Cognitive Dissonance Quotes

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Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief.
Frantz Fanon (Black Skin, White Masks)
The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Infidel)
You'll be pleased to hear, Christopher, that I am no longer a Muslim liberal but an atheist [....] I find that it obviates the necessity for any cognitive dissonance.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
I suppose it’s no surprise that we feel the need to dehumanize the people we hurt—before, during, or after the hurting occurs. But it always comes as a surprise. In psychology it’s known as cognitive dissonance. It’s the idea that it feels stressful and painful for us to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time (like the idea that we’re kind people and the idea that we’ve just destroyed someone). And so to ease the pain we create illusory ways to justify our contradictory behavior.
Jon Ronson (So You've Been Publicly Shamed)
Myths, whether in written or visual form, serve a vital role of asking unanswerable questions and providing unquestionable answers. Most of us, most of the time, have a low tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. We want to reduce the cognitive dissonance of not knowing by filling the gaps with answers. Traditionally, religious myths have served that role, but today — the age of science — science fiction is our mythology.
Michael Shermer
A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.
Leon Festinger (A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance)
The atypically depressed are more likely to be the walking wounded, people like me who are quite functional, whose lives proceed almost as usual, except that their depressed all the time, almost constantly embroiled in thoughts of suicide even as they go through their paces. Atypical depression is not just a mild malaise...but one that is quite severe and yet still somehow allows an appearance of normalcy because it becomes, over time, a part of life. The trouble is that as the years pass, if untreated, atypical depression gets worse and worse, and its sufferers are likely to commit suicide out of sheer frustration with living a life that is simultaneously productive and clouded by constant despair. It is the cognitive dissonance that is deadly. Because atypical depression doesn’t have a peak- or, more accurately, a nadir, like normal depression, because it follows no logical curve but instead accumulates over time, it an drive its victim to dismal despair so suddenly that one might not have bothered to attend to treatment until the patient has already, and seemingly very abruptly, committed suicide.
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
Progress should never be impeded by a need to coddle adults who respond to the world as children.
Kelli Jae Baeli (Supernatural Hypocrisy: The Cognitive Dissonance of a God Cosmology: Volume 3: Cosmology of the Bible)
I understand now that the only time black people don't feel guilty is when we've actually done something wrong, because that relieves us of the cognitive dissonance of being black and innocent, and in a way the prospect of going to jail becomes a relief.
Paul Beatty (The Sellout)
The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.
Christopher Hitchens (The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever)
Reality Check His lying is not contigent on who you are or what you do. His lying is not your fault. Lying is his choice and his problem, and if he makes that choice with you, he will make it with any other woman he’s with. That doesn’t mean you’re an angel and he’s the devil. It does mean that if he doesn’t like certain things about you, he has many ways to address them besides lying. If there are sexual problems between you, there are many resources available to help you. Nothing can change until you hold him responsible and accountable for lying and stop blaming yourself. The lies we tell ourselves to keep from seeing the truth about our lovers don’t feel like lies. They feel comfortable, familiar, and true. We repeat them like a mantra and cling to them like security blankets, hoping to calm ourselves and regain our sense that the world works the way we believe it ought to. Self-lies are false friends we look to for comfort and protection—and for a short time they may make us feel better. But we can only keep the truth at bay for so long. Our self-lies can’t erase his lies, and as we’ll see, the longer we try to pretend they can, the more we deepen the hurt.
Susan Forward
We’ll get fired for tardiness, or for stealing merchandise and selling it on eBay, or for having a customer complain about the smell of alcohol on our breath, or for taking five thirty-minute restroom breaks per shift. We talk about the value of hard work but tell ourselves that the reason we’re not working is some perceived unfairness: Obama shut down the coal mines, or all the jobs went to the Chinese. These are the lies we tell ourselves to solve the cognitive dissonance—the broken connection between the world we see and the values we preach. We
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
Minor feelings occur when American optimism is enforced upon you, which contradicts your own racialized reality, thereby creating a static of cognitive dissonance.
Cathy Park Hong (Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning)
The human need to be visible is countered by the need to be invisible to avoid further abuse, and the need for intimacy and the dread of abuse, all pose insoluble dichotomies which promote further withdrawal from human contact, which reinforces the sense of dehumanisation.
