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My father had a saying:
If you fool yourself, you cause more harm to yourself,
Have you ever heard this saying? If yes, do you know who said it?
No, I haven't heard this specific saying, and I couldn't locate it through a Google or Yahoo Search.
If the source of this idea came from a Greek Philosopher, then it would have been worded differently.
Of course Greek Philosophers speak Greek, not English, and when their words are translated, they bear the linguistic style of the era from which they were translated. Old English sounds very different compared to the contemporary English we speak today. Here are some sayings that reflect what your father used to say.
Buddha authored these two sayings:
"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own mind, unguarded."
"No enemy can harm one so much as one's own thoughts of craving,
From "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens:
"That I should innocently take a bad half-crown
In the 17th century, Blaise Pascal wrote:
"It is no doubt an evil to be full of faults, but it is a still greater evil
Another word for "self-delusion" is "denial." Here's what Dr Matt has said about denial:
"The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves.
Something that I detail in my book, Changing Your Stripes, is how to discern those moments when you are self-deceived, and in denial. This is an extremely tough trap from which to escape, for how can you come to know that you have a problem, when you don't "think" you have a problem — yet you do, and you are oblivious and blind to it.
Tolstoi revealed one tell-tale sign of this oblivious condition of self-deception:
"For the justifications of sins, there exist false arguments,
When people concoct "false arguments" (yet they do not realize that this is what they are doing, they are self-deceived), they reveal their own inner turmoil. Truth be told, those who "tell the truth" have no need to contrive a rationalizing "story" in the first place. Because there is no inner conflict to resolve, there is no need for the Freudian defense mechanism of "rationalization."
In my book, I summarize the preceding principle with this pithy phrase:
"If you have to try to convince yourself . . . this means, you are not convinced."
Self-deception is a vitally important occurrence of which to become acutely aware. If you are familiar with what is called "the Secret," this wildly popular movement largely ignores the pervasive problem of "self-deception"—so, those who try to apply "the Secret" will inevitably be deceived because the plethora of ploys proffered by the unseen enemy are NOT actively acknowledged (see Ephesians 6: 12).
I have much more to say on the topic of self-deception. Here's one of over 600 sayings that I cite in my "CYS Manual" that captures a basic characteristic of self-deception, and helps us realize why a major theme in the Old Testament is "turn" and "return."
"Stupidity, outrage, vanity, cruelty, iniquity, bad faith, falsehood
Nice to hear from you, Nick!
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
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