Reality Check


I was out yesterday because of the weird policy of Globe Tattoo. Maybe it was my fault for not reading the whole context of their regulation. My net surfing and blogging just suddenly halted and got this text message:

GLOBE Advisory: Ur data subscription for today has reached 800mb. Ur remaining browsing hours will resume tomorrow subject to promo validity. U may opt to forfeit ur remaining subscription to browse for P5/15 or register to other promos. To unsubscribe text SUPERSURF STOP or POWERSURF STOP to 8888. This promo is guided by Globe Fair Use Policy.
Time: 03/10/2011 17:34:01

I just got back online this afternoon. I hope there’s no more interference now that I’m a bit fired up to write.

I was trying to figure out what topic to write of earlier because I already have some drafted materials that just needed a little tweaks when Vem sent me some stuffs that provoked me to express how I feel about it. Good thing I don’t have any more chores needed to do. I did all the important tasks yesterday, so I can just relax, sip some coffee and write all about it.

Introduction:

You ever been to a situation where you’re misquoted or used by someone so boost their own ego trip? Or in need to garner friends to agree with you just so you can say to yourself that you did the right thing? Have you ever felt like lying to yourself at night of the decisions you made so you can just sleep peacefully to bed? Do you ever try to check your resolve on things that you might just being bias and unfair. And if you do, how’d you do it to not feeling guilty about it?

Cognitive Dissonance

Examples:

  1. Police riding a jeepney for free. We know that it’s unfair but we sometimes shrug it off and think that it’s the least we can do to these guys who offer their lives on the line to protect us all.
  2. Experiencing a very unfortunate situation. To justify it, you’re reminding yourself to charge it to experience.
  3. Gossips: Even though they know it’s wrong, they’ll just say that “I was only wondering, that’s why I share it” (I often hear that line) or “I’m just sharing how I feel”.. Errrr.. Freedom of expression?
  4.  Smoking habit. Smokers know that it’s bad for their health but they rationalize this behavior by saying that “I don’t want to live more than 60, I’d rather die at that age than reach 80 and get old”, “It’s the only bad habit I have”, “It calms me down :P” etc. Others quit.
  5. On hating, when someone said something true about you or about his beliefs (like in a blog) but because you hate him, you’ll look for any  loopholes and lines

such as:

  • “she’s obnoxious and ugly and whatever” from Envy
  • “God is a bias and unfair God from Miracle
  • to be faithful and be swayed by circumstances” from Blue.

To use against the writer. And share it to people who doesn’t understand the context to add more cognitive dissonance to justify how you feel.

So here’s wiki got to say:

Cognitive dissonance is a discomfort caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying.

A feeling of discomfort from holding two conflicting ideas. Ideas the creates tension that is stronger than we can handle or to understand. In our everyday lives, it plays a major role in our decision making, judgement and evaluations. We maybe unaware but we sometimes believe in something and we do the opposite. Being unpleasant, it motivates a person to change his cognition, attitude, or behavior just to release or relax the tension.

 I noticed that, there are people who know what they are doing is wrong, but they have such contempt that it doesn’t make them the slightest bit uncomfortable conning others. Want a best example? Someone I know and corrupt politicians. Do they deal with cognitive dissonance just to sleep soundly at night? I’ll never know for sure (unless they openly admit their wrong doings)

Because of cognitive dissonance, we’re forced to usually pick the most biased view or reason that favors us. We usually revised our thoughts to support our actions. To make our selves and other people around us believe that we’re right and worthy of sympathy. And this leads, to self justification.

Self Justification and Self Deception

It is difficult and for some people, impossible, to admit that they made a mistake. The higher the stakes (credibility, financial, morale, emotional etc.), the harder it is. Our mind sometimes distorts reality to increase our self esteem through self justification. It blinds us to the possibility that we were wrong but it also has the benefits. It keeps us from torturing ourselves with guilt. But because of it’s nature of being one sided and failing to grasp every detail of an event or a situation, it legitimize prejudice and corruption, resolving to more distorted reasoning such as (based on my personal experience):

  • Personalization (Egocentric bias): As if the world conspire to hunt you and brought you down! A fallacy of thinking that people say or do is a reaction to you. It’s an egocentric point of view that you attribute a personal meaning to everything that happens. This point of view causes the predator to view him or herself as “the true victim”.  
  • Ignorance : Choosing to ignore or dismiss relevant facts. Refusing to study, examine and learn. Holding desperately to your limited belief and ignoring wisdom and carefully considered evidences. Choosing to keep a narrow view of the subject at hand, maybe, because it’s convenient and favorable.
  • Optimism : Believing that everything’s okay or will be okay. But, unchecked optimism easily detach us from cold harsh truth of reality. It also leads to suspending judgement, thinking that it everything’s going to be just fine if you just leave it right there and get back to it when the situation seem suitable or favorable to you.
  • Assumption, Rumors and Opinions become a fact : There are a lot of ways to do this. This can happen if these ideas are reasonable in the surface, if others you know also share the same belief or expressed by someone with authority or with trust. Facade of lies that you mentally created and force it to make it real so others can agree to it. A false assumption or rumor shared to the masses because the quantity is one of the best justifying factor. When lots of people agreed, so when I know I’m right.
  • Blaming or Outward Causes : Holding others responsible to your pain. Thinking that we’re basically right therefore our difficulties are brought by outward causes. You can’t blame yourself to your own folly that’s like admitting to yourself that you’re wrong and that’s a no-no. Thinking that the world or someone brought this misfortune to me, I don’t have any control to it. Feigning innocence.
Few people want to know the truth or seek the factual evidences. In fact, many of us actively denying it until we are forced to deal with it. We rarely see the world as it is. We have these filters that the purpose of it is to make our lives somewhat bearable and that leads to Self Deception — a process of misleading ourselves accept as true or valid what is false and invalid. It’s a way to justify false beliefs with ourselves.

I’m not sure of any exact solution when faced with such predicament. I mean, I don’t want to sound like an expert because I’m not. But since I already started this post. Let me at least share an honest opinion: Humility as the solution, perhaps? Along with rationalization and humor (Hehehe). Good thing for me, when placed in this kind of situation, I choose to face it in solitude. I never asked anyone, my friends not even my wife, to join me in my personal battles to avoid myself giving them biased notions. The reason for this is, I feel like it defeats the purpose of what I’m fighting for if I somehow swayed them to believe what I believe. Rather, I want them to see it for themselves and justify it on their own with proper reasoning and unbiased investigation. If somehow they concluded against me. I’d love it if they can say it to me directly so I can properly defendeded myself. I mean, I’m not saying, or rather, never said I am a better person. There are maybe some underlying faults that I’m responsible unto. We’re only just human. Wuuuu.. now, that’s a cliche justification.😛

Notable Quotes:

“You’re entitled to your own opinions, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.” ~ Senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan

“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with itself.” ~ Francis Bacon, (1561-1626)

“A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” ~ Mark Twain

“Ignorance is a choice.” ~ Neriah Lothamer

“The saddest lies are the ones we tell ourselves.” ~ Lucille Clifton

“Our mental limitations prevent us from accepting our mental limitations.” ~ Robert A. Burton

“Wisdom is ‘seeing through the illusion’” ~ McKee & Barber

2 thoughts on “Reality Check

  1. awesome! This was a Post for ALL. Smokebear, you are truly gifted in wisdom, thanks for sharing it with the world, WATW Colorado,USA

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