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Free beer: the truth about dishonesty

By - Mar 18, 2013 - Category Lectures - Print Print

No one likes to think of themselves as dishonest. In fact, most of us don’t think they are. Yet who can assert that they have been fully righteous and honest in every situation they have encountered over the past month or year? How can this dichotomy be explained? What is it that pushes us to adopt dishonest behaviours and that shuts down our moral conscience when we do so?

In this insightful and thought provoking talk given at the RSA, Dan Ariely, best-selling author and professor of psychology and behavioural economics at Duke University, draws from experiments conducted among various groups of people in different parts of the world, as well as on personal experiences, to shed some light on these questions.

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  1. Haleh Mar 18, 2013 2:02 pm 1

    Please suggest other ways to less rationalize and be more honest.

  2. Holly Mar 19, 2013 12:57 am 2

    Thanks sooooo much for the video clip – it seriously woke me up a lot ! Made me become more aware of some of my actions, thoughts and words.
    It’s so very true – nobody thinks of themselves as dishonest but, we all sadly tend to do a lot of “little” dishonest things in the name of either helping others, or simply because we don’t think hard enough and fast enough about the so called insignificant things!
    If we only think a little harder about other people’s rights – their feelings and reactions – then I am certain we all think twice about turning our face away from dishonesty – whether it is us being dishonest or others.

  3. A. Mar 20, 2013 5:09 am 3

    Talking about being dishonest by listening to the rational arguments of the imperious self (ie rationalize), just this last weekend I lived through an experience which taught me how easy it is to do this. Here is my story. After a week of skiing with my 3 kids and one of their friends, I drove back home this last Sunday. In a normal situation, this would have been a challenging enough 7 hours trip, but that was without discounting intense traffic due to the fact everybody was returning home after mid-term vacations (here in France) and bad weather.

    Since the long trip was difficult to endure for the children, I had made sure to stock up of DVDs and computer batteries. Unfortunately, the -longer than expected trip – resulted in a crisis situation where I ran out of batteries, the children could not watch DVDs any longer and, as expected, started bickering. I was thus forced to do an impromptu stop at a gas station where I tried to recharge 2 computers at the same time, thinking that even if I only gained 45 minutes of battery life per computer, that would have ensured 90 minutes of peace in the car.

    After trying hard to quickly find 2 electricity plugs in the overcrowded gas station, I ended up unplugging a toddlers’ toys vendor machine thinking (rationalizing) that nobody was going to buy those silly toys anyways (despite the fact that my youngest son adores them!) and that I would have deprived the vending machine of electricity for only 20-30 minutes at most, which was not a big deal

    A day after leaving the gas station I realized that, though the gas station manager had not noticed, I had “de facto” stolen electricity and deprived the gas station owners from selling some of their products (toddlers’ toys) during a time where lots of potential customers were present.

  4. A. Mar 21, 2013 9:31 am 4

    @ Haleh
    >Please suggest other ways to less rationalize and be more honest.

    Well certainly thinking that even though the people whose rights you are wronging do not see you, there is an invisible “police” that records every single act you carry out, can be an effective/efficacious strategy. I believe that anyone who has practiced spirituality with a good intention has experienced numerous situations where his/her rights were wronged in a way “extremely similar” (or identical) to the way he/she wronged other people’s rights.

  5. A. Mar 21, 2013 9:33 am 5

    One thing I found very interesting about the conference was how a build-up or a chain of rationalizations (arguments of the imperious self) that justify wrong-doings can lead a person to commit hideous acts that he or she would have never dreamed up of committing, at the beginning of the chain. According to professor Dan Ariely, lots of these “end of the chain” acts are related to the desire of covering up for oneself. Can anyone comment on this ?

  6. kbld Mar 22, 2013 4:33 pm 6

    There are a lot of interesting things in this video. Here are a few.

