The risk of self-deception: running away from reality

His biographers tell that, until his suicide under the chancellery of Berlin on April 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler was undergoing a gradual process of flight from reality, a constant need to self-deceive and receive favorable news. Especially after the entry of the United States into the war, Hitler was entering more and more into a world of fiction created by himself.

Undoubtedly he had a portentous intelligence, but he preferred to deceive himself, and his deceit led him to escape reality in a surprising way. In fact, in the middle of that month of April 1945, when Soviet Marshal Zhukov's tanks were already a few kilometers from the Brandenburg Gate, Hitler was shouting at his General Staff, inside their underground shelter, that the Russians would suffer a bloody defeat before the gates of Berlin.

Historians such as Hugh Trevor-Roper and Ian Kershaw analyze in detail the process by which Hitler, poisoned by his triumphs, ended up giving up all signs of diplomacy and intelligence. It does not seem possible that the work of the Nazi propaganda would modify in such a way the data of Hitler himself to the point of making him believe that his defeats were victories. But the incontrovertible fact is that, five days before his death, surrounded by increasingly unrealistic operational maps, he listed with great certainty his generals the unlikely tricks that made him hope for a final victory.

The reading of these historical testimonies - more than fifty years have passed and there are enough well-contrasted documents that have made it possible to know minute by minute what happened - gives us an amazing and extreme example of how a man can get to shut himself up in a world of your own, until you move completely to the realm of the imaginary. That sad and tragic episode in the history of the twentieth century was marked by the self-deception of denying the existence of superior moral principles that limit power and the pursuit of their immoral objectives, and may serve to stop us for a moment and talk about that great danger of self-deception, which, in varying degrees, haunts us all in small things of the ordinary events of each day.

Man, being beaten by adversity, he is often tempted to flee. However, any life is hardly governable if there is no constant effort to be connected to reality, if or stay on guard against lying, or face the seduction of fantasy when presented as a narcotic to evade the reality that It's hard for us to accept.

The temptation of the unreal is constant, and constant must be the struggle against it. Otherwise, when deciding what to do, we will not bravely face the reality of things to gauge their true convenience, but we will fall into some kind of escapism, escape from reality or from ourselves. The escapist seeks ways to escape from the problems. It does not solve them, it evades. Deep down, he fears reality. And if the problem does not disappear, it will be he who disappears.

The self-deception It can occur in very varied forms. There are people, for example, who fall into it because they need continuous demonstrations of praise and approval. His sensitivity to flattery, to the continuum "you are right" without having it, makes deploy around him servilismos able to idiotize anyone. They are difficult people to undeceive, because they demand that they be followed, that they lie with them, and end up entangling others in their own lies. They are easy prey for flatterers, who handle them at will, and although they sometimes notice that it is a farce, it is not usually enough to get out of it.

The truth, and especially the moral truth, should not be accepted as an arbitrary limitation to act free of people, but, on the contrary, as a liberating light that allows a good orientation to the own decisions. Accepting the truth leads man to his fullest development.

Instead, avoid the truth or refuse to accept it, causes one to inflict harm on oneself, and almost always on others. The truth is our best and wisest friend, always willing and eager to come to our aid. It is true that sometimes the truth does not manifest itself clearly, but we must make an effort so that it does not turn out that this lack of clarity only occurs in our thinking, to which we have not yet pushed the necessary in search of the truth.

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