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Cognitive Dissonance

Blues Man

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I have to say this topic has always fascinated me.

Over my life I have been as affected by it as anyone else. When I was in my early 30's I met a couple of exceptional people, a Buddhist monk and a man who was a welder but held a PhD in Philosophy. Both these men were such positive influences that to this day I am grateful to both of them for their friendship and wisdom. I don't want to think about where i would be today if I hadn't met them. Both of them have helped to live an examined life. But I digress.


Let's start with a working definition then some examples.

Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive dissonance occurs when a person's beliefs conflicts with other previously held beliefs. It describes the feelings of discomfort resulting from having the two conflicting beliefs. In order to reduce or possibly eliminate the dissonance, something must change because of the discrepancy between the person's beliefs and behaviors.

It's a simple definition for such a prevalent condition.

Examples:

One that is very relevant today is the CD that involves politicians.

People will find a way to excuse the bad deeds the person they support and to magnify the bad deeds of the person they don't support. This also manifests in being unable to credit a politician you do not support for doing something you might actually agree with and ignoring the deeds of the politician you support when they do something you disagree with.

One that I experience a lot these days is People saying they love animals but who eat animals.

Example:

A man is mowing his lawn and purposely runs over a flock of baby ducks and macerates them with the mower blades. A man with his child witness the event and call the cops. The man on the mower gets charged with animal cruelty. The witness then takes his child out to breakfast and orders scrambled eggs for himself and his child. Now the egg industry doesn't want male chicks so right after male chicks are hatched they are fed into a macerating machine where they are ground up alive. But the man calmly eats his eggs without feeling the need to call the police.

and one more

The sour grapes phenomenon. This is actually addressed in one of Aesop's fables about a fox who cannot reach grapes that he wants. He experiences cognitive dissonance and to ease his frustration; he decides the grapes must be sour and therefore undesirable.

I think we all see people do this every day.

Are we as humans cursed to live with these thoughts and behaviors that clash? Does it bother people as much as it should? Do we just accept that humans are duplicitous?

If we don't want to live a life in contradiction to our beliefs what should we do?
 

Toro

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Cognitive dissonance is a powerful human trait.

We all do it.

It's a way to reinforce our belief system when confronted with information that contradicts our worldview.
 
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Blues Man

Blues Man

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Cognitive dissonance is a powerful human trait.

We all do it.

It's a way to reinforce our belief system when confronted with information that contradicts our worldview.

I realize that but why do we not want to live in accordance with our beliefs so we don't subject ourselves to it?
 

TroglocratsRdumb

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Cognitive Dissonance like.....
the Joe and Hunter Biden scandal is fake?
Trump colluded with the Russians?
Trump colluded with the Ukrainians?
late ballots are legitimate?
man made global warming?
 
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Blues Man

Blues Man

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Cognitive Dissonance like.....
the Joe and Hunter Biden scandal is fake?
Trump colluded with the Russians?
Trump colluded with the Ukrainians?
late ballots are legitimate?
man made global warming?

I believe I touched on political examples already.

Do you have anything to add to the conversation or are you just going to make lists?
 

andy753

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A specific example (political) is the Obama birth certificate. Many people didn't believe he would ever produce it, and just said "let's see it" for months on end. When they finally released it the same people said "it's not real". They already have their mind made up, even the facts won't change them.
 
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Blues Man

Blues Man

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A specific example (political) is the Obama birth certificate. Many people didn't believe he would ever produce it, and just said "let's see it" for months on end. When they finally released it the same people said "it's not real". They already have their mind made up, even the facts won't change them.
Good example.

A generalized political example is that it is impossible for many people to admit that the guy they didn't vote for could do anything right and the guy they did vote for can do nothing wrong.

I always find it amusing that republicans think every republican president is the best ever just as democrats think the same of democrat presidents.
 

Gdjjr

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It can be easily spelled- intellectual dishonesty- especially where politics are concerned- it seems Public Education failed to pass on the knowledge of honest vs dishonest in its passing on of information- facts and evidence mean nothing as long as feels is involved- opinion because it is felt rules the day-
 

LA RAM FAN

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A specific example (political) is the Obama birth certificate. Many people didn't believe he would ever produce it, and just said "let's see it" for months on end. When they finally released it the same people said "it's not real". They already have their mind made up, even the facts won't change them.
that is a perfect example,two other prime ones are covid 19 and the election fraud.
 
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Blues Man

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It can be easily spelled- intellectual dishonesty- especially where politics are concerned- it seems Public Education failed to pass on the knowledge of honest vs dishonest in its passing on of information- facts and evidence mean nothing as long as feels is involved- opinion because it is felt rules the day-
The problem is most people are barely aware of it.

It's an aspect of the innate duplicitousness of human beings.
 

