Adam Read in Lifestyle, Tradesman and skilled workers, Social Work Oct 1, 2016 · 2 min read · +100

The Devil's Advocate: The Inaccurate Label of Hypocrisy

The Devil's Advocate:  The Inaccurate Label of Hypocrisy

Somewhere in human history, I'm guessing that someone wanted a convenient means of describing a personality trait they didn't like, and within the limitation of understanding they had at the time, they pointed to something they saw on the surface without understanding where this unfavorable trait actually came from.  

As far as I can tell, hypocrisy is much more closely related to the Defense of Familiarity than it is an indicator of immorality. It is actually the Defense of Familiarity combined with a terrible Fear of the Unknown that seems to trigger these and other unwanted behaviors.  Together, they appear to activate the need for building a fortress around our own minds, and in an attempt to create a safe haven, the windows and walls of this fortress are also filled in with proverbial stone.  With no ability to see outside the impregnable fortress or journey beyond  its walls, the only form of reality we would know at this point is what we see from the inside.  

It is no wonder then, if and when another person taps on the walls of our fortress from the outside that it would cause us on the inside to be alarmed, afraid, and to defend what we have come to call our home.  But perhaps there is even more going on than this.

While all this is going on, though, it would also seem reasonable for our minds to have some innate understanding of what is healthy and normal, and this is where may begin taking note of what should be done in a less dysfunctional environment.  So, we start to note the flaws we see in others as a means of finding away to escape the dysfunction in our own minds, yet because of our terrible fear of the unknown, the ability to adapt and change our own behavior is met with the armed guards inside our own minds who are in favor of what we first learned was normal.

What we find is that what was supposed to be a sanctuary of safety has somehow become a condition of house arrest, and we find ourselves with an unresolvable internal conflict.  On the one hand, part of our mind wants to escape, yet on the other hand to escape is to step out into a different world, enlarge our borders, and meet new ideas.  

That process, unfortunately, can sometimes be so daunting that we find ourselves trapped inside the walls of the fortress itself, mortared into place with one set of arms and legs sticking out on the inside and the other set sticking out on the outside.

No wonder we get so defensive when someone tries to pull us to the outside, as there is most likely another set of people simultaneously trying to pull us back in.  Our defensive nature is not consistent with defiance, immorality, or rebellion, but a reaction to the pain of trying to be pulled apart entirely.

It is here, perhaps, where our minds arrive at the assumption that "the Devil you know is better than the Devil you don't know," when it may be more accurate to recognize that we typically only resort to being a Devil when we are in pain.  Besides, aggression   and pride are often more accurately described as a defense mechanisms that hide pain and sorrow because we don't believe it is safe to be honest.

So, if this theory is even remotely accurate, it would seem to suggest that the label of "hypocrite" is both inaccurate and less than fully educated in its defined assumptions.  Perhaps it is easier to categorize people than to take the time to care about what is really going on, as that takes energy that we often run low on in our often exhausting journey of life.  But maybe... if we dig just a little deeper, we may find that the Devil may not be entirely guilty of everything he has been charged with.

Trauma begets dysfunction and dysfunction begets unhealthy behavior.  We need to understand the effects of trauma on our society as a whole before we jump to conclusions about its inherent defects.


The Devil's Advocate

Image credit: Pixabay, "coins"