Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Self Deception

How often do we eventually come to believe what we have told ourselves so often, in the face of the bald facts? Mea culpa! This is not really news. Shakespeare covered it pretty clearly in Prospero's observation about his brother, to Miranda! "--like one, who having, into truth, by telling it, made such a sinner of his memory, to credit his own lie, he did believe---". You could paraphrase this by saying " Who's kidding who?" I often am impressed with the capacity of the mind that eventually comes to believe it's own P. R. The standard we hold for others, we must hold ourselves to, and that may take some digging deep. I watched Part Five of the series, the Civil War, on PBS the other day. It included the Gettysburg Address of President Lincoln. He stated "--the world will little note nor long remember what we say here--". How wrong he was! One of the worlds great speeches in a paragraph. There was no confabulation, no overweening pride, no self serving adulation, and no certainty. There was vision and humility and generosity without a carapace of false optimism. The issue was too important for Lincoln to come to believe in any lies about himself. He knew he was simply a player in an uncertain world.He knew what he was, and more importantly, he knew what he wasn't! Would that candor towards one another, and towards oneself, delivered with kindness, succeed, where belief in our own mythology has failed.

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