Christiane Sanderson (Introduction to Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma)
Did you ever hear of cognitive dissonance?” she asked. “No.” “Basically, it’s a theory that people subconsciously reinterpret their motives and actions in a way that makes them feel better about themselves afterward. And then they start to believe that the basis of the reinterpretation is also true.
Barbara A. Shapiro (The Art Forger)
We talk about the value of hard work but tell ourselves that the reason we’re not working is some perceived unfairness: Obama shut down the coal mines, or all the jobs went to the Chinese. These are the lies we tell ourselves to solve the cognitive dissonance—the broken connection between the world we see and the values we preach.
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
We need only in cold blood ACT as if the thing in question were real, and keep acting as if it were real, and it will infallibly end by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real.
William James
It is a happy faculty of the mind to slough that which conscience refuses to assimilate.
William Faulkner (Light in August)
When we apologize for something we’ve done, make amends, or change a behavior that doesn’t align with our values, guilt—not shame—is most often the driving force. We feel guilty when we hold up something we’ve done or failed to do against our values and find they don’t match up. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but one that’s helpful. The psychological discomfort, something similar to cognitive dissonance, is what motivates meaningful change. Guilt is just as powerful as shame, but its influence is positive, while shame’s is destructive. In fact, in my research I found that shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we can change and do better.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
At this crucial point, for the Roman Church to reach a compromise between this myth of Mithra and the Hellenistic Christianity of St. Paul, it was necessary to have a sudden change of events or an altered version of Jesus's life, and it was here that the Roman Church began to implement a psychological process known today as Cognitive Dissonance. In a few words, this happens when a group of people produce a false reconstruction of an event they want to continue to believe in, a literary strategy also known as the Reconstructive Hypothesis. This theological notion is equally known as Apotheosis or the glorification of a subject to divine level such as a human becoming a god. In the case of Jesus, this process was copied in its entirety from the religion of Mithra where their 'divinisations' were practically the same.
Anton Sammut (The Secret Gospel Of Jesus AD 0-78)
It is a clear indictment of how ingrained our state of cognitive dissonance is that we see attempts at moral consistency as signs of extremism. Is it not strange that we call those who kill dogs animal abusers, those who kill pigs normal and those who kill neither extremists? Is it not odd that someone who smashes a car window to rescue a dog on a hot day is viewed as a hero but some one who rescues a piglet suffering on a far is a criminal?
Ed Winters (This is Vegan Propaganda (and Other Lies the Meat Industry Tells You))
I continue to live inside a dichotomy: what was and what shall be. The pain in my skull is me trying to mesh the two.
Chila Woychik (On Being a Rat and Other Observations)
Because of propaganda induced cognitive dissonance, most people hate themselves and don't even know it.
Bryant McGill (Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life)
Marya Morevna, we are better at this than you are. We can hold two terrible ideas at once in our hearts. Never have your folk delighted us more, been more like family. For a devil, hypocrisy is a parlour game, like charades. Such fun, and when the evening is done we shall be holding our bellies to keep from dying of laughter.
Catherynne M. Valente (Deathless)
When there is inconsistency in belief and action (such as being violated by someone who is supposed to love you) our mind has to make an adjustment so that thought and action are aligned. So sometimes the adjustment that the mind makes is for the victim to bring her or his behavior in line with the violator, since the violator cannot be controlled by the victim. Our greatest source of survival is to adapt to our environment. So increasing emotional intimacy with a person who is forcing physical intimacy makes sense in our minds. It resolves cognitive dissonance.
Rosenna Bakari (Tree Leaves: Breaking The Fall Of The Loud Silence)
One believed what one was told to believe, what it made sense to believe. Unless one was a foreigner, of course, or a philosopher.
Iain M. Banks (Inversions (Culture, #6))
The vast majority of Americans, at all coordinates of the economic spectrum, consider themselves middle class; this is a deeply ingrained, distinctly American cognitive dissonance.
Ellen Cushing
Yes, that. You’re feeling cognitive dissonance, Jamie. Two contradictory-yet-entirely-valid-within-their-contexts thoughts about the same subject. And humans hate that shit. We hate it so much. The worst answer for us for anything is, ‘It depends.
