Tag: self-deception

The Bad Decisions Club

Room 1 loudspeaker

Welcome to the Bad Decisions Club! Make yourself at home. You’re the latest of countless applicants. Our guided tour will make everything easy for you. Please leave your coat on the shelf beside you; our staff will take care of it. Once you’re unburdened, please proceed through the next door.

Room 2

In this room you’ll find a simple questionnaire. It will ask you to describe the worst and stupidest thing you’ve ever done. Here in the Bad Decisions Club, we accept you as you are. You won’t be rejected or judged. We keep our standards low for your benefit. Please give your completed questionnaire to the man at the desk who looks like a wise old priest. He will absolve you and assure you that you are a good person. You’ll believe him, because absolution feels good. We thank you for trusting us with the content of your conscience. Please proceed through the next door when done.


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“I’d never fall for that”: How dishonesty makes you stupid

The man who lies to himself, and listens to his own lie, comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.

When we look at all the scams around us, we’re often stunned that anyone would fall for them. Really? He said he wanted to transfer Nigerian royal assets into your bank account, and you believed him?

And from the comfort of our armchairs, we say, of course it was a scam! Who would be dumb enough to fall for that? We as a species unanimously agree that we’re way too smart to fall for the flim-flam acts that we hear about every day — yet they proliferate like mushrooms. Someone out there is falling for them. A lot of someones, in fact, or else we wouldn’t keep hearing about all the ways fools are finding to get themselves fooled.

So we agree — again, universally — that the human race is stupid. And of course, the person making that diagnosis is the lone exception. Everyone feels they’re smarter than the herd of idiots surrounding them.

And they’re all wrong. Not just because of the illogic of it, but because intelligence, or lack of it, was never really the problem. It’s lazy to be satisfied with stupidity as an explanation, and maybe a little self-serving, because it allows us to ignore a critically important question: what’s causing all this stupidity?

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