Cognitive dissonance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Let's discuss cognitive dissonance.
It's an idea that crystalized for me over much of the past year, I find it a fascinating topic.
Lots of examples abound. An easy example:In psychology, cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling or stress caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a fundamental cognitive drive to reduce this dissonance by modifying an existing belief, or rejecting one of the contradictory ideas...
A person believes that God will heal a loved one's sickness.
Now hard questions are raised.
Is God loving?
Is God powerful?
Why didn't God do what they thought he would do?
Maybe one's concept of God was wrong.
But it can't be.
If the concept was wrong, then a lot of things would have to be rethought.
Therefore, there is temptation to come up with other reasons to resolve the difficulty so that the person won't have to change their thinking, and the dichotomy over "God wants to heal my friend" vs "God let my friend die" can be resolved with the least amount of stress and ambiguity.
Maybe the friend sinned and thus was being punished.
Maybe people just didn't have enough faith or God would have pulled through.
Maybe God had some special plan that is even better in the long run than the friend's survival.
Lots of "reasons" are generated so that the original premises/opinion of God and what he should do doesn't have to change.
Or maybe someone thinks that gay marriages are bad for kids and "turns kids gay."
Then studies show the opposite. (Not saying they do, just saying, "What if the CW is wrong?")
Does the opinion change?
Or is it easier to generate reasons that can explain away the study without reconsidering the opinion?
(Perhaps the study was fradulent. Or it was run by gay people, so it must be biased. Or the families in question had other factors making them good. Or... whatever?)
So what is it in people (what psychological constructs exist) that drives these resolutions of cognitive dissonace?
What is feared here? What is trying to be avoided by the convolutions of thought?
Why is it hard to allow one's worldview to shift... or to embrace ambiguity?
Who pays the expense of the unwillingness to change?
I don't even have a particular idea in mind in terms of direction of the conversation, I'm just curious to see what others have to say about the topic and how it plays out in daily life and common society.