When thoughts and feelings attract attention, the ‘I’ merges with the thoughts (read more: The story of a Mind-train). Self-deception may arise if a pattern of thoughts and feelings takes completely power over the ‘I’.
When you are caught by something that you feel is very important, all other thoughts and feelings may completely ‘disappear’. In the same way, when the spotlight focuses on a small area of the stage, everything else ‘disappears’ because it’s out in the dark. This can be a positive or a negative experience.
If you stay in this situation for too long there is a risk that everything you experience is interpreted exclusively from the limited ‘bright spot’ of thoughts you are imprisoned in. There is a risk that you become unable to see other perspectives.
Depression and eating disorders are examples of how a self-image can be completely distorted if you are caught in a fixed pattern of thoughts. Other people’s comments regarding you are incomprehensible; you are caught in your own ‘light’ and other people’s opinions about you are left out in the dark (read more: Fear and shyness, Sadness, Eating disorder).
People who feel that they have in truth ‘seen the light’ unfortunately stay in the dark (religiously, ideologically, politically, cultural or in scientific fundamentalism). It becomes hard for them to experience the world in any other way than the one they have become so strongly fixed upon.
The challenge of self-deception may arise if the alarm centre or the brains ‘reward factory’ has gained to much power (see Thinking brain and the Alarm Brain) and The Big Reward Factory Competition). Fear is a feeling that can grow to be dangerous – for you and for other people as well.
We all take on small innocent self-deceptions in everyday life. A serious self-deception – individually or collectively – can have destructive consequences.