Truth & Authenticity
The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness. A feigning to be better than one is. Behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel.
courage to speak up
Association or participation or encourages other perpetrators in a questionable, wrongful, unethical and/or illegal act. Aiding and abetting. An accomplice. But, even though an accomplice does not actually commit the crime his/her actions helped someone in the commission of the crime. Silence is complicity.
Care & Compassion
Devoid of compassion or feeling. Devoid of courage or enthusiasm. Spiritless. Without a heart. Unkind; unsympathetic; harsh; cruel.
Accountability & transparency
Dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people (such as government officials or police officers). The abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Corruption erodes trust, weakens democracy, exacerbates inequality, poverty, social division.
Key Concepts & Tools
Hypocrisy meaning, definition & explanation
What is Hypocrisy?
Hypocrisy is the contrivance of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, while concealing real character or inclinations, especially with respect to religious and moral beliefs; hence in general sense, dissimulation, pretense, sham. It is the practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another. In moral psychology, it is the failure to follow one’s own expressed moral rules and principles. According to British political philosopher David Runciman, “Other kinds of hypocritical deception include claims to knowledge that one lacks, claims to a consistency that one cannot sustain, claims to a loyalty that one does not possess, claims to an identity that one does not hold.” American political journalist Michael Gerson says that political hypocrisy is “the conscious use of a mask to fool the public and gain political benefit.” Hypocrisy has been a subject of folk wisdom and wisdom literature from the beginnings of human history. Increasingly, since the 1980s, it has also become central to studies in behavioral economics, cognitive science, cultural psychology, decision making, ethics, evolutionary psychology, moral psychology, political sociology, positive psychology, social psychology, and social psychology (sociology).
Nietzsche on how to spot hypocrites
How to spot hypocrites
Jordon Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, discusses Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), a German philosopher, on hypocrisy. Nietzsche argues that we think we base how we ought to act on moral ideals which are in turn grounded in ideas about what is true. His critique turns this picture on its head and instead claims that our theoretical ideas stem from our moral prejudices, which are determined by our psychology and ultimately our physiology. For him, what constitutes a good theory of truth is that it reflects a healthy life, which he understands in the sense of being strong, controlled, singular in the pursuit of ones goals. In this regard, Nietzsche is not bothered by a charge of hypocrisy, as he recognizes himself as a great individual precisely because of his ability to hold his many contradictions in check.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Cognitive dissonance theory is an element of psychology that’s made its way into popular vocabulary, probably for many, without understanding the psychological nuances. Since Leon Festinger’s landmark book in 1957, there have been many studies examining and clarifying the power of dissonance.
The key behind dissonance is inconsistency. Cognitive dissonance is when you hold two thoughts that are inconsistent with one another. There are many different forms of dissonance, but most often they involve inconsistency between a belief/opinion and a behavior.
Ways to resolve dissonance:
- Change the belief/opinion so it’s more consistent with cognition/behavior.
- Change the behavior to help restore consistency.
- Add another belief/opinion that helps restore consistency
- Reduce the importance of the inconsistency
The Ring of Gyges: Morality & Hypocrisy
After introducing Plato’s Republic, Professor Gendler turns to the discussion of Glaucon’s challenge in Book II. Glaucon challenges Socrates to defend his claim that acting justly (morally) is valuable in itself, not merely as a means to some other end (in this case, the reputation one gets from seeming just). To bolster the opposing position–that acting justly is only valuable as a means to attaining a good reputation–Glaucon sketches the thought experiment of the Ring of Gyges. In the second half of the lecture, Professor Gendler discusses the experimental results of Daniel Batson, which suggest that, at least in certain controlled laboratory settings, people appear to care more about seeming moral than about actually acting fairly. These experimental results appear to support Glaucon’s hypothesis in the Ring of Gyges thought experiment.
Dealing with Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is the number one complain followers have against their leaders. Why is hypocrisy such a rampant expression in our day to day relationships? The word “chameleon” comes to mind – the blending in of oneself into the environment in order to save one’s own reputation. The root word “hypocrisy” come from the Greek – “hupokrites” meaning “actor”. That is what the hypocrite does – playing different roles, constantly shifting his stance to suit the environment without clear conviction. It is a life of pretense.
How to Deal With Hypocritical Activists, Politicians and Charities
In this insightful talk, Nat Ware explains why we shouldn’t call out hypocrites, and what to do instead. Too often, Nat says, we use the hypocrisy of others as an excuse for inaction, and charity as an excuse to do anything. We target charitable messengers and avoid critiquing charitable messages. Nat argues that the exact opposite should be true. He explains that the people we call hypocrites often aren’t actually hypocritical. Their hypocrisy is an illusion. As such, focusing on the hypocrisy of the messenger is inaccurate and misguided. Instead, Nat argues that we should focus on the validity of the message because this helps to maximize impact. We should not target charitable messengers, and critiquing charitable messages should no longer be taboo. Nat challenges us all to “rebut the message not the messenger” because what matters more than doing an action is the impact of that action. According to Nat, small minds rebut people but great minds rebut arguments!
Power & Psychology of Language Part 5: Hypocrisy
Why we must be vigilant against and call out certain types of people who use language in a very hypocritical and destructive manner.
The Human Hypocrite & The Evolving Mind
By the Thinking-Ape
Why Everyone (Else) is a Hypocrite
Leading evolutionary psychologist Robert Kurzban visits the RSA to argue that there is no “I” but that instead each of us is a contentious “we”.