All posts by Cognitive Dissonance

Papers Please!

Papers Please!

By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

 

For those who may not know, Mrs. Cog and I live in the mountains of Southwestern Virginia, near the intersection of the three poorest counties in the Commonwealth. While that fact doesn’t directly affect us, either financially or physically, it does for many who live within our local community.

The area is basically poor farming country, with many locals still scratching out a living raising cows and calves on steep hilly terrain suitable mostly for livestock grazing and, occasionally, assorted cash crops such as cabbage, corn or even hay.

But for the most part, those who must pay the bills work for others outside the immediate area and for relatively low wages. Worse, they travel many miles to make their keep, often 30-50 miles one way on poorly maintained country back roads. This makes for very long days to match those rather short paychecks.

The point is, many who live here must travel long distances for meager wages. Take away their vehicle or impede their travel and many would quickly fall into abject poverty up here on the mountain. That said, it’s not much different from any other rural American community with an aging and declining population.

Last week the governor of Virginia escalated his two week earlier ‘stay-at-home’ declaration, moving it from voluntary to mandatory, with prejudice I might add. Meaning ‘official’ enforcement. As in at the point of a gun, if the ‘authority’ present at the scene of the infraction deems it necessary. Continue reading Papers Please!

Lies, Damn Lies and Coronavirus Statistics

Lies, Damn Lies and Coronavirus Statistics

By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

 

“Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.” – Otto von Bismarck

'When it becomes serious, you have to lie.' - Jean-Claude Juncker, former President of the European Commission from 2014 to 2019

 

We all lie. Of this there is no doubt. And anyone who tells us otherwise is lying. While there are a billion and one reasons to lie, there is only one purpose…to gain advantage, leverage or to maintain, consolidate or increase power over our children or spouses, other family members, friends or unrelated individuals, groups large and small and even entire nations.

At its most innocuous, a lie may be considered small, kind, even considerate. Often, we tell little ‘white’ lies designed to sooth or placate a loved one or close friend. At its worst, a lie is designed to kill or injure physically, financially, socially or emotionally.

Ultimately, no matter how harmless or devastating it is, a lie is at its root a power play, information warfare employed to disarm, confuse, convince, steal, disable or destroy. We tend to treat lies, especially lies told to others that have an effect far removed from ourselves and our interests, with benign disinterest or even mild amusement. It’s only when the proximity is close or we feel we are targeted do we become righteously indignant and demand justice and restitution. Continue reading Lies, Damn Lies and Coronavirus Statistics

The Decline and Fall of Civil Society – Chapter One

The Decline and Fall of Civil Society

Chapter One

By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

 

From my perspective at least, it’s a chicken or egg question. Was civil discourse among a diverse human population desired, or even required, in order for civilization to form and flourish? Or did civilization initially coalesce, with civility to follow shortly after as a means to increase socioeconomic efficiency and to encourage people from killing or maiming each other by setting minimum standards for public conduct?

Or could it possibly be more symbiotic, with both components required in varying degrees and amounts for either component to survive and thrive in the combined form of ‘civilization’?

I am a child of the 1950’s and 1960’s, a time so far removed from today’s brave new world that, even to me, feels like ancient history. This is not to say it was all pomp and circumstance back then, but in many respects so-called civilization was much more civil in my youth than it is now. And this applies to just about all modern social interaction, regardless of the underlying medium, method or mix. Continue reading The Decline and Fall of Civil Society – Chapter One

Missing In Action

Missing In Action

By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

 

As a very young pup, whenever I was overdue and not home when expected, as all mothers tend to do mine would begin to fret. And it was always around this time, regardless of what I was doing or who I was with, I would get this intuitive feeling I needed to be home.

NOW!

Ten or fifteen minutes later I would attempt to sneak back into the house, knowing full well there was hell to pay for overstaying my outdoor play visa. But there was no hiding from mom when her missing child radar was up and running. Obviously relieved to find me alive and not bleeding, after sternly admonishing me for being tardy, mom usually claimed she was getting ready to send the dogs out to search for me.

I never understood the comment, at least not during those tender early years, since we had no dogs that could be rapidly dispatched for search and rescue, let alone body retrieval. Nor did I understand her alarm that I was missing in action, since I knew perfectly well I was alive and kicking.

That was, and remains, a perfect example of pure unadulterated and unabashed narcissism on a scale only a child can achieve. It is also why, when finally relieved of our initial panic our little loved one is missing, we want to both hug and shake them to pieces.

Consumed by a huge heaping helping of fall homestead projects (they say winter is coming) I have been engaged in considerably less unadulterated and unabashed, and much MUCH more, narcissism. While I have several articles in various stages of completion, none are ready to be posted.

Please accept my apology, along with the promise of no more than one additional week of waiting until my next full-length article is published.

And thank you for your patience.

 

12-01-2019

Cognitive Dissonance

Politicians’ Privilege

Politicians’ Privilege

By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

 

Imagine for a moment you work for a small or medium company, multinational corporation, utility, regional bank or even a local, state or national government or agency. You have a decent job with average pay and benefits, but for whatever reason you feel it may be time to move on. Doesn’t matter why, just that you wish to do so.

Time to hunt for a new job.

A competent manager (yeah, I know, but stick with me here) fully understands that at any point in time, 10-20% of her/his employees are casually, or seriously, looking for employment elsewhere. It’s called turnover and the HR department is quite familiar with the concept. That very same manager also knows some amount of ‘work’ time and resources will be devoted to (some might say stolen by) their soon-to-be-gone employee during their job search.

I’m not saying it’s right, just that it’s a present-day reality. It’s also one of many reasons why your work computer, and you, are increasingly under surveillance by your employer. One must always remember (at least according to the Supreme Court) we surrender certain inalienable rights when on the premises and/or in the employ of our paymaster. Continue reading Politicians’ Privilege