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

  1. Feb 22, 2009 #1
    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 ?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2009 #2
    Re: Doublethink

    More advanced a society is more we hide our true feelings. Probably not a causation, but a correlation.
     
  4. Feb 22, 2009 #3
    Re: Doublethink

    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.
     
  5. Feb 22, 2009 #4
    Re: Doublethink

    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.
     
  6. Feb 22, 2009 #5
    Re: Doublethink

    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.
     
  7. Feb 22, 2009 #6
    Re: Doublethink

    "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.
     
  8. Feb 22, 2009 #7

    lisab

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    Re: Doublethink

    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?
     
  9. Feb 23, 2009 #8
    Re: Doublethink

    another form of doublethink is cognitive dissonance, being able to holding two contradictory ideas at the same time.
     
  10. Feb 23, 2009 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Doublethink

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

    Luckily, I discovered the Many Worlds Theory.
     
  11. Feb 23, 2009 #10
    Re: Doublethink

    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.
     
  12. Feb 24, 2009 #11
    Re: Doublethink

    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  13. Feb 24, 2009 #12
    Re: Doublethink

    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.
     
  14. Feb 24, 2009 #13
    Re: Doublethink

    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.
     
  15. Feb 24, 2009 #14
    Re: Doublethink

    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.
     
  16. Feb 24, 2009 #15
    Re: Doublethink

    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
     
  17. Feb 24, 2009 #16
    Re: Doublethink

    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?
     
  18. Feb 24, 2009 #17

    russ_watters

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    Re: Doublethink

    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.
     
  19. Feb 24, 2009 #18
    Re: Doublethink

    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.
     
  20. Feb 24, 2009 #19
    Re: Doublethink

    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.
     
  21. Feb 24, 2009 #20

    russ_watters

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    Re: Doublethink

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