John Scalzi (The Kaiju Preservation Society)
How to care for the injured body, the kind of body that can't hold the content it is living?
Claudia Rankine (Citizen: An American Lyric)
Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism employed to avoid cognitive dissonance.
Zack Love (The Syrian Virgin (The Syrian Virgin, #1))
If a given idea has been held in the human mind for many generations, as almost all our common ideas have, it takes sincere and continued effort to remove it; and if it is one of the oldest we have in stock, one of the big, common, unquestioned world ideas, vast is the labor of those who seek to change it.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Man-Made World; or, Our Androcentric Culture)
They declare that it is unpatriotic and disruptive to question the workings of authority--but patriotic to institute harsh and regressive policies that benefit the wealthy, undermine social programs that serve the needs of the great majority, and subordinate a frightened population to increased state control.
Noam Chomsky
if we could tax Americans' cognitive dissonance we could balance the budget. The American people want all kinds of incompatible things, they're human beings, and they want high services, low taxes, and an omnipresent, omniprominent welfare state.
George F. Will
For too many women in America are becoming sick with exhaustion and stress as they try to do things that can't be -- shouldn't be -- done. Too many are eaten up by resentment toward their husbands, who are not subject to the same heartless pressures. Too many are becoming anxious and depressed because they are overwhelmed and disappointed. Too many are letting their lives be poisoned by guilt because their expectations can't be met, and because there is an enormous cognitive dissonance between what they know to be right for themselves and what they're told is right for their children. Too many feel out of control.
Judith Warner (Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety)
America's state religion, is patriotism, a phenomenon which has convinced many of the citizenry that 'treason' is morally worse than murder or rape.
William Blum
He had very few doubts, and when the facts contradicted his views on life, he shut his eyes in disapproval.
Hermann Hesse (The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse)
Women's ideas of themselves had changed, but the world's idea of women, somehow, had not. The cognitive dissonance was palpable at all times.
Carina Chocano (You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages)
Living with this kind of cognitive dissonance is simply part of being alive at this jarring moment in history, when a crisis we have been studiously ignoring is hitting us in the face– and yet we are doubling down on the stuff that is causing the crisis in the first place.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
It’s as if the future is coming to us faster than we are heading to it. I think it was the author William Gibson who suggested that global stocks of cognitive dissonance are currently so high they threaten to make the traditional idea of science fiction redundant. And once you reach my age, you tend to find that the individual days become really long, but the years get shorter, which only distorts your temporal perspective still further.
Terry Gilliam (Gilliamesque: A Pre-posthumous Memoir)
Every addiction story wants a villain. But America has never been able to decide whether addicts are victims or criminals, whether addiction is an illness or a crime. So we relieve the pressure of cognitive dissonance with various provisions of psychic labor - some addicts got pitied, others get blamed - that keep overlapping and evolving to suit our purposes: Alcoholics are tortured geniuses. Drug addicts are deviant zombies. Male drunks are thrilling. Female drunks are bad moms. White addicts get their suffering witnessed. Addicts of color get punished. Celebrity addicts get posh rehab with equine therapy. Poor addicts get hard time. Someone carrying crack gets five years in prison, while someone driving drunk gets a night in jail, even though drunk driving kills more people every year than cocaine. In her seminal account of mass incarceration, The New Jim Crow, legal scholar Michelle Alexander points out that many of these biases tell a much larger story about 'who is viewed as disposable - someone to be purged from the body politic - and who is not.' They aren't incidental discrepancies - between black and white addicts, drinkers and drug users - but casualties of our need to vilify some people under the guise of protecting others.
Leslie Jamison (The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath)
Moreover, dissonance-evoking situations have been found to evoke a general negative affect without also evoking increased self-directed negative affect (Elliot & Devine, 1994) or decreased state self-esteem (E. Harmon-Jones, 2000a).
Eddie Harmon-Jones (Cognitive Dissonance: Reexamining a Pivotal Theory in Psychology)
The force of inertia acts in the domain of psychics as well as physics; any idea pushed into the popular mind with considerable force will keep on going until some opposing force--or the slow resistance of friction--stops it at last.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Man-Made World)
First identified by academic psychologist Leon Festinger, cognitive dissonance occurs when we are confronted with empirical data at odds with the way we “know” the world to work. To resolve this discrepancy, we choose to ignore data or try to fit the data into our preconceived belief structure. Sometimes, there is a crisis and the belief structure eventually crumbles.
