Assessing Blame and the Victim Mentality

By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

Have you ever experienced a situation while driving where, suddenly, you find yourself in unfamiliar territory and you’re not exactly sure where you are……even though you know you’re close to home or another well-known-to-you area? Maybe you were distracted, daydreaming or preoccupied by thoughts of work or personal issues. It has happened to all of us, that momentary confusion because the surroundings look unfamiliar.

Once we have traveled a path enough times, we remember the sequence of turns and specific landmarks more than the individual trees, houses or businesses on our route. As we travel down a familiar road, on a barely conscious level we tick off the various items that mark our progression towards our destination.

This cognitive shortcut allows us to devote brainpower to other pursuits while placing the driving/navigating on autopilot. This is precisely why the majority of accidents occur within thirty miles of home. Our attention level is greatly reduced while the normal hazards of driving are not.

Something remarkably similar is happening with regard to America in particular and the western world in general. From birth we are trained and conditioned to believe certain ‘facts’ and myths about our world as well as the processes we are to follow in order to navigate its various hazards, hurtles and pathways. At various stages we relegate select routes and practices to autopilot, thinking ‘OK, I’ve got that covered”.

In short, much of ‘life’ soon becomes routine and comfortably familiar (not threatening is a more accurate classification) and is quickly pushed to the cognitive background bearing the label ‘non essential’ and ‘already known’. The quickest and most effective cognitive method used to do so is to ‘label’ something, thereby associating it with preconceived and categorized known knowns’.

Labels such as Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Muslim, Christian, Jew, gay, lesbian, straight, white collar, blue collar, college graduate, high school dropout, free loader, politician, CEO, corporation, penthouse, corner office, cubicle dweller, factory worker, Wall Street, Main Street, government worker, corporate drone, welfare queen, disadvantaged, silver spoon, smart, dumb, average, free shit army, EBT, perks, benefits, black, white, brown, yellow, poor, middle class, rich, elite, hippie, nerd, gamer, slacker, druggie, tree-hugger, environmentalist, polluter, capitalist, communist, socialist, indigenous, native, migrant, wet back, immigrant, squatter………the list of labels is never ending, constantly modified and the definition always morphing.

And best of all, the actual definition used is entirely up to the user, making it infinitely variable and endlessly applicable.

In reality, many of the above ‘labels’ are actually memes, dominate social themes carefully promoted and controlled by mainstream media for the benefit of the plantation owners. So while we might believe we are the master of our domain, in fact much of what we think, believe and say is propagandized and promoted by the controllers of the mainstream media.

While it is relatively easy to understand how the ‘news’ can be manipulated and slanted, the deepest propaganda and programming is accomplished through meme generating ‘shows’ which establish and confirm socially accepted beliefs regarding country, money, politics, acceptable thought and beliefs, personal happiness, consumerism, religion, work and careers, entertainment and so on.

 

Your Country Needs You - Final

It's pretty obvious this is propaganda.But what about that TV program or movie showing heroic Marines saving innocent women and children from the bad guys?

If you actually took the time to read through the list of ‘labels’ above, each one inferred a specific meaning to you…as it did for me. It is difficult deprogramming a thoroughly (and culturally) conditioned mind. The key to incremental success is to stop and consider who or what you are associating with the actual word before moving on to the next. Of equal or greater importance is to stop and think before using the word in public or private conversation, including the inner dialogue always running in the background of our minds.

Alas, it is far easier to go with our programming than it is to resist it, let alone withdraw via deprogramming. And therein begins our discussion about assessing blame and the victim mentality.

We often experience mild to full blown cognitive dissonance when one of our ingrained and cherished memes is disturbed. Faced at that very moment with either challenging our interlocking belief system, which based upon personal experience cannot be done on the run, or casting about for scapegoats and embracing victimhood, the softer easier way forward is obvious.

Of course, the decision to go soft and easy isn’t actually processed in this manner or time frame. This is because we have been conditioned to ‘trigger’ when our core memes are threatened. Employing an emotional response (carefully shielded in righteous indignation or pseudo scientific assertions) assures little to no thinking is actually involved. Critical thinking is the arch enemy of meme protection while snap decisions and preprogrammed behavioral responses are greatly encouraged and amply rewarded.

The devil, however, is in the details of the specific spin we employ in order to enable plausible deniability both with others and ourselves. While on the surface we wish to disprove whatever is disrupting our meme to anyone willing to listen, ultimately it is our inner meme belief system we are so desperate to (re) affirm.

Incidentally, this is one of the reasons authorities continue to lie well past the point where it could be considered plausible. They aren’t necessarily trying to win back the doubters with additional lies. Rather they are attempting to maintain the public meme at all costs in order to keep those who are sitting on the fence from jumping over, as well as to reassure those whose belief systems have just been rocked. Back to sleep my darling little plebs.

And for those who dearly want to believe, getting back to sleep will not be a problem.

