Why People Have Trouble with the Truth – Part 2
In Part 1 of this article we discussed the issue of denial. When people are confronted with an aspect, an idea, a fact or a situation which challenges their model of the world there is a part of their mind which refuses to deal with anything uncertain and which resorts to denial every time its certainty model is challenged.
As a broad generalization most people when confronted with an uncomfortable truth wish they never had to face it in the first place.
Ignorance is Bliss
The capacity to deal with uncomfortable “truths” is not a function of intelligence, or education or anything the like, but rather conditioning and programming. Conditioning and programming form neural pathways of response which are becoming automatic and unconscious. What do you think behavioral and operant conditioning do?
Convincing yourself that an obvious truth is neither relevant nor important is an incredible accomplishment. From here to totally ignoring the obvious is but a small step. Black becomes white, wrong becomes right, do as I say not as I do becomes the rule. We’ve all been thoroughly schooled on how to do just that. We’ve been told repeatedly in our lives what to think, how to think “the right way” and we’ve been punished for daring to do the opposite or to step outside the prescribed norm. We’ve been told what to believe until it became automatic and unconscious. We were programmed to respond in a certain way. In fact the response becomes so automatic that we convert into enforcers of what we’ve been conditioned about and impose the same rules upon ourselves and others. If something contradicts our conditioning we either deny its reality or relegate it to the “too threatening to handle” waste basket.
Many people would rather admit they have not held onto the blender lid properly if it makes everything else that much easier. And the more expensive the blender was and the more they bragged about it the more it’ll be their fault. In other words the more investment they have to hold onto the status quo the more they will deny the obvious. The fact that they may never use that blender again and just put it on some shelf in the garage makes no difference either. So they dismiss the undesirable stuff and continue onward pretending once again that everything is just fine.
If something doesn’t match their expectations and beliefs (which, as we have established have been conditioned into their responses and which they end up defending boldly and righteously) they prefer to dismiss it.
Unfortunately the situation does not end here. If deep down (in the Unconscious Mind) this denial is not utterly and completely accepted these people end up in an perpetual inner conflict which makes matters ten times worse. They become chronically dissociated from themselves. They end up not having any consciousness of what or who they are – what they really do want, desire, what is right for them or what is not. They accept conditions and circumstances unconditionally which they ought not to consider “normal”. Finally, they become hypocrites. They say one thing and mean something else. They say something and do something else. They pretend to be, to like, to dislike exactly the opposite of what they actually do. The denial can go so deep that they will swear they’re telling the truth.
You’ve met people like this. They can’t ever seem to get themselves to tell you straight what they think. They beat around the bush and write anonymous complaints, or throw illogical objections at you. Not that they’re pathological liars (these make up another category – mostly Values Level 3), but they don’t seem to gather courage enough to tell or accept the truth. They seem to gravitate for certain jobs mostly in the politics (that’s a joke) and they become bureaucrats. You’ve heard of the term “double talk”. These people run like hell away from conflict, but don’t hesitate to send others to deal with a direct confrontation as long as they don’t have to face it. Psychology has a host of so called mental “diseases” based on these behaviors.
But what if, what if these behaviors are just a product of conditioning, of inability to express the inner personal truth? Maybe you secretly would love a good juicy steak but you righteously eat vegetarian and then you feel entitled to tell others. You do the right thing because you’ve been told this is how you should eat. You don’t realize this is just conditioning. Somebody else has an agenda and you have been conditioned to accept it.
What if most of your thinking and behavior has as its root cause an unconscious but automatic and unthinking reaction? Maybe you tried to express yourself differently from the accepted “norm” when you were young and were severely punished, or repeatedly punished – this is called conditioning folks – until you have learned to respond the desired way and in an automatic and unthinking way? The fear of punishment has created the desired response. Desired by whom? Well the system installing the conditioning.
Consequently the person responds, thinks and behaves the way he is expected to even if it has nothing to do with “the truth”. In this way white can become black, false can become truth and the person may not even know consciously but will actualize with denial everything challenging that installed response. So it is simple: when confronted with the real truth the person automatically responds as expected. The greater the punishment in the conditioning phase, the more intense the rejection of a new uncomfortable truth.
In NLP we call this the mark of Values Levels 4. Totally dissociated from their inner selves, and even in conflict with their own Unconscious Mind, disjointed and in conflict with their personal desires, wishes and values, people operating at this neurological level are marked by denial and rejection of truth. The greater the denial the greater the inner conflicts and dissociation from themselves.
But there are brave souls who decide to accept a difficult truth. These are people who run the risk of changing the way they see the world. In NLP this is called Values Levels transition, namely transition from Values Level 4 into Values Level 5. Up to and including Values level 5, I don’t think people are even aware of their own true belief system. They are simply conditioned. They did not begin the process of thinking for themselves, discovering and being all right with who they are until they reach that point. Until then, they take what’s put in their mind since birth (which is the conditioning process I mentioned) – and maybe even before birth – as gospel and most don’t even recognize their own inner incongruence.
Having NLP, Time Line Therapy® and Hypnosis as a background I happen to believe that everyone has a choice no matter how hard the conditioning was. Therefore even if a person had no choice at some point but to accept the conditioning, IF (and it is a big if) the neurology of the body AND the environmental conditions outside allow, the individual may still be able to break free and rediscover who they really are, what they really want, and begin to think for themselves.
The conclusion of this article will be posted next week.
Until then, be well