David N. Schwartz (The Last Man Who Knew Everything: The Life and Times of Enrico Fermi, Father of the Nuclear Age)
But at the same time, the humanist in me was always a bit troubled by the rather bleak, rather unappetizing picture the theory painted of the human condition—forever striving to justify our actions after the fact.
Eddie Harmon-Jones (Cognitive Dissonance: Reexamining a Pivotal Theory in Psychology)
For Satan, as for Marx, religion was an impediment to the grand design of transforming humanity from a collection of free-willed, autonomous individuals into a mass of self-corralling slaves who mistake security for liberty and try to keep the cognitive dissonance to a minimum in order to function.
Michael Walsh (The Devil's Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West)
The textbooks also fail to show how the continuous Indian wars have reverberated through our culture. Carleton Beals has written that "our acquiescence in Indian dispossession has molded the American character." As soon as Natives were no longer conflict partners, their image deteriorated in the minds of many whites. Kupperman has shown how this process unfolded in Virginia after the Indian defeat in the 1640s: "It was the ultimate powerlessness of the Indians, not their racial inferiority, which made it possible to see them as people without rights." Natives who had been "ingenious," "industrious," and "quick of apprehension" in 1610 now became "sloathfull and idle, vitious, melancholy, [and] slovenly." This is another example of the process of cognitive dissonance.
James W. Loewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong)
We choose not to work when we should be looking for jobs. Sometimes we’ll get a job, but it won’t last. We’ll get fired for tardiness, or for stealing merchandise and selling it on eBay, or for having a customer complain about the smell of alcohol on our breath, or for taking five thirty-minute restroom breaks per shift. We talk about the value of hard work but tell ourselves that the reason we’re not working is some perceived unfairness: Obama shut down the coal mines, or all the jobs went to the Chinese. These are the lies we tell ourselves to solve the cognitive dissonance—the broken connection between the world we see and the values we preach. We
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
Over decades in power, the CCP had constructed a multilayered system for stifling dissent in China based on the Soviet psychological warfare technique of Zersetzung, which translates roughly to “psychological decomposition.”[96] The regime’s threats instill fear of open discourse about reality, resulting in self-censorship. To avoid the cognitive dissonance of this silence, individuals willfully play down the evidence before their own eyes. The collective psychological effects are deceptively enormous.
Michael P. Senger (Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World)
It's such an essential feature of any culture that it even has a name: 'cognitive dissonance'. Cognitive dissonance is often considered a failure of the human psyche. In fact it is a vital asset. Had people been unable to hold contradictory beliefs and values, it would probably have been impossible to establish and maintain any human culture.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Regarding Christians who feel they have a free pass on being criticized; When the blind worship of an invisible being and the doctrine of millennia-old texts written by ignorant men in another country becomes more important than real, present human beings, then the blind worshiper SHOULD be shunned and criticized. It would be unethical to respond otherwise.
Kelli Jae Baeli (Supernatural Hypocrisy: The Cognitive Dissonance of a God Cosmology: Volume 3: Cosmology of the Bible)
Adopting a vegan diet brings your choices and actions in line with those same beliefs that underlie a commitment to resisting regressive politics: generosity, compassion, and a commitment to justice and fairness. By acting in a way that reflects your values and what you believe, you relieve the cognitive dissonance that can make stress and depression worse.
Carol J. Adams (Protest Kitchen: Fight Injustice, Save the Planet, and Fuel Your Resistance One Meal at a Time)
A bad song for a night such as this, mayhap, but her heart went its own way without much interest in what her head thought or wanted; always had.
Stephen King (Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4))
Wind passed again; the iris shuddered about the diamond chip.
Samuel R. Delany (Nova)
In short, their practice contradicts what they profess. They are trapped in cognitive dissonance.
Nancy R. Pearcey (Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes)
Did you ever hear of cognitive dissonance?” she asked.
