The End Of Fooling
That must be good news, surely – the end of fooling. However, where fooling ends is not necessarily the end of fooling.
In a 1939 radio address, President Franklin D Roosevelt uttered these words:
Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.
This is undoubtedly true in principle. A fiction does not become a fact simply through the process of being repeated. But the evidence indicates that it is not always true in practice, particularly where an individual and management of their own behaviour is concerned.
Unless we are vigilant, monitoring and managing our behaviour, the ‘lies’ we employ can and do transform into our ‘truths’. Fooling ends because we no longer consider ourselves to be fooling and that is, perhaps, the ultimate foolishness. The Doobie Brothers acknowledged this in their – What A Fool Believes – when they sang that ‘what a fool believes, he see’:
Fooling can end when we ‘see the light’. However, fooling can also end when we hide the light so deeply that we forget that this particular light exists, replacing it with the false illumination produced by our deceptive behaviour.
The approach known as bounded rationality does not mean that our rationality is applied in leaps and bounds; it means that our rationality can be constrained. Our rationality is not bound (in the sense of ‘heading for’) the right reason or understanding. Rather, it is bound (in the sense of ‘tied up’) to just a slice of the situation we find ourselves in. Within this situational slice, it is both easy and tempting to distort things to suit your needs and then consider this distortion as truth. Are lies the new honesty?
What a fool believes, he sees. If you see it often enough, what you see eventually becomes true for you. The end of fooling is determined by what you remember and what you forget. Will you remember to not believe your own lies or will you forget that your own lies are (and will always remain) lies? Do you repeatedly transform your own lies into truths?