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Dishonesty, Mistrust and Social Problems

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9/23/2014 8:50:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The number of questions that we ask is astronomical.

My experience has been that answers are EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to get.

It is a communication problem, I have mostly thought. A liberal is speaking a different language than a conservative. A non-Westerner is seeing things from a perspective that is difficult to convey to a Westerner. A philosopher is using a framework completely different from a physicist's. People are talking past each other. Etc. Etc.

But I am starting to think that the difficulty in finding clear thinking and direct answers to questions is really rooted in how dishonest the overwhelming majority of people are with themselves and each other and how much so many people do not trust each other.

Maybe being dishonest and mistrustful is human nature. Maybe everybody having to lie to themselves and others and be suspicious of others in order to survive is the human condition. Maybe only the naive do not see this.

But if the latter is true, nobody seems to be acknowledging it. Instead, people blame all of our problems/ills on "irrationality", "ignorance", "stupidity", "greed", "evil", etc.

I do not see how evolutionary psychology resolves this. Even if somebody could show that being dishonest and mistrustful are traits that were selected for their advantages in the survival of individuals possessing them, their role in our inability to answer questions and address social problems in an increasingly interconnected global social system remains.

Maybe there is rational dishonesty and mistrust and irrational dishonesty and mistrust. I do not think that that means that we can say that irrationality is indeed the problem. Dishonesty and mistrust are still part of the equation, and they are the core of the problem, I would argue.

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9/23/2014 10:43:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The dishonesty is rational in my experience; it adds a dimension to what otherwise can become tedious. In dishonesty we can forgo judgment while enjoying the benefits of superior mental gymnastics.