    When he talks about the fact that when there is no direct contact, we are less aware of the ethical value of our behaviour. It’s true that theft is a perfect example and that new technologies permit these kinds of evil rationalization. There are a lot of examples, for non-ethical topics too.
    Here is an example that also touches upon other topics that were addressed in the video. A lot of people of my generation downloaded films or music illegally. Me, I was always against that because I considered it to be theft and I make sure to pay for everything I see, unless it was intended to be free (for example, a lot of stuff should be bought instead of being watched on Youtube, so I buy them if I have watched them on Youtube). The reasoning that (almost? I don’t even think so) everybody had when I told them my position is that those singers and actors have so much money that it changes nothing for them. Apart from the fact that I told them that those singers touch just a little money on the price of a CD and that there is a lot of people that had worked on that and earn money from that (the same reasoning could be done for those people), I asked them if going into a car shop and taking a Ferrari without paying it is stealing it, reminding them that Ferrari has a lot of money… I don’t remember what they did answer but in fact, nobody changed their mind (at least not in front of me and immediately, I don’t know more) because of the dematerialization of music: we don’t see so clearly what we do.
    There could be a lot of examples like that. Anyway, I think in our world, committing thefts is a big threat due to dematerialization. The example of A. is characteristic.

    Another example is buying things that were made in awful conditions. For example, I forbid myself to buy things that were made in China, unless it’s an absolute necessity (like lots of components of computers). For example, I don’t have any video games. But I’m quite alone on this path, in the midst of my acquaintances. Why? Because it happens far, we can artificially forget about it. Nobody would buy such products if they had these new slaves who manufacture these products in front of their eyes. I told people that there are some documentaries like China Blue (where the factory is at a good level compared to others), but I don’t think many of them watched. All the arguments are bad ones and can be answered but it changes nothing, it is not in front of them and it is not convenient to think like that.

    I thought the confession topic was interesting. I disagreed with it before but these three advantages are real.
    Even the first one, I have personal experience of that (I say everything to my wife, and there have been things that I have not done because I knew that she would be sad when I tell her).
    The second one reminds that “forgetting is the sharpest weapon of the Imperious Self”.
    The third one is so interesting, and optimistic. It’s true that by implementing such a good act (realize something, recognize it to God – here in the catholic way -, feel sorry for that), you enable yourself to break the chain effect, or even the substantive effect (see The Path of Perfection, chapter 19). It reminds me of successive lives, the divine leniency through it: how could we do it if we were to remember all our evil actions from our real long-term life?
    Of course, the advantages can be found in new forms of confession, which we could individually find, according to our own way of doing things…

    His reflection on the financial crisis woke me up. Who never had this kind of thoughts: kicking the bad ones out and putting good ones instead. Me, I think I did, without realizing it. The fact is that there aren’t good people and bad people. All of us are the same and try to act ethically despite such an anti-ethical environment. Rousseau believed that human beings are inherently good, but are corrupted by the evils of society. It’s very true.
    Important is the fact that it’s in small actions that one has to judge oneself. One more time, it is a lot more subtle than good or bad actions or peoples.

    His final point is the most practical one for me. It’s finally about sincerity in our actions. We can’t be 100 % sincere toward God, but we have to do every time the reasoning he makes. Why do I do this? Is it really for the Divine, for the good of my fellow human beings, or is it the Imperious Self that makes me think that it is? It’s a difficult task but a core one.

    There are so many points…
    Thanks to Dan Ariely for this wonderful talk, to the RSA for having permitted it, for this website for having shared it and everybody who have contributed to my possibility to watch this video!

  7. Lily Mar 24, 2013 1:27 am 7

    @Haleh: One thing I find helpful is to remind myself of the burning feeling of shame I’ve felt the few times I was “caught” doing something dishonest. For example, a couple of years ago, I acted in a way that equated to cheating without even realizing it at first and was then asked a simple question by one of the organizers of the event I was attending that made it very clear and obvious that what I had done was dishonest and unfair. It came as a shock – how could I have possibly done this without realizing I was doing something wrong?? what on earth was I thinking!!?? – and with a lot of shame and remorse. Any time I remind myself of this experience, I remember how terrible I felt and I tell myself “never again!”, and it helps me to push myself to be more righteous and honest and to rationalize on a “higher level” to scrutinize my actions, even on very small things that everybody does (not to use office supplies for my personal use for example) and when there isn’t any risk of getting caught.

    This experience, among others, made me notice that this “negative” rationalisation takes place mostly subconsciously, i.e., I usually realize I did something dishonest only after the fact when looking back at my actions and thoughts (like A, in the example of the gas station), or in the most painful cases when confronted by someone else (like in the example above). I think a first step, and an essential one, is to do this post-facto analysis as much as possible. That is, to look at every situation we encounter through the lens of the rights and duties involved and with the principles of ethics we believe to be true in mind. Doing this on a daily basis most definitely makes you more cautious during the day after a while, and thus less likely to subconsciously or semi-subconsciously rationalise dishonest behaviours. It strengthens your moral conscience and prevents it from being stifled. The example given by Dan Ariely of reminding oneself of moral values definitely supports this idea.

