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Denial is Not a River in Egypt

May 24, 2022

For as long as conscious humanity has had a moral culture, acknowledgment of who we are and what we do has been the tradition that validates our worth in the society that we live in. We have trained our children to acknowledge their actions as a manner of imbuing honesty and self-respect. We have trained them to accept the evidence offered by us and the world as proof of what others believe to be true about them. Our expectation is that they will acknowledge factual data that tells of their involvement in the actions that we observe so they may accept accountability and responsibility for themselves in the larger world. But what if they simply denied what they were observed doing? What if they did not acknowledge the actions that they took? Our expectation would be that at some point they would relent and admit that the overwhelming evidence provided by us and others would require them to acknowledge and accept responsibility for their actions. What if they didn’t accept or relent? What alternatives would we have in bringing them back into abeyance with the rules and expectations of our culture? We would be forced into taking action that limits their future participation in any future actions of their choosing. We would discipline or punish them until they relented and then they would be allowed to “rejoin” the family and culture they’re being raised in. Being sent to bed without dinner has often been used as an effective subjugator toward our parental authority. 

Science has progressed based on these same values and expectations. Offer worldly proof that something is true and people will generally align with what is observed and accepted by the larger group as being true. This has become our culture’s measure of reality. But what if science is not acknowledged? What if the people who are offered tangible evidence refuse to acknowledge the truth of their actions? Then our view of reality begins to fall apart. We know that historically most people will fall in line with their culture’s beliefs and requirements but some people don’t and simply believe what they choose to believe regardless of the evidence provided. Then, other than banishment, what alternatives do we have to reinstate those values and beliefs that our culture has attempted to imbue in them in alignment with what the larger group believes to be true? We’re left with force. As such, we have resorted to disciplining and punishing others who do and then deny things they’ve done that have been harmful to society and its safety. Hence, people who commit crimes that harm the society that they live in are banished, fined, incarcerated or even executed.

Denial has long been a tool to either avoid responsibility for actions actually taken or to prevent being punished for actions that weren’t taken that should have been. As a culture and civilization, we have long accepted tangible proof for our accountability in either case. But to deny our actions takes a modicum of will power in sustaining our contention of innocence in the face of a society that only accepts the acknowledgment of proof as a validation of our guilt or inculpability. Answering directly to accusations and the proofs provided by our social group often leads to our inevitably caving into acknowledgment and admitting responsibility for our deeds. When we don’t offer an answer and simply intimate that we have “no recollection of what your speaking of,” others are then left with questioning our memory about the subject. One of the best ploys of a manipulator is to question our participation and motives. When and if we offer our answers, usually in the form of justifications for what we believe to be true, they will then pick apart our logic and responses until our argument no longer has standing and we feel compelled to acquiesce to what the manipulator wants us to admit or agree to. This is the basis of interrogation by the lawmen. Pressure is applied by the interrogator until they acquire evidence and the suspect inevitably admits their deeds and is then prosecuted and punished.

In a society that believes evidence will be the basis for accountability, all works well in the end. But there has now surfaced a prominent ploy for deniability developing throughout our culture and especially in political venues. It eliminates the need for denial. Instead of denying our actions, it has become fashionable and more effective to simply ignore what is accused and not even address the question. Simply changing the subject (deflecting) or answering “I don’t know what you’re talking about” often becomes a patented response to accusations. If someone can’t prove that you know something about an accusation, you usually can assume “plausible deniability.” Let’s take this a step further.

In denying an accusation by virtue of our actively denying it, we unconsciously admit we have some involvement in the issue and passively acknowledge our participation in the accused event. A more effective response would be not to even respond to what is questioned. That is, simply ignore the question and deflect from the subject. We are now seeing this again and again when corrupt politicians are accused of their participation in questionable issues. This enables them to distance themselves further from any admission of culpability. Offering proof then becomes an ineffective means for acquiring someone’s personal accountability. This is the perspective and ploy that is used by our current government administration. They simply don’t acknowledge or address the issues that they should be responsible and accountable for. When was the last time you heard our president even address the fact that we are, literally, being invaded by illegal immigrants? The only alternative left to us, the accusers, is to gain agreement from our cultural group and simply proceed to prosecute the offender and then punish them. However, if the judges involved in summons’ and subpoenas have all been threatened or co-opted, even the prosecuting and punishing avenue can’t be pursued.

Traditionally, when we’ve raised children, we’ve usually had the means and the power to use our evidentiary methods for instilling values and accountability through enforced discipline and obedience. But even there our government has been slowly attempting to usurp our parental authority over the raising of our children. In using denial as a tactic, we and they have also been training our children that it is now an effective method for avoiding responsibility and accountability. Children learn through example. Even beyond what is happening to us and our culture at present, how much more are we, the government and the media teaching our children through example about how to avoid responsibility and accountability?

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