Aydasara Ortega Torres is a Faculty Member of Psychology and Statistics.
Why do many people justify the unjustifiable? A question of questions. And not a new one at all. As we know, “recognizing the continuity of phenomena does not mean ignoring their originality.”
Actually, this “question of questions” has been inquired by philosophers (moral justification theory), psychologists (cognitive dissonance theory), and economists (rational choice theory). With no agreement on the “definitive” answer.
And with it come many examples, from the (arguably) inconsequential to the (evidently) dramatic:
- an honest person condones the leader of their political party who was caught in corrupt acts, and ends up defending them.
What is even more intriguing, at least to my psychology students and I, is when “reasonable” people justify the unjustifiable. A mechanism relatable to taking “merits” from the situation and reinterpreting it:
- That their leader is corrupt? “What is the problem, if everyone steals.”
- That their leader imprisons and tortures innocents? “They must have done something to deserve this.”
. . .
In those circumstances, rational deliberation becomes impossible . . . implausible . . . improbable. And the way(s) we can find not to justify the unjustifiable is to learn to listen, to see, to think . . . and to question “obvious truths”. Critical and empathetic reason that humanizes others.
“[. . .] ‘actual experience’ the original meaning of every act of knowledge.”
© 2021 Aydasara Ortega Torres