Deaf, Dumb and Blind : Who Is Better at Conceding They Are Wrong – Conservative or Liberal Extremists?

Deaf, Dumb and Blind

Who Is Better at Conceding They Are Wrong - Conservative or Liberal Extremists?


Cognitive Dissonance


For those readers who wish to confirm their cemented bias or simply don’t read past the first paragraph or two, here is the down and dirty answer to the question posed in the title.

The answer is…neither!

And it gets worse from there. Those who harbor extreme and strident political points of view also maintain similarly strong “opinions” (though nearly all will righteously declare them as ironclad facts) in nearly all facets of their life and are unlikely to change their point of view regardless of the contrary evidence presented. I base my statement upon personal experience and an interesting study recently published which examined this very subject.

Here is the first sentence of the study’s Result and Discussion. “An unjustified certainty in one’s beliefs is a characteristic common to those espousing radical beliefs, and such overconfidence is observed for both political and non-political issues, implying a general cognitive bias in radicals.”

Are you surprised to be told this? Or have you quickly spotted a loop hole in which you may escape from the overall generalization of the statement? The wonderful thing about denial is it’s infinitely customizable and completely flexible; enabling the user to deny anything and everything including the nose on his/her face.

Of course, the only way many can accept uncomfortably too-close-to-home assertions is to declare it doesn’t apply to them, just everyone else.

I shall leave the bickering over the study’s findings to those who have immediately bristled in anger or righteous indignation, and instead ponder why extremist thinking occurs in the first place. And why it appears to be increasing exponentially throughout the social strata.

The phrase “Either create your own reality or live in someone else’s,” comes to mind when contemplating this phenomenon. Many people would consider an analysis of what reality is and how it is created a useless philosophical dalliance at best and the cognitive wanderings of a fool at worst. And yet the entire world is constantly attempting to alter, influence, change or destroy the present “reality” in favor of another version/iteration.

Governments (federal, state, county and city/town), themselves little more than actualized figments of a consensus reality, constantly sets policy, enacts and enforces laws, spin narratives and coerces everyone and anything, either at the implied or actual physical barrel of a gun, to accept or adopt its version of reality.

Intimately intertwined with government are politicians and political parties, all bumping and jostling each other in a never-ending effort to gain favor and power through the use of meme generation and narrative manipulation. Anyone who has the gall to declare that gathering 55% of the votes of only 30-40% of the population is a landslide win affording them a sweeping agenda to institute change is little more than a charlatan or snake oil salesman.

But if that’s all it takes to gain power mostly abandoned by the general population, whose reality are we really talking about? Certainly not yours or mine! But still we accept it all as officially real and legitimate, or at least something that cannot be changed.

Large companies and multinational corporations spend huge sums of money to “influence” the consensus realty via advertising, social posturing, press releases, donations, grants and other funding to bolster and enhance both “its” standing and “its” sales, as well as to crowd out the competition. For the most part consumerism has completely surpassed actual “needs” purchasing via manufactured desire and consent.

If all I sell is widgets, the world is just a widget market waiting to be sated. My only job is to convince you that widgets are to die for.

Wall Street essentially controls the world via multiple “markets” and self-serving manipulation. Markets are simply an elaborate and convoluted consensus reality designed to enrich the few at the expense of the many, regardless of what we are programmed to believe or think we know.

So-called institutions of higher learning, always a bastion of mind memes and consensus programming designed to support the upper echelons and elite, ultimately complement and support the entire consensus reality construct by affirming its validity and conditioning the population to interact with the only “reality” presented as valid and “real”. These are truth and facts backed by scientific experiment and consensus opinion. Do not question this reality.

Perhaps the most powerful component of the present-day reality construct, the linchpin that glues it all together while simultaneously driving it all forward, is the mesmerizing and compelling money meme. Our self image and sense of self worth, the principal point of view from which we judge reality, is based upon earning, spending, saving, investing, borrowing, stealing and dreaming about money and all the various first, second and third derivatives of money.

It isn’t money itself that’s so debilitating, but rather our obsessive-compulsive behavior with regard to money. It cements in place our belief system, effectively preventing any alternative reality to take root, let alone blossom. This is a programmed feature, not an inadvertent bug, of the present consensus reality we believe in and live within.

We individuals, by working for, with and within these institutions and belief systems, are both victims and perpetrators of the present-day consensus reality. Herd animals are, for the most part, followers, even when we are leading ourselves to food and water, thereby perpetuating the patently false mythical belief we are “free”. Just as water follows the path of least resistance, so too does the vast majority of captured and corralled human minds.