  8. k Mar 26, 2013 1:34 am 8

    @kbld: I really liked this video too but it seems for other reasons than you.
    Regarding movies: Maybe 4 years ago I learned to watch movies online, it is not “downloading” but streaming! Anyway it is possible to watch all the movies for FREE :-). The first time I watched a movie online I thought maybe it was “unethical” so I tried to find out if it was wrong or not, but got the feeling that it was not so important. So I legitimatized watching online movies for myself and I have almost seen “all the movies that exist” since 🙂
    It is not a big deal man (if you don’t get in trouble with the law where you live). That’s my opinion.

    And as for “China products” I will not waste my time trying to know where the things I buy come from much less watching these kinds of documentaries (I have to think of a name for these types of documentaries). It is funny how people change their life because of “documentaries”

    And my music collection consist of 15 CDs or so, and if I want to listen to something else I find it on youtube.
    PS Did you remember to buy the “China documentaries” you saw on youtube?

  9. P.T. Mar 31, 2013 8:48 am 9

    @kbld (and, to a certain extent, @Lily): Thank you so much for your comment. Although this video convinced me that I am not an honest person, I never considered myself as being a criminal. But once you mentioned the subject of downloading music illegally, this reminded me that I am not the angel I thought I was: About 10 years ago, when I was a teen-ager, I started downloading songs illegally. I didn’t even think about why I did it (as Lily said, it’s more of a subconscious thing) or about the ‘moral’ argument that the record companies are stealing money from us. I just did it because it was the ‘natural’ thing to do at that time and because my friends (and even some of my relatives) did it. It’s true that from time to time there was a voice in me that told me to stop this, but then my imperious self just ignored it. The ‘little’ criminal act started becoming worse and worse, and at some point, I became addicted to downloading songs. For example, I even downloaded hundreds of song I didn’t even listen to, just for sake of clicking the ‘download’ button.

    But then a couple of years later I got a letter from the RIAA (the record industry agency association) telling me that I was caught, and I had to pay a relatively large fine. At that time I was very shocked and, to be honest, I even felt that this was a bit unfair. I mean, many of my friends downloaded 10 times as many songs, yet they didn’t get caught. However, looking back at it and analyzing this event, I am actually very very glad this happened, because after this event, I came clean and stopped downloading songs illegally. Moreover, it made me realize what a horrible horrible thing I had done. It was without a doubt theft and I was a criminal at that time, even if I didn’t notice it! On a side note, I think this is a very nice illustration of Ostad Elahi’s maxim “The reason for everything that happens to you is within.” So even if an event seems bad for you at the time (like me receiving the letter), its spiritual benefit will eventually reveal itself to you.

    I feel that this event also gave me a little bit of more insight about how criminals feel. First of all, this scenario could really happen to all of us. Most criminals start out like us by doing small dishonest acts like you and me, but at some point the guilt and the imperious self (and perhaps the addiction to criminal acts) overtake them, and eventually they do worse and worse acts, and might even become addicted to doing bad things. Also, I agree with the video that confession in general is a good thing, because it makes the criminal get rid of all the guilt and helps him/her come back to his/her senses and think more rationally.

  10. adissam Mar 31, 2013 2:39 pm 10

    Please suggest other ways to less rationalize

    For years I was pursuing goals with strong rational arguments, one day I received a message and it had the effect of a shock for me with a transforming effect on the way I rationalize (of course my priorities are…)

    However, the most difficult part comes after that with trial and errors, reflection, and again trial and errors,…

    To answer your question based on what I experienced, I’d say:
    1- looking for ethical principles of divine origin as guiding principles (c.f. “the quintessence of religions” or the article below)

    2- trial and errors,…


    Reference: An Interview with Bahram Elahi

  11. kbld Apr 02, 2013 4:54 pm 11


    Thank you for your interesting and rich experience.

    As you have seen, I think that it is because you wanted to work on yourself that God did you the favor to have this fine in this world and to be alerted with it. God helps only those who want to; we have to ask him for with humility, if we reject him, He will reject us, until we change our mind.
    It therefore reminds us that we have to know that everything that happens to us is for our own good and that we have to thank him, even if it seems bad.

