On honesty, integrity and belief systems
Events of recent days have brought out the amateur psychologist in me. I’ve always been intrigued by the way people think and behave. Actually maybe I’m more of a sociologist, because the theory behind human interactions is where my interest lies.
For the past couple of days a good friend has been going through a tough time. There has been bullying, harassment and generally not very nice behaviour involved. And it’s got me thinking.
I really think the people leading this online abuse are working on the assumption of a type of false consensus bias. They truly believe that everyone operates within the same belief system that they themselves come from. They are completely incapable of realising that some (very few) people in this world work from a completely altruistic viewpoint.
These kind and generous souls do things for other people in the complete understanding that they will receive nothing in return. They believe that a healthy community flourishes when everyone helps everybody else. They do not come from “what’s in it for me?” but from “what can I contribute?” Unfortunately due to its rarity, this belief system can lead to problems such as those I’ve been caught up in recent days, where the person being bullied becomes confused. They also believe that people are like them, and can’t see that some people don’t see the good in anyone and basically operate as if everyone is out to get them. This can lead to the frequent breakdown of friendships, relationships and the sense of community, and eventually the person is left with themselves. And often they never particularly liked themselves in the first place, so the outcome isn’t good.
There are counselling and motivational techniques available to help people in these situations, but they will only work once the person themselves realises they need help. Unfortunately the world still contains some sad souls who think and behave in this way and honestly believe they are right. But it would be a boring old world if we were all the same, wouldn’t it?