Ultimately, we are firmly rooted in our shared and individual belief systems, also known as our reality, to such an extent that when it is rattled or threatened, we tend to grasp onto whatever remains with increasing fear and ferocity. For those who are more flexible in their world view, this doesn’t become an existential crisis. For many, though, it does.

The fundamental question is this; how would/do we react when our world view is threatened?

While the answer varies with each individual, and obviously much of our reaction depends upon how threatened we feel, for the most part we fall into one of several different camps. Some become depressed and even despondent. Others shrug it off and adapt to a different worldview than the one they woke up with.

But for many, outrage, anger and a narrowing of cognitive responses are common reaction to a worldview suddenly upended. Whether we discovered the love of our life has been cheating on us, just received a lay-off notice after thirty years with the company or our political hero and savior just lost the “can’t lose” election, denial and anger are often our first and only response.

While by definition the term “worldview” entails a certain amount of ownership of the “view”, some of us hold on tighter than others when the ground shifts beneath our feet. Those who cannot, or will not, let go believe they have little choice but to hold on even tighter. This applies particularly to the personality type that speaks, thinks and acts with strong and unwavering certitude and conviction.

Contrary to what we are told by the so-called authorities, this type of desperately grasping cognitive behavior is actively and covertly encouraged, even initiated, by those who control and rule in order to deflect blame and consequences from the ruling class back to you and me.

Divide and conquer/control is a well-known and expertly practiced domestic population control technique finely honed to a sharp edge by thousands of years of use and abuse. And we fall for it every single time because we are conditioned from birth to value, even honor, external “authority” rather than ourselves and each other.

The oldest tricks are the best tricks, primarily because they work time and time again. All that needs to be done is to dress them up in stylish new clothes and communicate them with varying degrees of authority and threat.

We are desperate to believe the lies, for to acknowledge the truth would force us to admit our culpability and complacency. As the old saying goes, it is easier to fool people than to convince people they have been fooled. This applies doubly to those who harbor strong opinions and cemented beliefs.

We have been taught from birth there are two, and only two, states of mind. One is informed, synonymous with educated, aware, intelligent and opinionated, and the other is apathetic, synonymous with uninformed, disinterested, mindless and uneducated. There are “facts” and then there is everything else. Only facts are worthy of our use, worship and adoration. And most importantly, only authorities can dispense “facts” or declare tidbits, rumors and innuendo to be factual and true.

Critical thinking is not necessary and just gets in the way of mindless consumption of authorized factual news, opinion and “expert” speculation, helpfully dispensed by the authoritative mainstream (and lately the alternative) media. If it is spoken, written and projected with authority and purpose, it must be true, especially if it conforms to and confirms prior conditioning and belief. The more anchored our beliefs, the greater the glorious endorphin rush we receive when hearing, seeing or reading affirming “facts”.

A while back I came to understand that firmly anchored beliefs and opinion, along with false hope, are a ball and chain that binds us to impossible situations. To desperately clutch onto what we believe is irrefutable and unchanging is purely a self-imposed cognitive death sentence. The only thing unchanging in this world is that everything is always changing. Why would we possibly think our beliefs would, or should, not change with the world?

Most of what we think we know is not truth per se, but more accurately described as widely agreed upon lies, half truths and rumor masquerading as much more than it really is. Just because it came from an authority, was written in a textbook or historical journal or is widely believed to be truth, doesn’t automatically make it so.

Strong opinions and unquestioned beliefs, while emotionally comforting and intellectually confirming, are self-imposed roadblocks to our own spiritual, emotional and intellectual development. This is not to say we should not believe, only that the mind that (strongly) believes must retain enough courage and flexibility to change those beliefs as conditions dictate. To reject contrary information simply because it does not confirm to our static belief system brings more personal and collective heartache and hardship than any external force ever could.

Think of your beliefs as rocks dumped into the backpack you’re hauling around through life. Wouldn’t it make more sense for those rocks to be feathers, easily removed and discarded when, and if, needed. We should not be defined by our beliefs as cemented and stale. Rather we should define our beliefs as temporary and nourishing, something we can abandon when needed or reacquired when desired.

Either we create our own reality or we will live in someone else’s. To the greatest extent I can, on a daily basis I create my own. And so can you.



Cognitive Dissonance

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