Seeing Through the Cloud of Lies

I have a confession to make that I want to get off my chest:

I can’t stop lying.

Now, let me explain myself before you start jumping to conclusions about my morality.

I like to think of myself as a pretty honest person, and I keep my relationships as real as they come. There are times when I might even be too honest.

But while I can control my honesty when I’m with another person, I lie to myself all the time.

What does it mean to lie to oneself?

According to Google, the verb ‘lie’ means to make a false impression.

This is exactly what happens when my subconscious mind talks to my conscious mind. Facts go in, and lies come out.

Here’s a simple model of how I wished my thought process works:

Facts come into my brain, and based on those facts I create thoughts.

The problem is, this diagram makes it look like my brain is a well-oiled fact-processing machine, and that all my thoughts are based on reason. This isn’t the case in practice.

A more realistic model of my thought process might look like this:

Two things to note about this diagram:

  1. How my brain works is messy, complex and far from rational. I shouldn’t pretend to understand how it all works.
  2. My thoughts are never true, so it’s helpful to think of them as lies. What I think is not fact but the corrupted output of a brain that is far from perfect. The takeaway is to always question your thoughts and assumptions (and by extension, what other people think too).

I admit the above is has no real basis in psychology. It’s a helpful thought experiment though, as I think it’s easy to believe our thoughts are more rational than they truly are.

Yesterday, I wrote about how I realised I was lying to myself about my eating habits. This theory is my first attempt to gain insight into why things like that happen, so I can start to think what I can do about it.

Three weeks ago Fraser and I made a pact to start blogging every day. And the biggest surprise is — we’re still going! Angus is chugging along too. This makes post #21.

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