Posted by: kenwbudd | June 21, 2010

Why deception is our preferred way of life

Why deception is our preferred way of life

Greek philosopher Epictetus commented on human behaviour in this way: “It is not things in themselves that trouble us, but our opinions and perceptions of those things.” It is not what happens to us that determines our behaviour but how we receive and interpret what happens to us.

Thus, when facing a potential threat, one person might interpret it as a challenge to be mastered, another as a force majuer and certain defeat, while a third might see it as retribution, the punishment he or she readily deserves.

Crucially, the decisions about what to do and how to react to this potential threat, follows on from the individual’s ability for absorbtion, comprehension and interpretation, as it is attributed and applied to the original action.

This uncertainty lies at the heart of what we need to know if we are to understand ourselves and behave differently and more appropriately.

Yet throughout history we have denied ourselves this direct path to the truth because what it tells us about ourselves is that, while we are not responsible for most of what happens to us, we are always responsible for how we interpret it.

We appear to dislike taking responsibility for ourselves as much as we dislike risk and uncertainty.

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