Cognitive

My big word of the day, Cognitive Dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is basically when a person(s) hold simultaneous beliefs or ideas that conflict thereby creating dissonance. Our id will not tolerate too much of said dissonance and often times something has to give to resolve the conflict. A good example is the whole fight over nudity here in SF.1  The issue has really been good blog fodder. Not only the issue itself but also some of the observations surrounding it.

It is my opinion that many involved could not resolve the idea that someone could be both against public nudity and be progressive or liberal. Others couldn’t resolve the idea that gay men who love Folsom, Dore, and all that comes with that could also support the ban. I would call that a pretty clear case of CD. Being unable to resolve the conflict resulted in lots of name-calling, outlandish statements, and overall disgust at how SF has become fascist, Republican, and/or conservative. This created an enemy that didn’t cause conflict, could be blamed, and thereby restoring balance in the id. Oh, and any gays who were vocal about supporting the ban were also labeled as uppity, prudes, outsiders, greedy, and/or selfish. Same result different variant.2  The very idea that you could be both gay and for the nudity ban was simply inconceivable to many. Some expressed their outrage just over that very fact.

There were many other issues at play here but this was something that struck me in a profound way. It was also very divisive. I had friends on both sides that were very passionate over it. Once I realized what I was seeing, I actually pulled back a bit to watch things unfold. It was like a weird science project. I swear I should have been a psychologist because I totally dig it. Lol Then you have the problem of filtering out the conspiracy nuts, the ignorant, and all of the personal bias. The latter being a mountain unto itself. So many were just randomly spewing nonsense. The mob mentality online is bound to be a thesis for someone somewhere.

Back on point, I don’t have a clue how we can work to better this. Belief is a powerful thing, as evidenced by the grip that organized religion has had over society for centuries. The problem I see these days is that belief seems to no longer be reliant on facts. For myself, without knowing the facts or details, I try not to go all holier-than-thou. That in itself would solve a lot of problems. I also try to be honest with myself if I have a personal bias over an issue. For example, on the nudity thing, some people that know me were very surprised at my reaction. They assumed I’d be all up in arms over it. And I’ll admit it did give me pause. I see no harm in nudity, or sex for that matter. I think our puritanical culture here in the US is extremely biased against sex in general. But as mentioned, it was more about a lack of respect IMO than the actual nudity. I also recognize a need for boundaries and respect for others.

The idea that a father of a slain child could be heckled by gun fanatic is another very striking and shameful version of cognitive dissonance. It was also a lot of other very shameful things but I was very sad to have read it. Anyway, the point of my little ramble today is it helps if we try to look outside the box from time to time. Instead of ignoring facts, we should embrace them. We should also realize that labels do not define us as individuals.




  1. The gun issue going on right now is another glaring example []
  2. And I am not saying there weren’t some valid arguments. There were. The problem is said arguments were never going to be strong enough to gain public support. []