Barbara A. Shapiro (The Art Forger)
Humans are masters of cognitive dissonance, and we allow ourselves to believe one thing in the laboratory and an altogether different thing in the courthouse or in parliament.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: ‘An intoxicating brew of science, philosophy and futurism’ Mail on Sunday)
These are the lies we tell ourselves to solve the cognitive dissonance—the broken connection between the world we see and the values we preach.
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
It is well established that you will feel uncomfortable when there is a discrepancy between what you think and what you do. This is known as cognitive dissonance.
Paul Dolan (Happiness by Design: Change What You Do, Not How You Think)
Mind control is the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioral outcomes. It is neither magical nor mystical, but a process that involves a set of basic social psychological principles. Conformity, compliance, persuasion, dissonance, reactance, guilt and fear arousal, modeling and identification are some of the staple social influence ingredients well studied in psychological experiments and field studies. In some combinations, they create a powerful crucible of extreme mental and behavioral manipulation when synthesized with several other real-world factors, such as charismatic, authoritarian leaders, dominant ideologies, social isolation, physical debilitation, induced phobias, and extreme threats or promised rewards that are typically deceptively orchestrated, over an extended time period in settings where they are applied intensively.
Steven Hassan (Combating Cult Mind Control: The Guide to Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults)
Minstrelsy's grotesquerie deluded white audiences into feeling better about themselves. It induced a bearable cognitive dissonance that outlasted enslavement. The caricatures of Black people as extravagantly lazy, licentious, vulgar, disheveled, and abject always drew a comforting contrast with a white person's sense of honor and civility, with a white person's simply being white.
Wesley Morris (The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story)
When you hold a belief strongly, it is difficult to believe something that is so contrary to it, even if the evidence is undeniable and staring you in the face. When you start opening your eyes to ways the CN has controlled, manipulated, belittled, and demeaned you for years, this is a huge reality paradigm shift. You will fight hard against the evidence no matter how obvious it is. This stirs up great insecurity, confusion, and anxiety in the body. What makes it even harder is that people around you see the CN in a positive light. Cognitive dissonance is one of the most challenging components of healing and recovery. It takes enormous mental strength to look past strong beliefs you have held and be open to looking honestly at the reality that is presenting itself.
Debbie Mirza (The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist: Recognizing the Traits and Finding Healing After Hidden Emotional and Psychological Abuse (The Narcissism Series Book 1))
I understand now that the only time black people don't feel guilty is when we've actually done something wrong, because that relieves us from the cognitive dissonance of being black and innocent.
Paul Beatty (The Sellout)
No two generations in history have experienced such a highlighted cognitive dissonance, because never has change occurred at so rapid a pace. Look at the rate of penetration—the amount of time it takes for a new technology to be adopted by fifty million people. Radio took thirty-eight years to reach that mark; the telephone took twenty years; and television took thirteen. More recently, the World Wide Web took four years, Facebook took 3.6, Twitter took three, and the iPad took only two. Google Plus, which nobody even finds useful, took only eighty-eight days to be adopted by fifty million.
Michael Harris (The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection)
You cannot ever really go back to normal. You can approximate the axis of what your life used to be like, but as with an asymptote, all you’ll ever really do is get close and never intersect the sweet spot. It is true that the way the legal system works, once you are acquitted you are free to go home, but there’s a cognitive dissonance in the realization that the world has spun away without you.
Jodi Picoult (Mad Honey)
Morality comes from religion? There are no Baptist babies or Catholic babies or Muslim babies. Religion is imposed on children by adults and society, and morality is an evolutionary adaptation. Period.
