Yes we are all hypocrites here, but at least we make the effort to realize it.
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I could be wrong, but...


There are many forms of hypocrisy and we all know one when we see it. Some of us waste no time pointing it out, others of us just make a silent mental note. There are many different opinions about what constitutes hypocrisy. A quick look at the nearest dictionary reveals a phonetic spelling, a very short history placing the origins of the word in a place called Greece, and a definition saying, “a pretending to be what one is not, or to feel what one does not; esp., a pretense of virtue, piety, etc.”
Hypocrisy is usually criticized and condemned. There is a paradox in this situation, though. Is it not somewhat hypocritical for any of us to consider ourselves pure enough to judge someone else to be a hypocrite? Aren’t we all hypocrites to one degree or another? Many will say, “Speak for yourself Mister World Conscience,” which is hard to argue with, but the question is still there.
Which of us is perfect enough to make any judgment about anyone else, other than in relation to our own situation or beliefs? Can we really, rightfully say anything more than, “My opinion is ...”? Isn’t an accusation of hypocrisy often used as a diversionary tactic to shift attention away from our own shortcomings? There it is again, “Speak for yourself, Mister Honesty Embodied!”
Hypocrisy is a part of being human. It is the result of the conflict between our ideals and our desires, between what is and what we think should be. It is the conflict between what we think we have to do to survive and what we say we think is right.
The people who speak the loudest about the hypocrisy of others are often the illustration of the old saying, “what you hate the most in others is what you fear the most in yourself.” As is often the case with loud complainers, the motivation is often a combination of camouflaging their own shortcomings and reassuring themselves that they are not as bad as they are afraid that they are. The tragedy of concentrating on the transgressions of others is that the time spent on criticism could have been used on self improvement.
Why is it that people choose criticism and condemnation over problem solving and improvement? Some people would say, in the spirit of criticism, that it is easier to spectate and commentate than to take action, which looks true, but is really just another cop out. The real reason is that most people do not have enough faith in themselves to make the effort to try self improvement. Even the people that are shamelessly, intentionally, cynically hypocritical are caught in this perception.
The people that do make an honest effort at self improvement often end up more tolerant and patient with others because self improvement illuminates both possibilities and limitations. The people that keep themselves busy working at getting better witness first hand the conflict between what they are trying to do and whatever limitations they encounter. They get to see the difference between the ideals that they are aiming for and the parts of their theories that their theories ignored. Recognizing these differences and conflicts are steps in turning the ideal into reality.
Dealing with hypocrisy is never ending. As human beings, there will always be a conflict between what actually happens and what we think “should” happen. We humans are always getting what we want to happen confused with what we say should happen. We just have to keep trying, see what happens, decide if it works well or not and either keep doing it or try something else.
Some of us will judge, criticize and comment from our armchairs and computers. Some of us will try to make things better and suffer these unpracticed judgments. Some of us will admit our hypocrisy and some of us will deny it. We are all stuck with our own perceptions of what is and what should be. The only control that we have over the situation, as individuals, is wether we choose to be on the playing field or in the gallery.

By Rocky Thep

Shown with permission of copyright holder