    It reminds us also the environment-influence threat. In today’s world, it’s very difficult to resist to this omnipresent evil influence. I think that God is also the only recourse in this context. It is us who have to call him for help, if we do not, it is us who lose, not Him. Positive friends could also help (because God has many tools to communicate with us).

    What’s very true also is that the internet is a great threat. Personally, I think that it is a wonderful tool, but like every big-power tool (see nuclear technology), we can do both great things and very bad ones with it. Internet in itself can be an addiction, so it can easily be a catalyst for other addictions, of all sorts and which we barely could imagine as “addictions”. I experienced that too, and what we can call now the “confession effect” 😉 is indeed a great help, thank God.

    I have another example of God intervention. It was a very expensive software that I needed for my study. I downloaded a trial version of the soft, for 15 days. I intended to use it intensively and do everything I needed, and then not buy it. I had a little guilty conscience, but I didn’t listen to it: it was for my studies, too expensive otherwise and totally legal. I began when there were about 8 days remaining. I worked all the afternoon on it, and a few minutes before having finished the first step and being able to save my work, there was a bug and all my work vanished. It was like I had done nothing! I was very upset all night. But I understood. I hesitated to start again, but the sign was too obvious… Now I thank God for not having permitted me to do an unethical act (I especially needed His help because it wasn’t obvious that it was unethical, it was borderline). In my work, it allowed me to do more important things first. I don’t know how I will do know, but I know that anyway, what counts is the other world, so even if I lose here, I don’t worry because I win there.

    @ A.

    “listening to the rational arguments of the imperious self (ie rationalize)”

    I think you were right to define “rationalization”, it can be confusing. Dan Ariely doesn’t speak here about rationalization in the common meaning but in the psychological meaning, Freud’s definition for example. The Wikipedia page explains it well I think. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationalization_%28making_excuses%29

    It would be an interesting topic to think about in connection with natural spirituality. I still think it has a lot to do with in vitro spirituality…

  12. kbld Apr 03, 2013 11:57 am 12


    I didn’t watch China Blue on Youtube, I bought the DVD and watched it legally and ethically, with someone else, who before wasn’t aware of this topic. But I have more read about it than watched things… And a lot of these things are intended to be free.

  13. k Apr 03, 2013 8:22 pm 13

    Last time I did not really argue for my case so:
    Boycotting the products from China is so obviously wrong, for example because:
    1) It is more a political question. By thinking like this you are drawn into politics, for example, if there was a protest (demonstration) against products from china you would probably think that it is okay to show up and protest.
    2) Are the workers better off if they lose their job?
    3) Who are we to make a qualitative judgment about their well-being.
    Downloading: If the argument was restricted to downloading it would have been more solid and less difficult to argue against. But being “paranoid” of watching or listening to something on youtube and think you have to buy it seems more like an obsession. That watching many things on youtube can be wasting time and bring “addiction” is another discussion. The point is that you think if you watch, say, a documentary on youtube you think you have to buy it afterwards. It is simply like your friend is showing you a documentary but it just happens to be a “cyber friend”. And even downloading something is like a friend who makes a free copy of a CD he has. Or perhaps one has to make a judgment… For example once I asked someone from my class to borrow some lecture notes to me so I could copy them. The next time she brought the copies of the lecture notes, which she had taken at her workplace. I think we agree that copying freely from ones workplace is wrong. But is it right to tell her: I don’t want the copies because it is like stealing what you have done? For me it was a complicated situation then and I actually did not take them at first. But now I would under no circumstance refuse to take the copies (I don’t know what I would do with them afterwards). My point with this story is one can quickly develop obsessions in these areas and ultimately perhaps do more harm than good and just walk around like a fanatic and think everyone is stealing expect me.
    Now it is presumably also unethical to use a free trail of software!

  14. k Apr 03, 2013 10:51 pm 14

    Besides A.’s definition encompasses the psychological definition (of rationalization).

  15. Skeletor Apr 04, 2013 3:48 am 15

    Very interesting comments. I think those who come from a particular religious background try to follow the religious laws with more force relative to societal laws. Part of the reason could be that we were instilled with fear of hell or hope of heaven. Or we actually believe it is more important. However, when it comes to some of the societal laws, I admit I am sometimes very lax. For example, driving the speed limit (55 or 65 miles per hour) is a simple thing I usually do not follow despite being ticketed numerous times. Somehow getting ticketed is not as motivating as spending eternity in hell.
    However, my experience tells me rationalization against the imperious self is a dead end street and the imperious self wins 99% (if not 100%) of the time. When making a choice though, the main reference is “Will God be satisfied with what I am doing” and this is where our other faculties of the soul can help against the imperious self.

