// Patrick Louis

Justification After Actions


Hello fellow readers,
In this post I’ll discuss a subject that has been nagging me.

Justification After Actions

I usually write to clear my mind about a topic. These days I can’t really keep up with all the things that bug me. This subject is a preparation to a broader subject that I’m preparing to write about.

If you’ve been following this blog, or know me personally, you would have noticed that I like analyzing human behavior and psychology, especially in groups. I love to read about it, write about it, do simulations of it, I’m inspired by it. In this end it all comes down to digging information from evolution.

It’s the secret of life. Don’t we say that knowing oneself is the only true way to happiness.

But can we really control our deepest instincts, what we’ve been programmed to reply to? Simply being told the hard truth about our fundamentals helps.

This post will deal with something that can, to an extent, be controlled if we take the time to reflect about it.

You have certainly experienced a situation where a person took a decision and then tries to explain the reasons why they took it. However, your guts tell you that there’s something more, it wasn’t just logic.

That person is ever yone of us.

A simplistic scenario would unroll this way:

  • Face a problem or decision-making
  • Analyze possible outcomes objectively
  • Choose what to do accordingly
  • Justify actions based on the previous analyze

We don’t live in a perfect world, human beings are way more complicated that than this oversimplified routine. Our brains are complex networks and the hidden layers of thoughts have an astonishing depth.

It’s what we refer to as subconscious.

Let’s sum up the ways in which one can handle decision-making. We’ll then develop each one separately and explain how the justification comes into play.

  • Instinct
  • Objective Thoughts
  • Social Pressure & Group Behavior
  • Recurrent Hidden Thinking Aka Effect Of Child Abuse


We are animals and have basic needs.
Even though we have reached a state where we’re practically master of our instincts they are still what drives us every day. All the other ways of thinking are just extensions of the instinct, a fancier way of keeping our specie alive.

What’s rather strange is that the more we evolved the less we embraced our simplest needs. If we had to justify that action we’ll certainly give it a higher importance than what it was. It happens all the time.

The corporations abuse it and make businesses out of it.

In the worse scenarios we even blame our rightful basic natural instincts. It goes without saying that we are a social specie and some order is needed but it doesn’t mean that we should ignore and hide the fact that most of what we do is to fulfill those basic needs.

We probably reached a point where we are blind to our own selves.

For example, We ask a person to choose between two different meals.

He chooses the one that smelled better, the one that has the best color, the best texture. Those are attributes we’ve learned through thousands of years of evolution that helped us differentiate edible and energetic food.

It is laughable that those attributes can be engineered and faked. A lot of what we see today is faked and plays with our instincts, and I’m not only talking about food.

Objective Thoughts

The “objective thoughts” is what we see in books.
I personally don’t believe it’s used enough apart from when studying, discovering, and analyzing.

It’s a game of weighting the points that would make you do one thing instead of another. Weighting the personal benefits, the group benefits, the short term benefits, the long term benefits, etc..

Listing all the attributes and quality of the actions and knowing how it will unfold.

Then the justification is just about summarizing the analyzation.

For example, We ask a person to choose between two different meals.

After analyzing the components of each meal, the candidate chooses meal # 1.

…This doesn’t sound like a real scenario, doesn’t it?

Social Pressure & Group Behavior

Group behavior is higher than personal behavior.

When in a group multiple different kinds of interactions happen. From propaganda to groupthink, to group cohesiveness, to the black sheep effect, to intergroup dynamics, etc..

One tries to be special in a group while still adhering to it. One can lose his mind and do things he wouldn’t do alone.

In this case, justification is just blaming it on the group. When you are part of a group, you feel more powerful and loose yourself. Your single actions is insignificant.

For example, We ask a person to choose between two different meals.

Adding to that that ten of his friends already took meal # 2 and liked it. The person is more inclined to choose it.

Recurrent Hidden Thinking Aka Effect Of Child Abuse

You are your ideologies.

Where do our ideologies come from, how are our personalities and ideas built. Personality is made from experiences, the stronger and sooner the experience the more likely it is that it will morph your way of thinking and your mentality.

Child trauma marks an individual, it writes data directly into the brain. It has been proven to be the prime determinant of adult mental health.

Close-minded people are fearful people. Experiences truly impacts how individuals react in situations. If they reach that fear state they’ll skip all the other ways and go back to their safe haven where they feel secure. It’s more powerful than anything.

Justification, in this case, is pure non-sense, it’s biased and subjective. It’s just a way of finding reasons where there are none. It’s just random words to explain to others what you did and a fancy way to make yourself feel safer about your decision.

From an evolutionary standpoint, experiences are extremely valuable. It’s what helped us adapt through all the different environmental factors. But, we reached a point where everything changes so fast that those experiences might not have the same importance as before. Especially the ones we had as kids and that got anchored in the brain.

We evolved in such that the childhood experiences are 10x more important than any experiences that you might live in the rest of your life.

That’s why good parenting is the rock of society, that’s why a good and healthy environment for our child is important.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. You can watch the video I linked for deeper understanding.

For example, We ask a person to choose between two different meals.

The person instantly chooses meal # 1.

He then explains that he really likes the restaurant that prepared it, that it tastes so great.

He never tasted meal # 2 before but was drawn towards meal # 1 because of insecurity,

When faced with a situation you’ll dig through the 4 pools. You might drown in one, or swim from one to another.

You will not even notice it.

Your brain is a network that is fed with hundreds of thousands of inputs, the conciousness only sees 15 at a time and the rest is passed through the network for processing.

Then why not start embracing the “Instant Choice” mentality. For some, the more they think about a problem the deeper they get lost into one or two of the pools, most probably making sense between the objective thoughts and the subjective ones.

Remember the next time you have to make a decision that the human mind is a fabulous construction!


  • National Gallery of Art / CC0

If you want to have a more in depth discussion I'm always available by email or irc. We can discuss and argue about what you like and dislike, about new ideas to consider, opinions, etc..
If you don't feel like "having a discussion" or are intimidated by emails then you can simply say something small in the comment sections below and/or share it with your friends.