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Friday, October 23, 2015

Rationalizing Those Rational Lies

rationalize: to ascribe (one's acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that seem valid but are actually not the true, possibly unconscious causes.

Ever notice the similarity/connection between the psychological expression rationalize and the two words rational lies? Yeah that's about the story for me when it comes to the amount of time I've spent watching movies in my life. My latest neat rationalization started something like this.

Before going to see Steven Spielberg's latest film - "Bridge of Spies" - I made sure it had its share of bona fides. Based on actual events - cue the "I'm learning history" rationalization - and a Director and star (Tom Hanks) with politics that match mine. Consequently, the story being told would likely lend itself neatly to a tasty dose of confirmation bias. So far, so good. But those things alone would not have been enough if I couldn't also tell myself I'd extracted something of longer lasting value from another two hours spent on my butt. And that's where a rational lie comes in handy.

Throughout the film, the Russian spy Rudolf Abel - a stunning performance by Mark Rylance - when asked if he is worried or nervous about the events unfolding as he is arrested, convicted and sentenced to jail, responds "Would it help if I were?" I've decided that if here on in I use this simple but effective phrase to help me cope better, then my time was well spent. Was your last rationalization as well constructed as that one? I'm available for lessons, if anyone is interested.

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