rejecting a fact despite the overwhelming evidence of its truth based on fear of its outcome
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Denial is a psychological defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it. Denial, in ordinary English usage, is asserting that a statement or allegation is not true. It is used as a psychological defense when a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it, instead insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. Denial also could mean denying the happening of an event or the reliability of information, which can lead to a feeling of aloofness and to the ignoring of possibly beneficial information.


  • He does not think there is anything the matter with him because
one of the things that is
the matter with him
is that he does not think that there is anything
the matter with him
we have to help him realize that,
the fact that he does not think there is anything
the matter with him
is one of the things that is
the matter with him.
  • To speak of ideals and their significance as goals to be reached for is to put one's finger on an ever-recurring theme in Chesterton's productive life, the indignant rejection of pessimism in any and all of its forms. This is not to say that he was unaware that there is evil — a great deal of it — in this world. His life was one continuous campaign against the evils he perceived, one of the chief of which was the denial that there is good in the world, the denial that life is basically good.
    • Quentin Lauer, in G. K. Chesterton: Philosopher Without Portfolio (1988), p. 77.
  • Negationism means the denial of historical crimes against humanity. It is not a reinterpretation of known facts, but the denial of known facts. The term negationism has gained currency as the name of a movement to deny a specific crime against humanity, the Nazi genocide on the Jews in 1941–45, also known as the holocaust (Greek: complete burning) or the Shoah (Hebrew: disaster). Negationism is mostly identified with the effort at re-writing history in such a way that the fact of the Holocaust is omitted.
    • Koenraad Elst. Chapter One – Negationism in General], Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam, 1992.
  • Following the physical destruction of a people and their material culture, memory is all that is left and is targeted as the last victim. Complete annihilation of a people requires the banishment of recollection and suffocation of remembrance. Falsification, deception and half-truths reduce what was to what might have been or perhaps what was not at all."
  • Man ... wants to be great, and he sees himself small. He wants to be happy, and he sees himself miserable. He wants to be perfect, and he sees himself full of imperfections. He wants to be the object of love and esteem among men, and he sees that his faults merit only their hatred and contempt. This embarrassment in which he finds himself produces in him the most unrighteous and criminal passion that can be imagined; for he conceives a mortal enmity against that truth which reproves him and which convinces him of his faults. He would annihilate it, but, unable to destroy it in its essence, he destroys it as far as possible in his own knowledge and in that of others; that is to say, he devotes all his attention to hiding his faults both from others and from himself, and he cannot endure either that others should point them out to him, or that they should see them.
    • Blaise Pascal, Pensées, #100, W. F. Trotter, trans. (New York: 1958)
  • The worst of what is called good society is not only that it offers us the companionship of people who are unable to win either our praise or our affection, but that it does not allow us to be that which we naturally are; it compels us, for the sake of harmony, to shrivel up, or even alter our shape altogether. Intellectual conversation, whether grave or humorous, is only fit for intellectual society; it is downright abhorrent to ordinary people, to please whom it is absolutely necessary to be commonplace and dull. This demands an act of severe self-denial; we have to forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to become like other people. No doubt their company may be set down against our loss in this respect; but the more a man is worth, the more he will find that what he gains does not cover what he loses, and that the balance is on the debit side of the account; for the people with whom he deals are generally bankrupt — that is to say, there is nothing to be got from their society which can compensate either for its boredom, annoyance and disagreeableness, or for the self-denial which it renders necessary.
  • If insistence on them tends to unsettle established systems, … self-evident truths are by most people silently passed over; or else there is a tacit refusal to draw from them the most obvious inferences.

See also

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