  16. kbld Apr 07, 2013 1:04 am 16


    I agree with you: reasoning with the Imperious Self is useless: he wins always in the end. He always manages to get us to view as ethical things that are clearly unethical, if we accept to listen to him.

    There is also in your story the question of the relationship between law and ethics.
    I think that it is clear that something can be unethical even though it is legal. My experience in the end of my comment n°12 is an example. What mattered were the honesty and the intention. Trial software is intended to be tried, with the possibility to buy it if it fits or best fits your purpose. My intention wasn’t at all to try it but rather to use it to complete my project with the absolute certainty that I would not buy it (well, I did think about buying it anyway after, because of my guilty conscience, but it was too expensive).

    The most complicated situation is when there is apparent contradiction: an apparent unethical act is mandatory, an ethical act is forbidden. That’s a big question which cannot be answered in a few lines on the internet. But I think that these kinds of situation are rare. It happens for example in extreme situations (martial laws, etc). Otherwise there are many different situations; it cannot be answered in the abstract. But anyway the final concern must be the other world and the final intention divine satisfaction.

    The most practical question is situations that have nothing to do with ethics. I have concluded the following from my experience. Firstly, I think that when we watch carefully, these kinds of situations are rare. Secondly, when I don’t see any ethical involvement, I decide to apply the law. And there are several reasons for that, all of which are linked to the participation to the establishment of “peace and order” in society. There is a social contract (cf. Rousseau, constitutional law…) between all citizens, and if I want this community between human beings to work, I have to respect its rules myself first. That’s my opinion.
    For example, in France it is common to cross the street when the light is red or outside crosswalks. I decided recently not to do it anymore, out of respect for the law of the entire city (Aristotle meaning). But soon after, I had a few experiences that showed me that this can be an ethical issue: the fact that I waited permitted either not to set a bad example for children or not to make people (often children) ashamed of respecting this parental rule. Now, I tell myself: if you cross now in spite of the red light, that a child watches you through a window, and that he gets into an accident because of not waiting at the red light, you will have also influenced him, so you will have your share of responsibility. This though is quite frightening to me so I respect the law.
    In your example, you could think that driving above the speed limit is endangering others, although if you respect the limit and there is an accident anyway (without other mistake), it’s not your ethical responsibility anymore.
    On the other hand, if for example I am late for an appointment and I know that somebody is waiting me in a cold wetter (a girl), it is be possible that I will go thought a red light. Because the harm to society plus the probability of endangering somebody are less than the harm to the rights of the other person.

    But beware of… rationalization / in vitro spirituality! The imperious self can quickly invent such false balance between different rights. As a general rule, due to the chain effect (and the substantive one), a bad action never leads to a good one. It’s a deceit to think that by eluding material duties, we will be more able to do spiritual ones.

    As a conclusion, the best is to prevent actively these situations (in which we would have to choose).
    For example, in the situation of the girl waiting in the cold, I should not have been late for the appointment! That would be the ethical mistake which, due to the chain effect again, would have put me in a situation where I had to choose between two violations of rights. The work has therefore to be made globally and uphill.

  17. kbld Apr 07, 2013 1:05 am 17


    I don’t think this the place to argue in detail. But I heard all of what you have written a hundred times before, and it has entirely been answered. It’s striking that you refuse to “waste time” to be informed about the topic of unethical products but still argue on the topic, without knowing anything about it, so you’re reasoning on the basis of what’s “obvious” to you… If you already know, I cannot do anything for you (you don’t want to discuss with me but to convince me that I am wrong and that you are right: it would be worthless and endless to reply to you).
    I just write for the others, that “good labor conditions” obviously doesn’t mean our labor conditions but it means respecting the national and the international (International Labor Organization) laws (in spite of the fact that they are fixing low minimums).
    And unethical products aren’t just coming from China-Taiwan; that was an example, but a central example nowadays.

    Thank you for worrying about me, but I don’t think I judge others because of this practice. Moreover, I wasn’t saying that everyone should do like me, I just was sharing my practice.
    I care for myself: I think you should focus on yourself more.

  18. k Apr 07, 2013 11:37 am 18

    “Confession effect”! Never heard about it. The real version and the positive effect comes when one does not LIE. And the video’s “confession effect” is probably due to the other effect “when people get reminded about ethics”. That is there is no such thing as confession effect, but because people get reminded about religion and ethics they attribute an effect to confession. I don’t think Ariely has controlled this and I don’t even think it is possible.

  19. Haleh Apr 12, 2013 11:40 pm 19

    Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions. In fact I found some comments even more interesting than the talk itself. This week I wanted to find three new weak points in me and now I am certain that one of them is dishonesty. I think my dishonesty appears in two ways. Sometimes I am dishonest and I know it. I just cannot overcome my imperious self. This is the time when the suggestions in the comments may help me a lot.
    Yet there are times that I am dishonest without knowing it. I am a teacher. As teachers, we have to have make up sessions for the classes we miss. Last year I missed a class. when I went to the person who was responsible for managing make up sessions, I found out that no class was available. The person told me that there is no need for a make up session, that he could confirm that I had a make up session without really having one. He added that this term every teacher had done this.
    I remember that I was very happy. That particular day I felt very close to God and I even thanked him for the gift he had given me: I did not have to have the make up session! That same afternoon one of my colleagues came to ask for a make up session. The person told her the same things. She did not accept the offer, insisting that since she could not have a class, it is wrong that the make up session be confirmed. The person told her that every teacher had done it, and to my surprise she answered: It is not a good justification, I will not do what is wrong even if everyone else does it.
    I think you may guess how I felt. That was what I was supposed to say as a student who practices human values, yet the correct answer did not even come to my mind. There was nothing to fight with. Imperious self had me totaly under control….

  20. kbld May 19, 2013 12:53 am 20

    “Never heard about it.”
    Thank God, we are here to learn, including about things we have never heard about 😉

    Everything has its effects. I thought before that confession had a bad effect (made the person do even more evil actions because he will be automatically forgiven) but Dan Ariely made me change my mind by explaining very well its three positive effects.
    But, as I wrote, confession can have many forms (like everything), for example the child who “confesses” to his dad a misdeed.

    Moreover, the effect of everything depends on what you do with it. Holy people and holy books have by essence a positive effect, but how many people were killed, tortured etc. in their name? You can pervert the use of everything, but the idea of confessing your faults to someone in whom you see a moral authority is very positive, at least for these three reasons (but it has to be more, i.e. you recognize clearly a thing in you as evil, so you analyse it and are better able to fight this weak point, or get metacausal energy if you are sincere toward God…).

    More generally, nothing is evil by essence; it’s the use of it that is. For example, true blasphemy is a wrong use of language. I could have said that confession is a bad use of a more general thing, but Dan Ariely showed that it isn’t.
    That, ultimately, was my mistake: see something through its wrong application, judge something that I don’t know or that I am prejudiced against. And surely there are a lot of prejudices in me that I haven’t yet discovered… Let the work begin!

  21. kbld Nov 10, 2013 12:33 am 21

    @ A.

    – Comment n°5

    Perhaps the danger that threatens all of us, added to our vulnerability, can make us be more tolerant toward the others…

  22. kbld Jan 14, 2014 12:52 pm 22

    The is a shorter video from the RSA (with pictures) available if some people are interested : http://youtu.be/XBmJay_qdNc
    The end is the same but there are some new things. He speaks a little about illegal downloading / streaming.

  23. philip May 22, 2018 3:00 am 23

    Dan Ariely recently talked about his research on the show Hidden Brain on NRP (see https://www.npr.org/2018/04/09/599930273/everybody-lies-and-thats-not-always-a-bad-thing) In this conversation, he says: “It turns out that the brain also reacts very strongly to a first act of lying. But then, as we keep on lying more and more, the brain kind of stop reacting to it.”

    Note the slippery slope after the first anti-ethical act, which is why we should have both a short-term approach and a long-haul strategy. The short-term approach can be, for example, to forcefully reject any imperious anti-ethical impulse we may have. Whereas the long-term strategy would be to identify and deal with the roots of this anti-ethical behavior. For example, I catch myself lying, I stop myself, I correct my sentence. Then I think about what pushed me to lie. If I realize that it comes from a serious weak point that I have, then I really need to work on it.

    There is a useful method to get started in this article:

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