The expression “self-deception” is not to be taken literally; what happens is that I try not to think about certain things, and I try not to think about the fact that I am trying not to think about them.
But if they are the sort of thing one tends to think of, then trying not to think about them takes effort. How much effort? It depends. Some things are known in themselves; some are known with just a little reflection; and some things are known only after much reflection.
To deny things in the third class is easy.
To deny things in the second class -- the existence of God, for example -- is possible, but difficult, because in order to deny one of them, one must develop the habit of not thinking about all the things that point to its truth.
To deny things in the first class – say, the basics of right and wrong – is harder still. Somehow we manage.
Honesty is hard too, because our hearts are divided -- hard in a different way. In the other cases, the difficulty is finding a way to hide from the inbuilt desire to dwell in truth. But in order to dwell in it, we must overcome the terror of admitting that so far we haven’t been doing so.
Tomorrow: Why Must You Bring Up That Subject