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Self Defense/How do justifications work?


What's the process that someone goes through when they rationalize or justify a belief or behavior? People do this everyday, and I'm wondering about what happens when you get conflicting information. As an extreme example, lets say you have a guy who breaks into people's houses when they're away to rob them.

So he tells himself lots of things like, the people are rich and won't care, they've got insurance, they'll be able to get back all the stuff he stole, they're idiots for letting their house get broken into so easily and such. Does he have to stack justifications on top of each other as a kind of insulation? What happens when this guy gets conflicting information that renders the justifications invalid or untrue?

Are there specific kinds of categories that these fall into? Someone who wants to quit smoking for example might say that they shouldn't have a cigarette, but their friends are doing it so they light up. Someone on a diet might go out jogging 5 miles, then rationalize that they deserve to eat a piece of cake as a reward. What's the motivation for creating a justification, and how can we stop doing it? It seems these are usually things you want to do, so you attempt to make up a reason that you should do it. Do people make justifications for doing things that they really don't want to do, and use this as a way to force themselves to?

The most effective justification I've seen is "someone else told me to do it" or "I was following orders" because it seems that it lets you rationalize basically anything by giving up responsibility to someone else. If you have no choice in the matter, then it's not really you doing it, so it's okay. By letting someone else think for you, then you can claim credit for anything good that happens and blame them when it goes wrong.

Is that how it works? Thanks for clarifying.

Simple question, not a simple answer.

You might want to start by reading the book "The Art of Thinking clearly" by Rolf Dobelli. It explains (in easy terms and short, bathroom length chapters) many of the flaws, mistakes and screwed up thinking we humans are prone to (hueristics and biases

There's also "Emotional Vampires" by Albert Bernstein. It is a layman's guide to personality disorders. Useful read when it comes dealing with troublesome people, especially the anti-social personality disorder.

Addiction is also big issue. Watch the second video about addiction and the brain

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

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