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Hypocrites and the culture of hypocrisy

Dec 06,2018 - Last updated at Dec 06,2018

Whether plural or individual, hypocrisy — the contraption of a fake facade of righteousness or virtuousness, hiding real personality, including, among other things, concealment, deceit or fraud, a practice of being involved in the same behaviour or activity for which an individual critiques someone else — seems to be on the loose in our society lately!

How does one reconcile oneself to being a hypocrite? How can one individual boisterously say one thing then behave in a completely inconsistent, self-contradictory manner? A sick practice such as this maybe surprisingly easy for a sequential cluster of social, psychological, cultural and moral reasons.

In these times of common socio-psychological strain culture, one popular practice is difficult not to be noticed and, the sad reality is, to avoid hypocrisy! Many people commonly and heatedly criticise others for doing or saying certain things, while paradoxically practicing the same things they disapprove themselves. But this is an entirely wrong and immoral a practice, low and vulgar, as it is, and it reveals that this category of people cannot be trustworthy in any possible way.

Hypocrisy has developed into being a very complicated social and cultural phenomenon. It has manifested itself rudely in several ill-mannered, discourteous, disrespectful and impolite ways, and for several reasons. A lot of things are seen and practiced as hypocrisy, and a lot of times, hypocritical things are socially and culturally accepted because they are, sadly, consistent with the norm and the milieu. For example, if someone urges others around them to be honest but is then found out to be dishonest themselves, they would be considered hypocritical at best.

Though people may not be sound or reliable all the time, saying one thing but doing the opposite is certainly morally wrong and wicked, because our value judgments are usually subjective rather than objective, to the extent that hypocrisy is often in the eye of the beholder.

Many individuals have an egocentric bias, where they evaluate other people’s capabilities and attributes far more exceedingly than is truly the circumstance. And some of those people who reach a certain level of intellectual achievement in specific situations can reverse this, but they generally think extremely well of themselves.

 It would be no surprise, therefore, if one’s psychology is perplexed with intellectual biases that force us sometimes to feel like we are virtuous, well-mannered and efficient, no matter what the reality is. The enigma is that our assessments of other people are far more problematic. 

Similarly, some may tell others to do something and avoid doing it themselves because they actually think they do not need to do it, but the “lower” people need to realise this. Not a very good deed, by any possible stretch of the human imagination, for sure, may not even be a sane verdict!

The difficulty with practicing what we preach, or upholding high principled standards, is the way it works. We get all the advantages of people thinking we are good and well-mannered, but we cannot realise any restriction whatsoever.

As a final word, hypocrisy allows us to appear well-principled without really having to be so in reality and that includes hypocrisy about things we may not agree with, things that sorrowfully make us hypocrites without ever realising the terrible consequences of being so!

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