We like to fool ourselves


Good morning, dear reader.

“The world is ruled by appearances” Old Goethe already knew this, he knew people well. We strive for the truth, but usually stop halfway and settle for half-truths, which on closer examination are often a quarter of the truth. We are very quick to believe what we see and only see what we want to believe. So it happens that many people have more answers than questions, they always believe that they are right and perceive every point of view that does not fit their worldview as a personal attack.


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This is not new, but it becomes a problem in times of crisis: Anyone under stress tends to generalize or even take sides more quickly, looking for simple solutions, even with a crowbar. There are plenty of examples, including among our readers: there are those who accuse us of being deceived because, for example, we don’t blame the outdoor swimming pool riots exclusively on immigrants — and others who accuse us of racism because we The old values ​​of Arab immigrants are a problem.

It’s the same when it comes to climate protection: There are those who blather about the federal government slowing down, but are happy to get on a long-haul plane. Who complain about ocean pollution, but in supermarkets Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé products are piled high in their supermarket shopping carts. Of course, there are those who see a legitimate expression of their anger at the government in the vote of far-right Alternative Party politicians such as Bjorn Hook. Finally, let us not forget those who groan incessantly about their daily demands while bombs fall on civilians just 1,500km to the east and people drown in the Mediterranean 1,500km to the south. The cloudy eye became the dominant perspective. I am not excluding myself from that. The steak on the plate is often closer to me than the idea of ​​methane in the atmosphere.

Our view of the world is self-centered, and our daily self-deception knows no bounds. Oddly enough, this weakness is seldom less prevalent in the enlightened societies of Western democracies than in dictatorships where the state has lied to the people. In this country we place great importance on not being deceived by above – instead we prefer to deceive ourselves in many things. We pretend to be convenient solutions where there are no simple solutions – and when I write “we”, of course, every person is not meant as an accusation.

But the shadow of self-deception falls on most of them. Living in a country like Germany – the world’s fourth largest economic powerhouse, prosperous, safe and free – is like winning the lottery of the world’s population: it is a reason for everyday joy, but it also carries a special responsibility to our fellow human beings and to nature, which we all need to survive. If you take a few minutes to think about this of course, you can’t help but show solidarity and be considerate.

If you think so. Unfortunately, it seems that we enlightened citizens of Earth only see what we want to see. Just like millions of people 47 years ago: am July 25, 1976 Send a space probe “Viking 1” pictures of Mars On the ground – there was a three-kilometer boulder with the image of A.A human face. This startling discovery was immediately circulated as evidence of extraterrestrial life: three million years ago, aliens settled on the Red Planet and left a mark of their presence there. They even look like us! Not only apocalypse supporters and Däniken fans were over the moon at the time, many real-life characters believed their eyes as well. Since then, images have haunted the collective human memory.

It took another full 25 years for another Mars probe to snap new pictures of the rock — and reveal the ugly truth: The supposed face was weathered rock. It turns out that “eyes”, “nose” and “mouth” shadows during previous recordings. She was just one Mirage. But because we humans like to see what we want to see, half the world recognizes a face in it.

We like to fool ourselves, and when technology helps us, we like it even more. Mars photo anniversaries should be a welcome occasion to reflect on our daily perceptions, worldview, and self-image. If advertising tricks us into thinking that a vacation on the other side of the world is desirable or that a drink in a disposable plastic bottle is more appealing than one in a glass carafe, our brains must be big enough to expose the promise as a deception. And when people think that the complex problems of the modern world can be solved with simple slogans, perhaps this is also nothing more than self-deception. “The less we like illusions, the more we can grasp the truth.” Erasmus of Rotterdam Written 500 years ago. Remarkably, nothing has changed since then.

Mears meander





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