Intentionalist Approaches and Personal Experience
Thank you!! Yes, I would be interested in more self-deception discussion :)
I love all of the thoughts from my fellow readers here... they blend a variety of my own reactions to your post. Can this even be resolved? Can we ever get to a point of not deceiving oneself ever again? I doubt that... I like the idea that deception may be one part of ourselves (which provides a variety of functions - see your essay above lol!). Another thought, that self-deception may be highly protective for a variety of reasons. Although I am not trained in IFS, this makes me think of their 'parts' language.
My last thought in integrating all of that would be... maybe self-deception can be used for both 'good and evil'. It very likely can be a strength at times, while also being a hindrance in others. Perhaps the way we use it and how we reflect & acknowledge its use is what is most important.
First of all great topic! If we can resolve this.... we can really get true insight to allow for authentic living.
The first approach seems overly simplistic and assumes ourselves with poor memory. I think most people here are more sophisticated than that.
It seems most of the comments resonated with parts theory and definitely different parts of us can want different things and create this inner dilemma.
I wonder if we really need to define self deception however as an independent part of ourselves deceiving us versus the actual prism our instinctual parts has as “lying” only vis a vis our higher cognitive parts. Just a “thought”... ☺️
Ok, sitting with this more. The view of psychological partitioning reminds me of the tripartite soul (rational mind, spirit, and desires). When I think of times I have “self-deceived,” I am pretty sure it has always been to resolve conflict between these three parts of myself and that the deceiver is always the rational mind. I don’t think the spirit and desire parts of me are capable of deceit but instead simply are “truths” for myself (like impartial data points). When my spirit and desire truths create conflict among these three parts, my rational mind swoops in to try and make sense of it all. And sometimes it comes up with lies I cannot fully believe, since they don’t match the spirit and desire truths. But if my rational mind is battling another belief that is in the mind (and there is no conflict with the spirit and desire parts), then I think it is possible to actually self-deceive and replace the belief.
Don't forget that being gaslit by others can also strongly contribute to you lying to yourself (if you allow it to). In fact, I know some people that grew up being gaslit by people around them all the time and their level of self-deception is really up there.
The self-deception is for me a coping mechanism. It states that you have cognitive dissonance between two versions of reality: one version that is true and that you do want to accept, and the other which is partially or completely imaginary but which, if true, could free you. So they are trying to live in the scenario of their choosing while also at the same time living in a reality where the other perspective is actually the case.