Gdjjr

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People aren't any different here than they are anywhere
I don't concern myself with elsewhere- what they do is their business- when one tries to make my business his business then self-awareness is too late and that happens all too often, here- when one, here, refuses to acknowledge the simple premise that all men are created equal and have certain UNalienable rights and believes forcing his will on me is just- he is just about to learn self-awareness is free- I will exercise my right to defend myself-
 
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Blues Man

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People aren't any different here than they are anywhere
I don't concern myself with elsewhere- what they do is their business- when one tries to make my business his business then self-awareness is too late and that happens all too often, here- when one, here, refuses to acknowledge the simple premise that all men are created equal and have certain UNalienable rights and believes forcing his will on me is just- he is just about to learn self-awareness is free- I will exercise my right to defend myself-
It happens everywhere.

people are not different just because they live in a different country.
 

Gdjjr

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people are not different just because they live in a different country.
IDGAF about other places- but, anecdotally, most foreigners I've met are pretty self-aware vs very few here, in fact I can count on 3 fingers the people I know here who are- myself and my 2 sons- one more so than the other-
 

Ringtone

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A specific example (political) is the Obama birth certificate. Many people didn't believe he would ever produce it, and just said "let's see it" for months on end. When they finally released it the same people said "it's not real". They already have their mind made up, even the facts won't change them.

The underlying essence of birtherism is the fallacious belief that one must necessarily be born on U.S. soil in order to be a natural-born citizen. Most birthers were never even aware of the fact that had Obama been born in Kenya just a few months later, he would have been a natural-born citizen. By the way, it was Clinton supporters who started the birther movement.
 

Misaki

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Only replying to the initial post.

Generally, contradictory (or perhaps hypocritical might be a better word) attitudes are undesirable. You might say that the baby birds example does not display contradiction; although the situations are similar, they are not the same. There are things that people are allowed to do privately that they can't do publicly, and things that could be legal or illegal based on intentions. We do not expect people who kill the baby chickens to find sadistic pleasure in what they do; if they did, and openly expressed this pleasure to a wide audience, society might find some excuse to legally punish them (there are lots of unenforced laws).

In the case of the sour grapes, we start from the assumption that one should not think dishonestly; this is, for example, one of the recommendations of Miyamoto Musashi:

If one thinks dishonestly, one is more likely to make mistakes. But avoiding mistakes is not the only goal. Humans also often have the goal of avoiding "cognitive dissonance", not just between different thoughts in their own mind, but also thoughts in their mind and the minds of others. Of particular relevance here is the question, "If someone thinks you are happy, are you?" (Similarly, if someone thinks you are unhappy.)

If we care about someone, we try to be unhappy if they are unhappy. The fox is, obviously, not a human, but as a fellow mammal, we can pretend that the fox has similar thoughts. The fox convinces itself that it is happy, so that others who care about it will also be happy.

There are also signalling considerations; someone who wants an unattainable goal is sometimes seen as less competent. This could be influenced by the first consideration; someone who is unable to understand that their unmet desires and sadness could weigh down on others could be considered less intelligent, and just as we have silly rules like "you must wear formal clothing in this particular situation", which becomes a rule simply because people think it's a rule, the same could be said in this case of signalling one's intelligence by hiding their disappointment.

Anyway, the general solution to situations that seem to describe what I suppose you might say is "a seeming lack of concern for situations that would suggest cognitive dissonance" is to make society more flexible in adopting solutions to problems large and small, including problems based on inaccuracy of signals. In a way, this is the domain of what people think of as art. For specific problems, we might propose solutions (like the concept of media literacy, also known as knowing whether to investigate whether something is "fake news" instead of blindly assuming that a publication is infallible), but art has been used to teach people that all signals are potentially fallible, even if 99.9% of people think a certain signal, like someone holding a particular title or office, is complete assurance about a related property.
 

Prof.Lunaphiles

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Are we as humans cursed to live with these thoughts and behaviors that clash? Does it bother people as much as it should? Do we just accept that humans are duplicitous?

If we don't want to live a life in contradiction to our beliefs what should we do?
I thought something similar twenty years ago, and pledged to find the root of the problem and then deliberate a solution.

The problem is a lack of a reliable knowledge classification system - a hierarchy listing of all that that is known.
 
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Blues Man

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Are we as humans cursed to live with these thoughts and behaviors that clash? Does it bother people as much as it should? Do we just accept that humans are duplicitous?

If we don't want to live a life in contradiction to our beliefs what should we do?
I thought something similar twenty years ago, and pledged to find the root of the problem and then deliberate a solution.

The problem is a lack of a reliable knowledge classification system - a hierarchy listing of all that that is known.
I don't think it's that simple.

Duplicity is such a part of human behavior that I don't think a new classification system will have much of an effect besides how do you get everyone to agree on the order of that list?
 

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