Everyone abominates hypocrisy. But, hold on, says a wise man, we’re all hypocrites. It’s part of living.
We all know hypocrisy when we see it. Decide one thing, do another and you’re there. We condemn hypocrites and hypocrisy. Dante, in his Inferno, consigned hypocrites to the eighth circle of hell. And yet, if we’re honest, we can see what a crowded place that would be. Some are either for Self-deception or Cognitive dissonance. But that’s different than saying it’s okay. If we don’t withstand hypocrisy, we’re in a big moral scrumble. This hour On Point: the human capacity for hypocrisy, and just how deep it goes.
I don’t think I’m a hypocrite, not completely, I can’t think of anything I patron for other people that I don’t believe is right or try to follow myself.
I’m not saying I’ve never done wrong things. I have, and I’m ashamed of them. But all those things where I think I should have done better I acknowledge that I was weak and that weakness is understandable and permissible.
You may think that’s a bit of a pathetic get-out, but I’m pretty sure it’s not hypocritical as long as I am similarly unjudgemental about others in similar situations.
So let’s turn to the question of whether, if hypocrisy is in some situations a bad trait, just how bad is it? In some situations is the hypocritical thing to do the right thing to do? In particular, is this often the case politics?
Consider two politicians who both pretend to worry about the predicament of the poor in order to win votes. One of them thinks it would be absurd to do, to pretend the worry about the poor. According to our definition, this politician is a liar and a cad, but he’s not a hypocrite. The other one doesn’t care much about the poor either, but let’s say he thinks he’d be a better person if he did. So he is a hypocrite but I’d prefer him to the first because at least there’s some chance that the feelings he pretends to have will eventually take hold.
Sometimes I can’t really stand the hypocrisy of the people who behave like amateurs out there. People must understand the depth of the situation and balance the social anxiety. It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. I don’t ask for the most mature thing but they must at least try to do the right thing. We’re always pointing our fingers at someone, there are three more pointing back at you. In the literal sense, seek to understand than to be understood. A hypocrite despises those whom he deceives but has no respect for himself. He would make a dupe of himself too if he could.
I firmly believe that one day we’ll get rid of Hypocrisy, but to see that day alive, we have to work out on ourselves. Hate to admit it but its gonna be a very tough road for all of us; The Humans. I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.
May the FORCE be with us!