You Are Not So Smart Blog: A Celebration of Self Delusion
October 5, 2011
The Misconception: You do nice things for the people you like and bad things to the people you hate.
The Truth: You grow to like people for whom you do nice things and hate people you harm.
Sometimes you can’t find a logical, moral or socially acceptable explanation for your actions. Sometimes your behavior runs counter to the expectations of your culture, your social group, your family or even the person you believe yourself to be. In those moments you ask, “Why did I do that?” and if the answer damages your self-esteem, a justification is required. You feel like a bag of sand has ruptured in your head, and you want relief. You can see the proof in an MRI scan of someone presented with political opinions which conflict with their own. The brain scans of a person shown statements which oppose their political stance show the highest areas of the cortex, the portions responsible for providing rational thought, get less blood until another statement is presented which confirms their beliefs. Your brain literally begins to shut down when you feel your ideology is threatened. Try it yourself. Watch a pundit you hate for 15 minutes. Resist the urge to change the channel. Don’t complain to the person next to you. Don’t get online and rant. Try and let it go. You will find this is excruciatingly difficult.
The blog post is here.
Note: How do you perceive complex patients or those who do not respond well to psychotherapy?