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Rationalization Definition

Rationalization is one of the defense mechanisms we all use to justify and to cover up our faults, failures and weaknesses. These usual, natural and inherent imperfections we all possess. The Greatest Book of all time has conceded that "Man's heart is beset with evil from his very youth." (Not from birth, mind you! ) And as Americans we have long ago decided that "all men are created equal," and no one is better than the next fellow.

But the Bible and our American Declaration have implied that while man may tend to be bad, he can and must strive to be good. Some people, however, instead of recognizing their mistakes and trying to do better, will parade themselves as more pious and greater patriots than the rest of us, and even put themselves up as guardians (see projection) over their fellow citizens while actually they have themselves been committing infractions of religious and moral laws.

We call such people bluenoses, rednoses and hypocrites. We also call that un American because the average American strives to be fair, honest and decent, and when he happens to wrong somebody he apologizes, and if it is a matter between him and his ethics or his conscience he will be frank and candid about it. That is how a normal person should be.

But when one tries to cover up human weakness by rationalizing, and covers up by finally trying to be a model of exactitude and a perfectionist in other ways, he is only letting himself in for a lot of personal difficulties. Because sooner or later such persons are unable to keep up the false front, or they are found out and disliked, and the result is a breakdown, a psychoneurosis with more difficulties.

The psychoneurotic and hysterical is the one who resorts to the mechanisms of rationalization, projection and regression, devices for covering up faults, failures and weaknesses. We all have these faults and failings, but do our best to adjust ourselves without resorting to subterfuge. This last type of behavior is most rational and best for the mental and moral health of the individual

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