Thursday, February 5, 2009

Food for thought: What is a Hypocrite?

Hypocrisy (or the state of being a hypocrite) is the act of preaching a certain belief, religion or way of life, but not, in fact, holding these same virtues oneself. For example, a smoker would be hypocritical if he or she were to criticize someone else for smoking cigarettes.

In other languages, including French, a hypocrite is one who hides his intentions and true personality. This definition is different from that of the English language.

Psychology of hypocrisy

In psychology, hypocritical behavior is closely related to the fundamental attribution error: individuals are more likely to explain their own actions by their environment, yet they attribute the actions of others to 'innate characteristics', thus leading towards judging others while justifying ones' own actions. 

Also, some people genuinely fail to recognize that they have character faults which they condemn in others. This is called psychological projection. This is self-deception rather than deliberate deception of other people. In other words, "psychological hypocrisy" is usually interpreted by psychological theorists to be an unconscious defense mechanism rather than a conscious act of deception, as in the more classic connotation of hypocrisy. People understand vices which they are struggling to overcome or have overcome in the past. Efforts to get other people to overcome such vices may be sincere. There may be an element of hypocrisy as well if the actors do not readily admit to themselves or to others how far they are or have been subject to these vices.

Now for the important question - how does this apply to your business?

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