Kelli Jae Baeli (Supernatural Hypocrisy: The Cognitive Dissonance of a God Cosmology: Volume 3: Cosmology of the Bible)
We have a predator that came from the depths of the cosmos and took over the rule of our lives. Human beings are its prisoners. The Predator is our lord and master. It has rendered us docile, helpless. If we want to protest, it suppresses our protest. If we want to act independently, it demands that we don't do so... I have been beating around the bush all this time, insinuating to you that something is holding us prisoner. Indeed we are held prisoner! "This was an energetic fact for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico ... They took us over because we are food for them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their sustenance. just as we rear chickens in chicken coops, the predators rear us in human coops, humaneros. Therefore, their food is always available to them." "No, no, no, no," [Carlos replies] "This is absurd don Juan. What you're saying is something monstrous. It simply can't be true, for sorcerers or for average men, or for anyone." "Why not?" don Juan asked calmly. "Why not? Because it infuriates you? ... You haven't heard all the claims yet. I want to appeal to your analytical mind. Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradictions between the intelligence of man the engineer and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs, or the stupidity of his contradictory behaviour. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of belief, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed, and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal." "'But how can they do this, don Juan? [Carlos] asked, somehow angered further by what [don Juan] was saying. "'Do they whisper all that in our ears while we are asleep?" "'No, they don't do it that way. That's idiotic!" don Juan said, smiling. "They are infinitely more efficient and organized than that. In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous manoeuvre stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous manoeuvre from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind. The predators' mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now." "I know that even though you have never suffered hunger... you have food anxiety, which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its manoeuvre is going to be uncovered and food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. And they ensure, in this manner, a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear." "The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were quite ill at ease with the idea of when [the predator] made its appearance on Earth. They reasoned that man must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous insights, feats of awareness that are mythological legends nowadays. And then, everything seems to disappear, and we have now a sedated man. What I'm saying is that what we have against us is not a simple predator. It is very smart, and organized. It follows a methodical system to render us useless. Man, the magical being that he is destined to be, is no longer magical. He's an average piece of meat." "There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional, imbecilic.
Carlos Castaneda (The Active Side of Infinity)
When you get down to it, though, explaining what you believe isn't all that easy. If you say that you believe something to be true, you might mean one of two things—that you're still weighing the alternatives, or that you accept it as a fact. I don't logically see how one single word can have contradictory definitions, but emotionally, I completely understand. Because there are times I think what I am doing is right, and there are other times I second-guess myself every step of the way.
Jodi Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper)
It is always useful to think badly about people one has exploited or plans to exploit. Modifying one’s opinions to bring them into line with one’s actions or planned actions is the most common outcome of the process known as “cognitive dissonance,” according to social psychologist Leon Festinger. No one likes to think of himself or herself as a bad person. To treat badly another person whom we consider a reasonable human being creates a tension between act and attitude that demands resolution.
James W. Loewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong)
Cognitive dissonance is often considered a failure of the human psyche. In fact, it is a vital asset. Had people been unable to hold contradictory beliefs and values, it would probably have been impossible to establish and maintain any human culture.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
When you first begin to realize a person you have loved and fully believed loved you is a covert narcissist, it is so hard to accept because you have seen them in such a different light for so long. It is a struggle for the brain to reconcile the man or woman you thought existed with the one who is now treating you with such anger and hostility. This is called cognitive dissonance—having two competing thoughts in your mind at the same time—and is part of the confusing feelings you might be experiencing. It is both painful and exhausting.
Debbie Mirza (The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist: Recognizing the Traits and Finding Healing After Hidden Emotional and Psychological Abuse (The Narcissism Series Book 1))
Creative ideas make people uncomfortable. It turns out that, at least subconsciously, we can have a hard time recognizing ideas as both new and useful at the same time. This cognitive dissonance between creativity and practicality may actually create a subtle bias against creative ideas.
David Burkus (The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas)
God, what I wouldn’t give to live in a fairytale, sometimes. Or even just a romantic comedy. In them, this wouldn’t fly. Like, imagine if Prince Charming had picked up the glass slipper and decided the city was too big to scour it for someone who fit the damn thing? Or if Prince Phillip saw Maleficent blowing fire all over the forest and went nope, fuck that, too risky? Or if Prince Eric was all like, “Hmm, I could fight the giant octopus sea witch from my nightmares, but then I could also sail home and return to eating fish I now know are sentient, safe in denial and cognitive goddamn dissonance!”? But they wouldn’t, they wouldn’t have done any of that, because in stories guys fight. They fight for the person they care about, and they don't give up, ever.
Sophie Gonzales (Only Mostly Devastated)
The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance. When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance.
Leon Festinger (A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance)
Why should jokes and metaphors give such pleasure? Because we can't stand very much ambiguity. Cognitive dissonance makes us uneasy, and for good reason-survival depends on making the world as predictable as possible. So when we figure something out, when we impose order on what seems chaotic, we heave a psychological sigh of relief.
