Kanye West is a polarizing figure. Many think he is a genius of both the music world and in the way he markets himself. Others find him arrogant. Tom Hawking writes on Flavorwire.com that Kanye is depicted as “a caricature of the egocentric modern celebrity”.  The President of the United States has called him a “jackass” as a result of his behavior. When Kanye West called himself “the Number 1 rock star”, Sean Daly described the statement as being “in his typically robust braggadocio”.  In a recent incident at The Grammys, Kanye West said the winner of the best album (Beck) should give the award to Beyonce, because her album was superior. Later, he admitted he had been hypocritical, as he had not heard Beck’s album.

You might be feeling insulted, because the title suggests you have more in common with Kanye than you might like to admit (unless you are a musician or entertainer). The first way people are similar, is in the veracity with which they express their opinions, as well as the assumption that others are interested in them. The boom of Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and other social media, results from the benefit and importance we place on our opinions. In today’s society, people often provide their opinion, whether solicited or not.

What’s more, people believe their opinions to be more accurate than others. As Kathyrn Schulz discusses in her TED Talk, “On Being Wrong”, “we just insist that we're right, because it makes us feel smart and responsible and virtuous and safe” (Schulz, 2011). The belief in our correctness leads to believing others who don’t see things the same way are ill-informed, unintelligent, or just plain evil (Schulz, 2011).

Many people despise hypocrites. This culture relishes in finding how someone has behaved hypocritically. Yet, we are all hypocritical. Every human, at some point in their life, behaves in a way that opposes their stated beliefs. Hypocrisy cannot be escaped. In fact, as Psychology Today Blogger Robert Kurzban, Ph.D. puts it, “We're pretty fast to tell other people what not to do, but a little less vigilant about what we ourselves get up to. That is, our minds are designed to identify and even point out other people's moral failings while, at the same time, pursuing our own interests even if doing so means violating the very same rules we want to punish others for violating” (2010). PT Blogger Jeremy Sherman agrees: In his post, “You too: Seven rules for honest hypocrisy management” he lists the first rule as, “Everybody is a hypocrite” (2011).

Hypocrisy and valuing your own opinion highly are not the only ways you might be like Kanye. If you detest his arrogance, it might be that you actually detest your own arrogance. Carl G. Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves”. With the defense mechanism of projection, (which I wrote about in more detail here) we actually project what exists in us onto another. In other words, we see Kanye as arrogant because we are arrogant. In fact, I once heard that to label someone as arrogant is, of itself, quite arrogant.

Perhaps you are not nearly as arrogant as Kanye appears to be (after all, one of his albums is titled, “Yeezus” and has a song called, “I am a God”). It is still worth inspection to determine if there is some part of your perception of him that reflects a part of you. It is at least worth considering the veracity with which you hold your opinions.  Holding strongly to opinions can lead to a great deal of conflict (as I wrote here). Most importantly, it may be important to be less judgmental, less attached to our opinions (and thoughts) that might lead to hypocrisy, and simply be more accepting of others, and oneself.

Copyright William Berry, 2015


Daly, S; 2013; Kanye West: Planet-sized ego with talent to match; retrieved from: http://www.tampabay.com/things-to-do/music/polarizing-kanye-west-not-con...

Hawking, T; 2013; If You’re Laughing at Kanye West, the Joke’s on You; retrieved from: http://flavorwire.com/397479/if-youre-laughing-at-kanye-west-the-jokes-o...

Kurzban, R; 2010; A Mind Designed for Hypocrisy; Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mind-design/201012/mind-designed-hy...

Schulz, K; 2011; On Being Wrong; Retrieved from: http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong/transcript?langua...

Sherman, J; 2011; You too: Seven rules for honest hypocrisy management; Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ambigamy/201101/you-too-seven-rules...

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