Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Analysis as Self-Analysis

I'm sure this is a point already made elsewhere by someone much more capable than I, but I've been struck recently, several times, by how the lens through which we analyze a situation says more about ourselves than about the situation. In fact, one could say it says nothing about the situation at all, which is some objective event I an incapable of observing without my observational bias coming into play.

So when I see someone in a leadership position and I think, "That guy is totally going to abuse his power," what I'm really saying is, "If I were in his position, I would abuse my power."

Now that I think about it, I'm not so sure I haven't written about this before. I think that, on that previous occasion, I mentioned how I had a different understanding as a child of the saying, "When you point a finger at someone, you're pointing three fingers at yourself." I used to think it meant, "I accuse the other person of X, but really I am showing that I am judgmental and critical." Now I think it means, "I accuse the other person of X, but really I am showing that I am very likely to engage in X myself, since it came easily to my mind."

Someone could disagree along these lines: "I accuse you of X because I see the signs of X, having once engaged in X myself." I've noticed that lately, too. It's a little disconcerting because it means that, back when I was engaging in X and I thought, "No one knows about my secret struggle with X," actually a lot of people knew. So now that I'm struggling with Y, a lot of people know about that, too. So hypocrisy doesn't pay; you're duplicity isn't fooling anyone.

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