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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Under Cover of Light

Exacting the Will of God
Rationalization defined: in psychoanalytic theory, a defense mechanism whereby people attempt to hide their true motivations and emotions by providing reasonable or self-justifying explanations for irrational or unacceptable behavior  (Encarta Dictionary).  Rationalization is an ever-present part of human behavior.  It is so prevalent that there is scarcely an evil, selfish, brutal, or hurtful deed done without it.  Rationalization ironically testifies to the conscience of human beings—the fundamental awareness of good and evil.  The first requirement of acting out evil deeds is to rationalize it.  The recent killings in Norway reveal this necessity.  The killer, who shot down 76 people, claims (according to his lawyer) “he is in a war and he believes that when you are in a war you can do things like that without pleading guilty” (Source).  War has always been a reliable justification for atrocities.  Another all-time favorite rationalization is the concept of self-interest (which stands regally erect as a concept far removed from his hunched-over brother, selfishness).  By far, the most frequent use of rationalization is to radically transform dark deeds to their polar opposite—to deeds of light.  We do not just excuse our wrongdoings; rather we actively affirm their positive goodness.  There is a downright righteousness, a holiness, about our deeds.  The furthest reaches of perversity for the rationalization inclination is saved for declarations of the ultimate cleanser— religion itself.  Apparently, there is no evil so atrocious that it cannot be done in the name of God.  This is a particularly reprehensible rationalization for it illustrates not only the plundering of the holy and the yearning to be forever beyond ordinary accountability, but reveals as well the coincident lust for public acclaim and approval.

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