I don’t know if latent homosexuality in homophobes is the best example, but I’ve definitely seen it in myself. I will sometimes behave in certain ways, for motives I find perfectly virtuous or justified, and it is only by analysing my behaviour post-hoc that I realize it isn’t consistent with the motives I thought I had—but it is consistent with much more selfish motives.
I think the example that most shocked me was back when I played an online RPG, and organised an action in a newly-coded environment. I and others on my team noticed an unexpected consequence of the rules that would make it easy for us to win. Awesome ! We built our strategy around it, proud of our cleverness, and went forward with the action.
And down came the administrators, furious that we had cheated that way.
I was INCENSED at the accusation. How were we supposed to know this was a bug and not a feature ? How dare they presume bad faith on our part ? I loudly and vocally defended our actions.
It’s only later, as I was re-reading our posts on the private forum where we organised the action (posts that I realized as I re-read them the administrators had access to, and had probably read… please kill me now), that I noticed that not only did we discuss said bug, I specifically told everyone not to tell the administrators about it. At the time, my reasoning was that, well, they might decide to tell us not to use it, and we wouldn’t want that, right ?
But if I’d thought there was a chance that the administrators would disapprove of us using the bug, how could I possibly think it wasn’t a bug, and that using it wasn’t cheating ? If I was acting in good faith how could I possibly not want to check with the administrators and make sure ?
Well, I didn’t. I managed to cheat, obviously, blatantly, and have no conscious awareness I was doing so. That’s not even quite true; I bet if I’d thought it through, as I did afterwards, I would have realized it. But my subconscious was damn well not going to let me think it through now was it ?
And why would my subconscious not allow me to understand I was cheating ? Well, the answer is obvious : so that I could be INCENSED and defend myself vocally, passionately and with utter sincerity once I did get accused of cheating. Heck, I probably did get away with it in some people’s eyes. Those that didn’t read the incriminating posts on the private forum at least.
So basically, now I don’t take my motives for granted. I try to consider not only why I think I want to do something, but what motives one could infer from the actual consequences of what I want to do.
It also means I worry much less about other people’s motives. If motives are a perfect guide to people’s actions, then someone who thinks they truly love their partner while their actions result in abuse might just be an unfortunate klutz with anger issues, who should be pitied and given second chances instead of dumped. But if the subconscious can have selfish motives and cloak them in virtue for the benefit of the conscious mind, then that person can have the best intentions and still be an abuser, and one should very much DTMFA.