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Category Archives: Self-deception

A cynic is someone who loves to condemn reality for not living up to his expectations

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Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Aphorism, Self-deception

 

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A cynic is someone who becomes critical of people for not living up to his false hopes.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Aphorism, Definition, Self-deception

 

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I loved my girlfriend unconditionally until she cheated on me.

 

Opinionating

I suspect that simply ‘giving your opinion’ about things is a very easy way to get an ego or ‘self-esteem’ boost.

(Which is why I so often give my opinion about things. Apart from genuinely wanting share and ‘develop’ ideas that I think are interesting.)

And why might ‘giving your opinion’ give a quick ego-boost (boost in self-esteem)? Here are some possible reasons:

When you ‘give your opinion:

a) You get to possibly show that you know more than someone else. This demonstration of ‘superior knowledge’ could also allow you to feel superior to another person (if you think that ‘knowing more’ means ‘being a better person’). Actually ‘knowing more’ is not even necessary here. If you can convincingly express your opinion you may manage to convince others (and even yourself) that you know more than those who are listening about the area concerning the expressed opinion.

b) You get to advertise your cleverness (especially if you believe that your idea is ‘original’, ‘sophisticated’, ‘elegant’ or clever in some other way).

c) You get to emotionally ‘affirm’ what you believe and to indulge in ‘zealousness’ about what you already believe.

d) If you believe what you are saying is ‘provocative’ – you get to demonstrate that you ‘don’t care what others think’, that you are brave and courageous enough to ‘speak your mind’ etc.

e) If your opinion has a ‘target’ – you get to condemn or find fault in the process of giving your opinion (another way of feeling superior).

f) You may get to crystalise your own beliefs by putting them into ‘verbal’ form – and so increase your sense of certainty (or decrease your sense of uncertainty) in the process (which may also increase your self-esteem).

g) You get to be the centre of attention – while expressing your opinion.

h) You simply get to ‘add one more brick’ to your identity structure. By giving your opinion – you simultaneously build the idea of who ‘you’ are in your own and other peoples’ minds. Your sense of who you are may appear to become more ‘real’ by having yet one more belief ‘associated’ with you.

By this account, an ‘opinionated’ person may be a person who has chosen ‘expressing their opinion’ as a primary means for attaining and maintaining self-esteem. (e.g. where other ways of attaining and maintaining self-esteem appear less efficient at attaining these goals e.g. through ‘success’ in work, play, love).

When we consider all the above ego-boosting possibilities associated with ‘giving your opinion’ it becomes clearer why so many traditional spiritual traditions provide clear indications surrounding mindfulness of speech, which types of speech are helpful and which are not etc. Even the most ‘innocent’ of processes ‘opinion giving’ might serve as an opportunity for maintaining one’s sense of being a separate self through getting ego-boosts. Giving your opinion when you don’t really NEED to would probably come under the category of ‘idle speech’ in Buddhism.

http://buddhism.about.com/od/theeightfoldpath/a/rightspeech.htm

That said – ‘giving your opinion’ may not always mean you are getting an ego-boost. You may give your opinion simply because you think it may be useful/helpful, because you are asked for it, because its your job to do so, because its a way to start an interesting conversation, because you are ‘showing what you know’ for the purposes of showing how well matched your skills are for a job, because you enjoy or feel compelled to share and develop ideas etc. These actions may or may not be undertaken with the specific purpose of boosting one’s self-esteem.

 

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Why does a guy who looks mature and caring turn out to be immature and cold? [Or: Why are men assholes?]

[My answer to a friend’s question]

Say a guy is immature and cold to a woman he has met – perhaps after they have had sex or been ‘intimate’ in some way (I’ll use the expression ‘have sex’ – but it might be ‘less’ than that).

Why might the guy behave in this way?

Here are some possible reasons:

i) Perhaps the guy was trying to deceive the woman: He behaved in a mature and caring way SO that he could have sex with her. Perhaps he believes that if he just sleeps with her, he will be happier (for a little longer than it takes to have an orgasm). Or perhaps he believes it will boost his self-esteem. Or perhaps he likes controlling or ‘conquering’ woman in some way.

ii) Perhaps the guy actually genuinely thought he was interested in the woman he was with (or wanted to believe he was) – but actually – he mostly only had sexual desire for her. Then – after sex – he suddenly realised he was mainly only interested in her sexually. In this case the guy was “deceived by his own desire.”
This could happen e.g. if a guy allows his sexual desire to ‘magnify’ other aspects of a woman’s character/personality – such that the guy becomes convinced that he likes many more aspects of the woman than he would do if he was not ‘horny’. For example – he might find what she says ‘interesting’ when he is horny even though he may not if he were to meet her when he is not so horny. Another case might be if the guy is quite moralistic or religious – he may not be willing to admit to himself that he is ‘only’ or ‘mostly’ interested in a woman sexually and so he might want to convince himself that ‘more’ than just sexual attraction exists, by ‘pretending’ to himself that he is interested in other things about her too (apart from her body). Unfortunately – he only realises that he wasn’t so interested after all – AFTER they have had sex.

iii) Perhaps the guy genuinely liked the woman at the beginning – but later he found things out about her that he did not like – and so he then seemed to change his behaviour to being immature and cold. For example, he may have found out that she was quite racist or narrow-minded and/or that she simply had very different opinions from him about things that were important to him.

iv) Perhaps the guy IS mature and caring most of the time– but there are certain unconscious interpersonal or situational triggers that cause him to ‘react’ in quite an immature way – and he has no control over these.

v) Perhaps the woman initially idealised the guy – and THOUGHT he was mature and caring and later – when she saw things more clearly – found out that he REALLY was actually immature and cold.

vi) Perhaps the woman liked the guy a lot and was interested in a serious relationship but actually pretended to him that she was more interested in just ‘having fun/sex’ in order to ‘attract’ him to her (i.e. SHE deceived him). The guy may have thought that she genuinely was interested in just having fun/sex, but later became quite confused/shocked/annoyed when she started behaving in a more ‘serious’ way with him.

vii) Perhaps the woman tried to convince herself that she was just interested in ‘having sex/fun’ even though she was actually interested in something more ‘serious’ (perhaps because of pressure from friends/society to behave in this way). And she presented herself this way to the guy and they did have sex. Later – when she is communicating with the guy – she behaves in a ‘serious’ way with him – and forgets that she initially gave him the impression that she just wanted to have fun/sex. The guy gets confused and starts acting immature and cold.
…. And there are probably many other possibilities …

* Note – everything could be ‘reversed’ by gender above – I am just following the ‘stereotype’ that men ‘give love in exchange for sex and women give sex in exchange for love’. It does seem to be that men have a somewhat higher sex drive in general so there may be some truth to this stereotype. However, in many situations the reverse could also be true too.

 

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Perhaps one of the biggest secrets of them all?

Weird is normal.

 

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Some men will not sleep* with a prostitute mostly because it allows them to maintain a feeling of moral superiority over those who have.

(I have never slept with a prostitute. So there.)

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* Or pick any ‘bad’ thing e.g. cheat romantically, cheat on taxes, lie, gossip etc.

 

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