# Doublethink is a concept of George Orwell's novel 1984.

Oxygenne
Doublethink is a concept of George Orwell's novel 1984.
"The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."
"Americans tend to define politeness in terms of "friendliness": smiling, telling "white lies", pretending to like people even if they don't."

I understand why people during the communist time were afraid to say what they think but I just do not understand why the americans are afraid to say what they really thing ?

what are their constrain here ?

Unknot

More advanced a society is more we hide our true feelings. Probably not a causation, but a correlation.

Oxygenne

but the germans for example, that belong to an advance society, consider that the other person wants an honest answer, not some "white lie", they take you literally at your word
and they really mean what they say.

Unknot

I should change my theory a bit. (actually, tear it apart.) Let's introduce a constant, which I will name h for no reason whatsoever.

h = (level of individualism, politically and culturally)

I think lower h is people doublethink more!

... but wait a minute, that's obvious.

Blenton

Because everyone has people who like them. If you don't like that particular person, the people that like them won't like you and probably so on. So in order to maximise your friendships with those around you (and even those you don't know) is to pretend you like them.

skeptic2

"I understand why people during the communist time were afraid to say what they think but I just do not understand why the americans are afraid to say what they really thing ?

what are their constrain here ?"

Assuming you're working and have a boss, do you tell him what you really think?

"More advanced a society is more we hide our true feelings. Probably not a causation, but a correlation. "

I don't think this is more true for more advanced societies. I think even in tribal societies people tended to tell the chiefs what they wanted to hear.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member

So, Oxygenne, you seem to be saying that Americans don't say what they mean, but Germans do.

What is your proof of this statement?

Andre

another form of doublethink is cognitive dissonance, being able to holding two contradictory ideas at the same time.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member

The problems all began with the old wave-particle duality paradox. After that I got married...

Luckily, I discovered the Many Worlds Theory.

tony134340

It's not so much just Americans. If you think it is, you're ignorant. We all suppress some truths, it's inherent in humanity. If you're German, I'll be the first to tell you that people there are also sensitive to what you say. Germany is known for suppressing truths. Long ago, it was suppressing Jews and pro-Jewish opinions, now it's anti-Jewish views. I don't care where you are, you live a modified version of the truth.

Though I can sympathize with how annoying it is sometimes to not be able to say what's on your mind because it's incompatible with someone else's reality. I also hold a view that it's possible to view two opposites as true and valid, in almost any sense of the statement.

Oxygenne

Orwell's novel describe the society that was without freedom of speech/ opinion.
In the opposite with that society in the american society, that fight with to save and teach other to be free.

Why should they then do not say what they really think even if is their boss?
why should you agree with everything the boss says just because is a boss?

also many time they say to the students "great job" and sometimes they have poor presentations.
I will say in Germany, because someone said in advanced society and I think that is one of them, if the students have a poor presentation they will be advise to improve their presentation, none will tell them they did great unless they really did.

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redargon

Telling someone one thing and thinking another is not doublethinking as you have defined it. It's just lying. If I tell you that your presentation is great, but I actually think that it stinks, it doesn't mean that i believe it is great and that it stinks at the same time. I believe one thing and tell you another.

It's a way to try to be thoughtful of people's feelings. Being honest is always good, in theory, but if I tell my girlfiend (for example) that here butt does really look big in that dress, then I will have accomplished nothing with my honesty except to upset her.

Being honest all the time is not always then, the best solution, but it depends on the situation, naturally. I know quite a few Germans, and yes they tend to be a little more to the point than some of my other friends, but I wouldn't say it was because they were German. I also know quite a few Americans that are very blunt and to the point and even brutally honest. It still has nothing to do with doublethinking, just personalities.

skeptic2

Good redargon, I think we have confused doublethink with lying.

In general I think doublethink is quite common and occurs when people form ideas from different incompatible sources. A poor example (because I can't think of a better one right now) would be someone who accepts what he learns in science classes and in church, not realizing in some cases there are conflicts.

WhoWee

Life in general presents us with the opportunity to imagine how we would like things to be (and of course) the reality of how things really are...I would say it's become normal to consider differing beliefs/strategies if not to keep our options open...to be able to make informed decisions.

LordOfSPAM

It's my guess that what OP is alluding to are cultural differences.

In one culture, fi east-asian culture, one will allways try to save face and be evasive when asked for a potentially embarrassing opinion.

In the US there is a general tendency to accentuate the positive and fair criticism is sometimes ommitted or muted just to be polite and friendly.

Northwestern europe is on other the side of the spectrum. Blunt criticism and opinions are very much appreciated.

