Many of us delude ourselves everyday. We see the best in those that we really should be more cautious of. We tell ourselves things will get better even though we have not made plans to remedy our situation. And we make poor decisions telling ourselves something will come along to prevent an unfavorable outcome. These are just a few examples of how we delude ourselves negatively. But why do we do this to ourselves?
Self delusion can be a way to relieve the stress of a seemingly impossible situation and afford us the feeling of strength when we need it the most. When we give someone the benefit of the doubt even though they have shown us repeatedly they will not change, our delusion stems from a kind heart. In this manner, self delusion doesn’t have to always be a negative thing.
Placebos are an example of the power of self delusion. We may have an ailment that we have suffered with and finally decide to go to the physician. Having taken the entire regimen of tests we still suffer. Finally the physician prescribes us sugar pills that have a slightly bitter aftertaste. We are cured. Same concept for anxiety induced asthma. Some inhalers are nothing more than moist mist with a shot of camphor added. We take two puffs when our throats begin to tighten and we experience relief.
Other ways we delude ourselves involves our interaction with others. We argue about political issues, but do not really know enough about the topics to make informed opinions. We may only have a surface understanding of the topic and may delude ourselves into thinking we are experts on the issue. In truth, politics is notoriously complex and the issues cannot simply be understood by watching the news or reading the paper.
We may have opinions about the people of other cultures based solely upon the opinions conveyed by commentary on the news. We delude ourselves into thinking we know those people half way around the world whom we have never met. We feel we know their culture, even though we have never visited their country. Are we are basing our opinions on the views of others? Are we objectively researching all the views, or simply seeking out as much negative information as we can? Perhaps we now have an idea how self delusion on a mass scale can seriously adversely affect the world.