On States of Denial

– By Mike Sutton –


The British ‘establishments’ of the BBC and Royal Society were in a ‘state of denial’ about the serious serial lying and other delinquent activities of celebrities Sir Jimmy Savile   (OBE), Rolf Harris    (CBE) and Charles Darwin(FRS). But it wasn’t just those august institutions that failed to see the facts. We all failed. Why were we all blindsighted by the facts? The answer is obvious in hindsight, and is explained perfectly by the psychological phenomenon of ‘denial’.

Savile, Harris and Darwin were all wealthy. All were considered to be pillars of society, highly moral and trustworthy ‘national treasures’. These positive attributes blinded society to the obvious and significant disconfirming facts of who they really were and what they actually got up to.

In all such cases where society has been in a ‘state of denial’ (Cohen 2001   ), someone is, eventually, able to break the negative hallucination (not seeing what is obviously and significantly there) to convince the world of the facts that “The king has no clothes!” It takes time to get through the stonewalling of protective ‘establishment’ interests and public adoration – but the facts pound like a battering ram against their denials, canny indifference and blindsight. Eventually, the wall caves-in and facts then rush through. And after the breech is made, the public wants to know why it took so long. Who, they demand, is to blame?

The recently released US film ‘Spotlight’    provides a perfect blow-by-blow account of how the Boston Globe reporters eventually overcame the US ‘state of denial’ over pedophile Catholic priests.

More detail about our ‘state of denial’ regarding Savile, Harris, Darwin, and pedophile Roman Catholic priests here.   

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