Of course this is generally speaking, but anybody who has had any contact with these cultures will have roughly the same experience.

What is better? Depends on your viewpoint, the situation and where you're from I guess ...

Cheers,
LoS

tony134340

But if we lie, how can we truly be students of Science or logic? We have to dedicate ourselves to the truth. Or do we just dedicate ourselves to only the truths which benefit us, then that's no different than religion? If so, how can we say we're on the side of truth or logic, if you will?

Mentor

Redargon is right: the OP's example is not doublethink. Yes, it is technically "lying", but that's too simplistic. It is, in reality, just a different standard of politeness - a different comunications protocol.

And I don't for a second believe that if a German man tells his wife she does look fat in those jeans, she'll appreciate his honesty.

And I don't pretend to like people I don't like unless it is to my personal benefit to do so.

zoobyshoe

another form of doublethink is cognitive dissonance, being able to holding two contradictory ideas at the same time.

Actually, Andre, cognitive dissonance is NOT being able to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time, hence the "dissonance". As the Wiki article states, people go to all kinds of lengths to relieve the dissonance.

tony134340

Redargon is right: the OP's example is not doublethink. Yes, it is technically "lying", but that's too simplistic. It is, in reality, just a different standard of politeness - a different comunications protocol.

And I don't for a second believe that if a German man tells his wife she does look fat in those jeans, she'll appreciate his honesty.

And I don't pretend to like people I don't like unless it is to my personal benefit to do so.

How about "deceiving"? I don't see how you can be a true scientist or a student of it and condone deceiving because it is to your benefit. It's hypocritical and something most religious people do.

Mentor

How about "deceiving"? I don't see how you can be a true scientist or a student of it and condone deceiving because it is to your benefit. It's hypocritical and something most religious people do.
Part of being an adult is learning how to act differently in different situations when called for.

zoobyshoe

Part of being an adult is learning how to act differently in different situations when called for.
A few years back there was a guy who faked up some radiocarbon dates on some skulls. The false dates he gave made his paper much more interesting, and got him a bit of extra fame in his field. I think Tony wants to know if there's a limit to deception for personal gain in your mind.

Mentor

I always try to find something I like about a person, no matter how wrong, immature, nasty, vindictive and incapable of admiting when they did something wrong they are.

Mentor

A few years back there was a guy who faked up some radiocarbon dates on some skulls. The false dates he gave made his paper much more interesting, and got him a bit of extra fame in his field. I think Tony wants to know if there's a limit to deception for personal gain in your mind.
Was that they guy that faked finding that "giant" human?

zoobyshoe

Was that they guy that faked finding that "giant" human?

Don't think so:

http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/2-18-2005-65958.asp [Broken]

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tony134340

Part of being an adult is learning how to act differently in different situations when called for.

Obviously. I'm asking, can we devote ourself to truth if we don't condone or live the truth?

Mentor

Don't think so:

http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/2-18-2005-65958.asp [Broken]

Here is the giant human fraud.

Wb, btw!

The Cardiff Giant, one of the most famous hoaxes in American history

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiff_Giant

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redargon

Obviously. I'm asking, can we devote ourself to truth if we don't condone or live the truth?

the obvious answer is no. But we try our best, just like religious people (going back to your analogy, not mine) that devote themselves to something that they think is perfect even if they know that they cannot ever be perfect.

But how much does truth actually affect science as you think it does? I assume that there are a lot of people that contributed great amounts to science and mathematics that weren't always truthful. Sometimes I tell my boss things with the new product development are going ok, even if they're not exactly going ok. In some cases, this gives me a little more time to get the thing right rather than have the whole thing flushed down the drain, or spending hours trying to explain why it isn't working and trying to convince people that it'll just need more time. Sometimes it doesn't work out and I look like a tit, but that's a risk I'm willing to take for some progress.

Being honest all the time is a great concept (just like communism ), but then life would be very factual and probably pretty boring (just like communism ). Imagine movies, there would be no actors (they're actually lying to you every time they pretend to be someone else on screen the shock, the horror). There would be one type of car, because all the manufacturers wouldn't be able to tell you that there design was better when it wasn't, so everyone would just buy the one car that was the best. Adverts would be like: "buy our beer, it tastes like cat pee and has a 94% higher chance of giving you a headache the next morning than brand B. We select only the cheapest ingredients to give you a beverage that really shouldn't be sold for human consumption"

Did I make my point? I'm not sure, I was having too much fun imaging honest commercials.

