Self-Deception and Absurdity Essays
The process of defining and analyzing self-deception might focus our attention towards the word deception and stir up our preconceived notions about the word. Moral philosophy teaches us that deception is morally wrong and that the deceiver is responsible for any deceptive actions toward the deceived. Is this the case with self-deception as well? Mark Twain said, “Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may exist, but you have ceased to live.” It is believed by some that self-deception is, as Twain referenced, necessary to “make life livable” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Psychology, Section 5). The question remains, however, over whether the self-deceiver is morally responsible for their deception.
Responsibility would require that one be in control of their actions. If one were in control of their deceptive behavior, then that would mean that they are conscious and mindful of it as well. Intentional self-deception, however, brings about a paradox. This paradox of being aware of self-deception renders the concept of self-deception impossible because, if the self intends to deceive the self, the self would need to have simultaneous knowledge of the truth. Holding two contradictory beliefs would be impossible unless there are unconscious subsystems of the self involved that would allow