One cannot claim to be a Sigma Nu and simultaneously participate in or allow the mistreatment of another person who happens to be new to the group. Period. Hazers are often confronted with this reality that their actions are misaligned with their words.
Psychologists have a term to describe people who lack integrity: cognitive dissonance (George Orwell called it doublespeak). Boiled down, cognitive dissonance (or doublespeak) occurs when a person holds two contradictory views simultaneously (the precise definitions are well worth studying). For instance:
A person who believes in Sigma Nu’s history and the founding principles of Love, Honor and Truth and preaches a firm opposition to hazing.
And also believes…
…that hazing is a harmless, honorable and legitimate way to test new members for initiation and teach respect and discipline.
So what can you do when your actions don’t match your words? There are two options: change your words or change your behavior until the two are aligned.
The former is far easier; the latter is far nobler.
For the hazer the solution is simple: just change your words to match your behavior. In other words, just convince yourself and everyone around you that it isn’t hazing and…*bingo*…problem solved!
The honorable man, however, will do the right thing and change his behavior to match his words.
Which will you choose?
This post is part of a series dedicated to providing answers to common excuses for hazing. The #40Answers in 40 Days campaign aims to promote National Hazing Prevention Week (September 20 – 25, 2010) and to ultimately create the definitive collection of crowdsourced knowledge to eliminate hazing.