Oxygenne

i think it does not matter so much if your friend is asking you if is slim or fat as long as you tell to him/her is good looking as it is.
or if s/he want to change this you can help as friend telling there are mean to become how likes to be.

I do not think you lie when you pretend on the screen you are a different person, there is well known what is a play, an actor and what they do to entertain us.

But if a professor is telling to the student "great" when the answer was for 3x3 was 6 what is the point? instead to telling the true, the student was wrong, that helps more, open the eyes to see there is still much more to learn...
I do not think telling to a student is wrong is something bad.
The goal is to really help the students to learn the things right later on will show a false self confidence just because they want to hear they are doing always "great" based on poor results.

Then what you do in business when you have to run project with another ? do you tell in person to them you will do it and then you will not longer take any call or emails ? or as soon as you get to the computer (you want to be polite and to not hurt their feelings telling straightforward your opinion) you tell to them how nice was meeting them but you do not do the project with them.

Do you think you make a good opinion with this?
just because you did not tell upfront what you think?
In the community people talk each other and you will not make a good opinion, you will not look as a partner to trust if this is the behavior!

just make all the things more difficult.

tony134340

the obvious answer is no. But we try our best, just like religious people (going back to your analogy, not mine) that devote themselves to something that they think is perfect even if they know that they cannot ever be perfect.

But how much does truth actually affect science as you think it does? I assume that there are a lot of people that contributed great amounts to science and mathematics that weren't always truthful. Sometimes I tell my boss things with the new product development are going ok, even if they're not exactly going ok. In some cases, this gives me a little more time to get the thing right rather than have the whole thing flushed down the drain, or spending hours trying to explain why it isn't working and trying to convince people that it'll just need more time. Sometimes it doesn't work out and I look like a tit, but that's a risk I'm willing to take for some progress.

Being honest all the time is a great concept (just like communism ), but then life would be very factual and probably pretty boring (just like communism ). Imagine movies, there would be no actors (they're actually lying to you every time they pretend to be someone else on screen the shock, the horror). There would be one type of car, because all the manufacturers wouldn't be able to tell you that there design was better when it wasn't, so everyone would just buy the one car that was the best. Adverts would be like: "buy our beer, it tastes like cat pee and has a 94% higher chance of giving you a headache the next morning than brand B. We select only the cheapest ingredients to give you a beverage that really shouldn't be sold for human consumption"

Did I make my point? I'm not sure, I was having too much fun imaging honest commercials.

Good answer and the kind of route I was hoping this would bring us to. The truth would be very boring but does that justify us to live or accept falsehoods? As I was saying, I don't believe in an Abrahamic god, but there's people that do. If they live in a false reality in their own minds, does this give us much right to talk bad about the general religious view? I don't say all this to divide, but just as I do with some religious people, to let them see that there's common ground and they're no better than us or vice versa because we all condone false realities. So that brings us to, whose view is right? Can the two, science and religion, not be both right from their own perspectives?

Religion convinced me at first, so I fought on its side. Then atheism convinced me, so I fought on its side. Now I find if you devote yourself fully to either one, you're setting yourself up for failure because both aren't designed for you to devote your whole self to. Religion, for me, because it was so hypocritical. And science, for me, because of the same thing. I see the only way of surviving now is living a mix between truth and falsehoods. I can't see that taking any of these to their fullest extent is beneficial for survival. So am I the only one seeing just as much hypocrisy in science as I do religion?

Mentor

A few years back there was a guy who faked up some radiocarbon dates on some skulls. The false dates he gave made his paper much more interesting, and got him a bit of extra fame in his field. I think Tony wants to know if there's a limit to deception for personal gain in your mind.
Given the example I used and the OP on which it is based, it should be relatively obvious: academic fraud is not "white lie" protecting feelings in an interpersonal relationship.

It looks to me like tony is going in a different direction than the OP. I'm not really interested in following it, though I will say he's looking for a paradox where none exists. Telling your wife she looks good in those jeans and faking cold fusion research are completely unrelated issues.

tony134340

Given the example I used and the OP on which it is based, it should be relatively obvious: academic fraud is not "white lie" protecting feelings in an interpersonal relationship.

It looks to me like tony is going in a different direction than the OP. I'm not really interested in following it, though I will say he's looking for a paradox where none exists. Telling your wife she looks good in those jeans and faking cold fusion research are completely unrelated issues.

