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:
- How my brain works is messy, complex and far from rational. I shouldn’t pretend to understand how it all works.
- 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.