We are wired for self-justification. We create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right — a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong.
Irrefutable evidence is rarely enough to pierce the mental armor of self-justification.
There is no such thing as a conscious hypocrite.
When he came to believe in something, he would believe in it totally, with absolute conviction, regardless of previous beliefs, or of the facts in the matter.
He had a remarkable capacity to convince himself that he held the principles he should hold at any given time.
There was something charming about the air of injured innocence with which he would treat anyone who brought forth evidence that he had held other views in the past.
It was not an act.
He had a fantastic capacity to persuade himself that the ‘truth’ which was convenient for the present was the truth and anything that conflicted with it was the prevarication of enemies.
He literally willed what was in his mind to become reality.
Someone who has justified his actions to himself, believing that he has the truth, becomes impervious to self-correction.
Self-justification has costs and benefits.
By itself, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It lets us sleep at night.
Without it, we would prolong the awful pangs of embarrassment.
We would torture ourselves with regret over the road not taken or over how badly we navigated the road we did take.
We would agonize in the aftermath of almost every decision.
How can we learn from our mistakes, unless we first admit that we made any?
Severe initiations increase a member’s liking for the group.