written to be experienced within us: “The kingdom of God is within you.” How logical is it to state that “Experiencing God within you is an impossibility”?

Spectrum, looks like you need to go back to the drawing board, even if you’ve been working on this “God is an impossibility” work, for years. That is, unless it’s become too dogmatic for you. ;)

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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Eduk » July 12th, 2018, 12:57 pm

I am love. Now please tell me what that means?

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Newme
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Newme » July 12th, 2018, 5:38 pm

Eduk wrote:
July 12th, 2018, 12:57 pm
I am love. Now please tell me what that means?
Sure, I’d love to! :)
You are perceiving reality as well as you can appreciate it, while striving for what you think is best, through trial and error.

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Greta
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Greta » July 12th, 2018, 7:36 pm

chewybrian wrote:
July 9th, 2018, 5:35 am
I didn't want to limit the discussion. I can think of a little one. I had convinced myself that it was OK to skip a day, or even two, of shaving, and that somehow people would not notice. Nobody was saying anything, but of course, they could see it. It was only through noticing someone else who was skipping a day or two, and seeing how sloppy it looked, that I realized that I was not fooling anybody else, and only fooling myself.
People's observations are far from uniform. Some people would barely notice if a jack-in-the-box sprouted out of your head while others will pick up subtle nuances that you are not even aware of yourself. Most times neither will say a thing about it, and that uniform response can easily be seen as more uniform perceptions than is the case.

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Felix
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Felix » July 12th, 2018, 10:05 pm

Do sane, rational people ever successfully fool themselves?
What does "successfully" mean in that context - come to believe their own self-conceived lie? If so, they are not acting sanely/rationally when they do that, are they?
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Greta
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Greta » July 12th, 2018, 10:55 pm

Okay team, we are going to WIN this time!

WE WILL WIN!

Louder!

WE WILL WIN!

Better! It doesn't matter if we haven't won a game since 2008! It doesn't matter that the overpaid opposition hasn't lost at home since 1973! WE WILL WIN THIS TIME!

WE WILL WIN!! WE WILL WIN!! WE WILL WIN!!!

Then they lose 6-0 after being completely dominated. Yet would it be rational to accept a ritual slaughter? After all, they might have been lucky.

Spectrum
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Spectrum » July 12th, 2018, 11:28 pm

Newme wrote:
July 12th, 2018, 10:42 am
Spectrum,
Considering the power of belief as evident by the placebo effect, I see reason to believe in things that are not yet so, but hopeful of being. It is not just theists who believe things which have no factual evidence. “All have faith, but not all are conscious of having faith.”

Sorry but I find it difficult to take you seriously when you state, “God is an impossibility.” The bible defines God as Love. How logical is it to claim, “Love is an impossibility”? God is also biblically written to be experienced within us: “The kingdom of God is within you.” How logical is it to state that “Experiencing God within you is an impossibility”?

Spectrum, looks like you need to go back to the drawing board, even if you’ve been working on this “God is an impossibility” work, for years. That is, unless it’s become too dogmatic for you. ;)
Yes, "Hopeful of being ..."

If one hope for something to be, it has to be empirically possible. Example I can hope a human-liked alien exists in an Earth-liked planet some where million of light years within the Universe. These elements mentioned all has empirically proven equivalents and thus empirically possible. So it is a matter of bringing the empirical evidence for justifications to confirm their existence.

One can experience 'God' but the idea of God by default is not an empirical possibility at all. Any God is that is empirical in nature cannot be God by its default at all. Since the idea of God is an empirical impossibility, God is an impossibility to be real.

How the idea of God arise in the consciousness of humans is driven by a fundamental existential psychological impulse. A greater understanding of how this impulse originated will enable one to understand the idea of God [and its negative side effects to humanity] and thus to find more effective methods to deal with the inherent existential crisis.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » July 12th, 2018, 11:59 pm

Felix wrote:
July 12th, 2018, 10:05 pm
Do sane, rational people ever successfully fool themselves?
What does "successfully" mean in that context - come to believe their own self-conceived lie? If so, they are not acting sanely/rationally when they do that, are they?
A sane person is a person who is not insane. Clearly sane people self.delude with regularity. Likewise rational people, since neither of these words entail infallibility. But are they being rational when they do this? No. There are still being sane. Insance is an extreme category. You are not insane if you think someone was being unfair, when in fact you were being a jerk. The specific evaluation you made might be irrational, but ou are likely still sane, even in the moment of doing it. If you think you are the Pope for an hour, you might be having a psychotic break.

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