Skip to Navigation

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Abraham Lincoln’s aphorism is also a bit of a conundrum, in that it requires some mental agility to grasp the full meaning.

I don’t suppose there ever really can be a ‘full meaning’ though, in the sense of spotting all the angles, as each of us must read our own truth – or not – into it.

In any event, I’ve often wondered if this was a shortened version. Maybe the note-taker at the time, when Lincoln said it, couldn’t write fast enough, or simply thought that the final phrase wasn’t important.

More sinister though is the theory that Lincoln had hit the nail on the head with such an incisive truth about human nature that it was just too much for the person recording it. He or she immediately went into denial and ‘forgot’ to record the last few words, for they would have been “unless it’s yourself.”

Since pop-psychology made ’Denial’ part of every-day language the concept has been watered-down and lost some of its frightening implications. The popular definition of being ‘in denial’ is “unwillingness to accept something or to accept reality”* A bit light really.

The reality in this case would have been that some people fool themselves all the time, and it’s frightening because it’s true and we generally collude by letting them get away with it.

From politicians and power-mongers, to people who abuse themselves or others on a daily basis. There’s a wide spectrum of those who must fool themselves all the time just to get through life.

We all fool ourselves some of the time, and some of us fool ourselves all of the time.

* Definition: www.yourdictionary.com

 

What do you think? Share your thoughts...

Latest from the blog

The Sow’s Ear Effect

Telling yourself good stuff about yourself seems, intuitively, like a good idea. It is supposed to help you feel good, or better, about yourself, and to gradually build self-esteem.

But this only works if the statements – or ‘affirmations’ – are believable. Far fetched inspirational statements seem like a good idea, but they can actually have the opposite effect.

Continue reading

Hear the Storyteller, Not Just the Story

Stories have the power to persuade and change, they can also condemn and isolate us.

Once we are past childhood we judge a story by the storyteller. We look for interests and motives that could render the story invalid or suspect.

When we listen to the stories we tell ourselves we should be similarly cautious, the narrator is usually hugely biased.

Continue reading
FREE DOWNLOAD - Get it now.

How to be more Resilient

Get my super-helpful guide '9 Steps to Resilience' absolutely FREE, when you subscribe to my newsletter.

Understand the steps to resilience and you can develop the ability to cope with problems and setbacks with less stress and more confidence.
close-link
Take my

Resilience Survey

Help me to help you. Your answers will enable me to design products to help you develop your personal resilience.
Yes please, I'll take the
2-minute survey
close-link
%d bloggers like this: