The dictionary (or rather, a dictionary) definition of Hypocrisy is:
the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case: his target was the hypocrisy of suburban life??she was irritated to be accused of hypocrisy??spokesmen unversed in the smoother hypocrisies of diplomacy
Middle English: from Old French ypocrisie, via ecclesiastical Latin, from Greek hupokrisis ‘acting of a theatrical part’, from hupokrinesthai ‘play a part, pretend’, from hupo ‘under’ + krinein ‘decide, judge’
In all honesty, I don’t think that the dictionary definition makes it clear at all. In simple terms I would define hypocrisy as the act of saying one thing and then doing something that is diametrically different. But is it that simple? What about those shades of grey that were mentioned?
As I am not a trained psychiatrist (although I’m not too sure the one I see on a regular basis is, either!) this little article cannot be assessed as an accurate statement insofar as my opinion is about as substantive as Wikipedia. It is an opinion and seeing as this is my website, my opinion can be what I want it to be!
Back to the subject in hand. We all know someone or some organisations that are hypocrites or hypocritical. Politicians for one. Some will say anything to get elected and if it what you want to hear, all the better. A lot of major organisations, industries and even governments can be hypocrites although in their parlance it would be called something else, just to confuse us further. In these instances I believe that hypocrisy is black or white; they either are or are not hypocrites. It’s when we get down to the individual level that the grey starts to appear.
What if the individual fully believes that what they are doing is in no way hypocritical? There are those that imprint their mind’s with what they completely believe is the truth and no matter what you say or prove, they will remain steadfast in their convictions. Although they may technically be hypocrites they will not recognise the fact. This is hard to explain and even I find it hard to understand based upon what I have just written! Maybe an example?
Person A states that they have a problem with Person B. They say a bunch of nasty things and declare that they don’t want anything to do with them. Before you know it, Person A is with Person B as if they were the best friends in the world.
Now, either Person A is a complete hypocrite or something has happened within the space of time of the statements and the surprise interaction of Person A with Person B. If there has been no change of circumstances, is Person A being hypocritical? Other things to consider are a reconciliation, a change of perspective and, naturally, family.
“You can choose your friends but not your family”
is an expression known by all of us. Our families are what they are. Sometimes they are harmonious and sometimes, unfortunately, not. However, for a family to be close it either takes a lot of work and forgiveness between the family members or someone who holds the family together. Trying to understand relationships within families has kept crank psychotherapists and psychologists in business for years. So, the interaction between family members is something that cannot be predicted or factored into any assessment.
The question still remains though. Is hypocrisy simple to assert or are there grey areas in which unknown factors may affect your judgement. It’s not as simple as you may initially assume, is it?
As for me, I’ll call a spade a spade and no matter the circumstances, if I believe someone to be a hypocrite then that’s what I will call them until proven otherwise. Remember, I asked YOU if it was as easy as black and white, not me. I may be a bigot but I’m not going to worry about if I’m right or wrong when there are more important things to think about, like why on earth I am whittering on about hypocrisy!!
Life is never simple if you stop and analyse everything!