Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming-trekearth
Wyoming-Apple Images


Philosopher George A. Graham explains cognitive dissonance as the mental discomfort that arises from conflicting beliefs or attitudes held simultaneously, meaning at the very same time. The concept came from a book from Leon Festinger in 1957.  Graham (1996: 127).  Blackburn mentions that Festinger was an American psychologist, the book was 'Theory of Cognitive Dissonance'. Festinger suggested that cognitive dissonance had 'motivational characteristics' meaning that when it occurs the amount of dissonance depends on the relative intensities with the dissonant elements. Graham (1996: 127). It may take place in two major areas, as in self-deception and weakness of the will. Graham (1996: 127). A key point raised by Graham is that one may become weak-willed when dissonance arises from the expected and reasonably understood results and consequences of doing what is right. Graham (1996: 128). Blackburn writes that Festinger's research and concepts led to ideas that a person's known wrong concepts may lead to reformation and strategies of belief that are surprising. Blackburn (1996: 67).

Home caring for my disabled  Mother (among other projects) it serves as a practical extension to my academic life study on the problem of evil and theodicy. I understand that all of us have physical and mental problems as we all have corrupted natures (Romans 3, Romans 6), and only a physical resurrection into perfection and non-decay as described in 1 Corinthians 15 is going to fix these massive problems.

If one is born with a particular physical problem and this is not dealt with at youth, at middle-age, by the time the senior years arrive a person could be faced with severe problems, disability or even premature death before the senior years.

From a mental perspective, mental error at youth, uncorrected, appears to work the same way. Bad thinking habits that begin at youth, or middle-age, whatever middle-age is as that is a debatable concept in itself, can carry on in the senior years. And to make things considerably worse because of the corruption described in Romans not only will a person physically decay and die, because of a physically failing brain due to age in a physical universe where bodies decay and die, but because of bad thinking patterns massive mental failure on certain levels is a real possibility. The Oxford Dictionary of Science in regard to decay and decomposition states that it is (1) the breakdown chemically of organic matter into its constituents by the action of decomposers and also (2) a chemical reaction by which a compound breaks down into simpler compounds and elements (2010: 225).  Cognitive dissonance being a classic and primary example of bad thinking patterns, error that could begin earlier in life because of life pressure in one or more areas of life, 'the amount of dissonance depends on the relative intensities with the dissonant elements'.

Keys appear to be to trust in the Lord for guidance and wisdom. Proverbs 3: 5 being an important verse where it notes to trust in the Lord, not leaning on one's own understanding. Taking this to a New Testament perspective one would need to be guided by the Holy Spirit (John 15 the Helper, Acts 6).

Practically, it seems although perfect or total objectivity is not humanly possible that objectivity would be an enemy of cognitive dissonance. Objectivity would be able to see through the contradiction and eliminate it. Also the truth, as in the truth shall set you free in John 14: 6 would be the enemy of cognitive dissonance.  God is a God of hyper-love, yes, but is also a God of hyper-reason, so within an infinite God and the God-man, also perfectly rational, so there is no cognitive dissonance. It can reasoned his followers should be rational within the truth and not confused.

Therefore cognitive dissonance is a condition to strongly avoid.

BLACKBURN, SIMON (1996) Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

GRAHAM A, GEORGE (1996) ‘Cognitive Dissonance’, in Robert Audi (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Oxford Dictionary of Science, (2010), Sixth Edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

32 comments:

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Dr. Russell Norman Murray said...

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I don't be want like a old girl :( hahaha, I love my hairstyle because I can change it when I want it.
How are you Dr.?
Within a year will go to the university ^^
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Getting way up there...

Of course 30 would be 'old' for a female blogger I guess.;)

I am fine, thank you for the kind words. Have a good weekend, Sarah.

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P.S. May we both get (better) lives in Christ.;)

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