Things get a bit more complex when even the authorities can’t keep the truth hidden anymore. While this doesn’t mean the lies end (in fact just the opposite, the lies escalate) it does mean we who wish to continue to believe must find alternative ways to maintain our own inner denial. We will do just about anything to keep ourselves from seeing our ‘self’.

Blame Others - Final

So.......this person is aware of their 'self'. Has this changed anything? Are they now less likely to trigger and defend their beliefs?

 

So, when boxed in with limited cognitive options and absolute certainty we aren’t the problem, what’s a poor boy (or girl) to do? First we declare victimhood, thereby seeking the high moral ground of the weak and downtrodden. Then we sharpen our index finger and point to the most vulnerable (or at the very least, the most available) dominate social theme and cry bloody foul.

The best part of the cognitive exercise is when the confirming endorphins flood our brain and we get off on our own self deception and blame shifting. It’s even better than a Rocky Mountain High.

Of course ‘we’ don’t do these things. Others may do so, but most certainly not we. The more certain we are, the more rigid we are, the higher the certainty we engage in this type of scapegoating and self deception. It doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor, educated or ignorant, moral or immoral. All that matters is the (often carefully hidden) desire to maintain our belief system and the willingness (desperation) to avoid any significant reassessment of our beliefs.

I could go on and on, but you get the point………hopefully. Our unabashed ability to point fingers at convenient scapegoats is only exceeded by our hypocrisy and self righteousness. And let us not forget our unlimited capacity for self deception. Very few reading this will actually admit to recognizing themselves as one of ‘those’ I speak of. ‘They’ may do it, but ‘I’ do not and never will.

For the record, to this day I still struggle with this and probably will until I’m pushing up daises. Progress, not perfection, is the only path I walk! Perfection is impossible and therefore an unrealistic goal to pursue. The only thing worse than failing repeatedly, is setting your ‘self’ up for repeated failure.

The actual denial employed is often more sophisticated than a blanket (total) rejection. Subtle bargaining occurs within the mind, often involving token concessions (“Yeah, I am a bit biased in some areas.”) in order to preserve the desired outcome (“But those Jews/Muslims/Commies/Socialists/Democrats/Republicans/etc are still the problem.”).

In many respects this all too common psychological response is an outgrowth of our learned helplessness. How does one assimilate a large ego (who actually has a small ego) the belief we are free thinkers (if we unthinkingly spout a popular social meme, we probably aren’t free thinkers) plus education and training as an expert (we are all experts in something, even if that expertise is in sloth) with learned helplessness conditioning? Easy! We claim victimhood and assess blame elsewhere.

Sadly, those who control the propaganda know all too well how to play us like fiddles. And “We the People” are played time and time again by experts. If you feel you aren’t being cognitively/emotionally played, that is often the most obvious sign you are because we all are all the time.

Im a Victim - Final

What a coincidence. So am I.

Yes, yes, you’re speaking truth, so you can’t be wrong…..right? We all (conveniently) confuse ‘facts’ with subjective ‘truth’ more often than we care to admit. Fact: that flower is a plant. Subjective truth: that flower is pretty. When we get into money, politics and religion, plenty of subjective truth is asserted as fact which goes a long way towards supporting our favored dominate social memes.

Regardless of the forum or website you found this article on, no doubt you consider yourself to be more aware of the illusion surrounding us than the average person. And I am certain you are, simply because you are reading this. But this doesn’t mean you (or I) are impervious to propaganda. In fact, in some cases our perceived insight makes us even more vulnerable to manipulation.

Being more aware of the illusion does us little good if we don’t understand how we are influenced by external forces. If we still trigger, if we still hold fast to beliefs and memes (even if they are now significantly different from the majority) we are still ripe for manipulation.

As long as we stand rigid in place, all kinds of leverage can be applied to topple us. To believe we can stand our ground and resist is a fool’s errand. Their tools are extremely powerful and play at our narrow minds. The best offense is an effective defense, one of awareness and understanding of the weapons used against us.

Maybe it’s time we got off our high horse, stowed our righteous indignation and ego, baked up some humble pie a la mode and conducted a fearless and thorough self examination. Once progress has been made we must then sit down with someone we trust (preferably not a spouse unless you have a very healthy relationship) and discuss some of what we have discovered about ourselves.

It is imperative we share our new found self awareness with at least one other person; otherwise we will be tempted to slowly rationalize it all away internally until it becomes just another long forgotten bad dream. Equally important, this isn’t a one shot deal, but rather a continuous and lifelong process.

Practice mindfulness; be aware of our ‘self’ and all that's around us as if we were a spectator witnessing our ‘self’. Listen to ourselves as we speak and think. It is entirely possible to do so, to displace the ego and the self in such a way as to be a third person while still being the ‘self’. We do it all the time while dreaming. We can do it while awake.

I will speak further on these techniques, as well as others, in future articles.

To remain grounded and on track I remind myself of the following. As long as those who wish to control us know us better than we know ourselves, we are not, nor will we ever be, master of our domain.

 

04-05-2016

Cognitive Dissonance

Poor Me - Final

It's never too early to start practicing being the victim.

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