The Definition of Self-Righteousness

Topic: The Role of Self-righteousness

Jonathan Haidt: Self-righteousness refers to our general tendency to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt, combined with our extraordinary ability as reasoning creatures to employ reason only to reach the conclusions we want to reach. That’s the general rule about reasoning. Thinking is for doing. We employ our reasoning to reach the conclusions we want to reach.

So if we’re mad at someone, we very easily find reasons why they’re wrong and we’re right. So this is just part of the nature of who we are.

I think this helps us to understand a lot about our current political situation, about the nastiness of our political divides, and why it is that it’s just so hard for us to see that there is wisdom on both sides of almost any long standing question.

This is the most important lesson I learned in writing “The Happiness Hypothesis”, is that if you’re a liberal, you’re not going to learn much by reading more liberal writing. Pick up some conservative magazines. Pick up some conservative thinkers. There’s revelation after revelation. There’s a lot of good ideas over there and, of course, vice versa.

But my point is we only seek out conclusion. We only seek out evidence that supports the conclusion we want to reach, and therefore we deprive ourselves of most of the interesting ideas in the world.

 

Recorded on May 9, 2008.

 

 

Because thinking is for doing, we search for evidence that supports our opinions, not the other way around.

Master digital creation with this low-cost, high-value Adobe CC training bundle

Getting started with easy-to-follow instructions and coursework is essential, and that is exactly what you'll find in The Ultimate Adobe CC Training Bundle.

Gear
  • The Ultimate Adobe CC Training Bundle includes courses in using Adobe's most popular apps.
  • Students learn basic to advanced features in Photoshop, Premiere, Illustrator and four other Adobe CC programs.
  • The $1,800 training package is now only $39.
Keep reading

You can now drag and drop whole countries to compare their size

TheTrueSize.com offers hours of fun while you stretch and shrink countries and states all over the globe.

Strange Maps
  • Our world maps lie to us: North America and Europe aren't really that big and Africa really is much bigger.
  • It's all the fault of Mercator: even if the man himself wasn't necessarily Eurocentric, his projection is.
  • This interactive map tool reveals countries' true sizes without having to resort to the Peters projection.
Keep reading

15 inspiring nature words you didn't know you needed

Hundreds more are documented in Robert Macfarlane's Landmarks.

Photo: Ahmed Saeed / Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • In Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane revives hundreds of nearly-forgotten words to remind us of our relationship with nature.
  • New dictionaries are deleting nature words while adding technology terms, which Macfarlane states further separates us from the environment.
  • The words we speak shape the reality we understand, making it essential to aptly describe what is happening on the planet.
Keep reading