There is a paradox. As scientists or students of it, we live our lives trying to uncover truths, not sweep them under the mat. But yet, we realize there must be some amount of deception involved to successfully function. Even you'll notice when you played as kids, or play with kids or pets. You play hide and seek, peek a boo, you play basketball or football and do a fakeout, even simple chess matches we try to deceive the opponent. The mere act of deceiving or hiding certain parts of your thoughts gives us challenge and without that, it would make life dull and you could argue, worth living. To have everything come out of its corner and show its face, it would be all right there and there would be no challenge. It would be game over. There must always be something which hides itself from us or else, if we had it all, there's no use in going on.

Point is, we all deceive. You could argue yours is just playing, but when they lie, they could say the same thing. Same goes with lying to not hurt their feelings. How many of us have been lied to because he/she wanted to protect our feelings? Do we usually like it? That's all subjective. I'm just trying to see how many will admit that not only truth is their master, but deceit is also. That you can hold two opposing sides as valid and essential.

TheStatutoryApe

How about "deceiving"? I don't see how you can be a true scientist or a student of it and condone deceiving because it is to your benefit. It's hypocritical and something most religious people do.
I don't understand how deception or lying is necessarily improper according to scientific method. obviously if you use false data in a report or some such you hinder yourself, and others, in reaching the intended goal. at the same time a deception or falsehood can be utilized, perhaps even in a scientific fashion, to reach a desired goal. do we not use deceptions and falsehoods to test human perception and cognitive function?
in real life a person may find it necessary to use some form of deception to achieve a desired result. science does not dictate morality. there is not solution to the what when and where of the acceptability of deception. one might decide that so long as the goal is productive the ends justify the means. but at what point might we find that the damage caused by deception in the name of a benevolent goal is too great? its hard to specifically deliniate what is acceptable when we are dealing with humans who have such varying sensibilities.

zoobyshoe

It's true that subjects are sometimes mislead in psychological, sociological and pharmocological testing but good cases can be made for those fields not being true sciences and, I think, the following sentence should never have been written:
I don't understand how deception or lying is necessarily improper according to scientific method.

WhoWee

Doublethink is a concept of George Orwell's novel 1984.
"The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."
"Americans tend to define politeness in terms of "friendliness": smiling, telling "white lies", pretending to like people even if they don't."

I understand why people during the communist time were afraid to say what they think but I just do not understand why the americans are afraid to say what they really thing ?

what are their constrain here ?

I think we're seeing more of this with regards to politics. We maintain that we're devout capitalists...but everyone is angry with "Wall St."..even though everyone with a 401K IS vested in Wall St.

The simultaneous discussion is that we are not socialists. At the same time, our government is adopting/expanding socialism-type programs...taking over the banks, universal health care, expanded welfare benefits...bigger and stronger government.

On one hand...everyone is afraid of the thought of a long recession/depression...trying to believe in the new President who ran on a platform of "Hope and Change"/closing Gitmo/ending the war in Iraq/no earmarks and now talks about the "Crisis" daily (lot's of doom and gloom and government is the only answer).

When the reality of the conflict comes into focus...where to put the terrorist suspects, an expanded war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, $787Billion spending Bill ever was passed and nobody had time to read the final bill before the vote was taken, a new$400+Billion Bill was passed with an estimated 9,000 Earmarks (explained as last years business), the Vice President said there's a 30% chance of failure, the Treas Sec (head of IRS) cheated on his taxes, President announced a new spending initiative of $600Billion+ to reform health care, announced future tax increases for families earning over$250k/yr (2% of population will carry the bulk of tax burden), announced stricter controls of Wall St/Banking (even though some of the Congressional oversight of Fannie/Freddie and banks has been blamed for causing a real estate bubble), a mortgage bailout strategy that rewards people in foreclosure but not the 90% of people who pay on time (their reward is propped-up property values), the Census might be controlled by the White House, we're at 1997 stock market values, credit markets are still frozen and the Big 3 need more money...and we're only 40 days into the new era of hope and change.

People are scared and want to believe...but the two ideologies are at odds in their minds.

Everyone knows SOMEONE has to pay for all of this spending and 2% of the population can't be expected to carry all of the weight.

The real problem is that we NEVER follow a clear path...everything is done by accommodation and compromise...translation: everything costs more than it should and ultimately benefits a special interest somewhere in order to gain the support required.

Left Belief < Reality > Right Belief

TheStatutoryApe

It's true that subjects are sometimes mislead in psychological, sociological and pharmocological testing but good cases can be made for those fields not being true sciences and, I think, the following sentence should never have been written:
I apologize if my statement seems improper. my only point really is that science is concerned with results. science is not concerned with whether or not it is right or wrong to lie or deceive and science can very possible put such things to use as tools if they can achieve results. there is certainly such thing as ethics among the scientific community but the ethics is not a science in and of itself.