James Geary (I is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How it Shapes the Way We See the World)
Besides, my confidence that every person can be cured of his or her false beliefs through evidence has meanwhile significantly diminished. Oh, Mr. Brecht, I often think, people can really see an apple fall to the ground an simultaneously believe it when someone claims: It isn't falling. And there it is still the matter of more obvious natural laws!
Christa Wolf (Ein Tag im Jahr)
The question is not, do you have conflicts? The real question is, are you aware of your conflicts?
Abhijit Naskar (Mad About Humans: World Maker's Almanac)
Women can only see beyond what their fragile heart wants to believe when they are in love.
Shannon L. Alder
The best, most all-encompassing way to describe our world is hyper-novel. As we will show throughout the book, humans are extraordinarily well adapted to, and equipped for, change. But the rate of change itself is so rapid now that our brains, bodies, and social systems are perpetually out of sync. For millions of years we lived among friends and extended family, but today many people don’t even know their neighbors’ names. Some of the most fundamental truths—like the fact of two sexes—are increasingly dismissed as lies. The cognitive dissonance spawned by trying to live in a society that is changing faster than we can accommodate is turning us into people who cannot fend for ourselves. Simply put, it’s killing us.
Heather E. Heying (A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life)
It is important to recognize that the narcissist constructs a false, dark alternate reality in which he hands over his pathology to you. You will be labeled the crazy, oversensitive person throughout the relationship even while enduring mind-blowing verbal and emotional attacks from your abuser. The abuser enjoys employing gaslighting and projection techniques to essentially rewrite the history of abuse in the relationship and misplace all blame onto you. Since you are prone to cognitive dissonance, you will often start to blame yourself for the abuse and seek to deny or minimize the severity of the trauma you’re experiencing in an effort to survive and cope with the fact that the person you love and care for is a pathological abuser.
Shahida Arabi (Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself)
One reason covert narcissists are so damaging is because of cognitive dissonance. This is when you have two competing thoughts in your mind. You love your mom, spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend and thought they loved you the same. Yet when you look back, their behaviors make you question your beliefs about them. As you reflect, you begin to wonder, Could this person really have been controlling and manipulating me for years and I didn’t see it…or were things really my fault and I’m just overdramatizing my experience? You have a solid belief that has formed over years that this is a good person who cares about you, and at the same time, they are being incredibly cruel and controlling. The cognitive dissonance is dizzying and crazy-making.
Debbie Mirza (The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist: Recognizing the Traits and Finding Healing After Hidden Emotional and Psychological Abuse (The Narcissism Series Book 1))
Maryland was a slave state with considerable support for the Confederacy at the onset of the war. But Maryland held for the Union and sent thousands of soldiers to defend Washington. What happened next provides a “positive” example of the effects of cognitive dissonance: for Maryland whites to fight a war against slave owners while allowing slavery within their own state created a tension that demanded resolution. In 1864 the increasingly persuasive abolitionists in Maryland brought the issue to a vote. The tally went narrowly against emancipation until the large number of absentee ballots were counted. By an enormous margin, these ballots were for freedom. Who cast most absentee ballots in 1864 in Maryland? Soldiers and sailors, of course.
James W. Loewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong)
As Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote: “The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism.” Having no cognitive dissonance in my philosophy of death is a profound comfort. This might not be true for everybody: some people do seem better able to live with cognitive dissonance than others. But it’s certainly true for me. And it seems to be true for many other people.
Greta Christina (Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God)
If I say I do not believe in faeries or elves or trolls, does this imply that I have a set of beliefs and a lifestyle that adheres to this lack of belief? NO, IT ONLY IMPLIES that I do not believe in faeries, elves and trolls. So one cannot extrapolate morality, philosophy, cosmology, character, political party, or any other thing of that sort from the mere lack of belief in one other thing.
Kelli Jae Baeli (Supernatural Hypocrisy: The Cognitive Dissonance of a God Cosmology: Volume 3: Cosmology of the Bible)
It was Daisuke's conviction that all morality traced its origins to social realities. He believed there could be no greater confusion of cause and effect than to attempt to conform social reality to a rigidly predetermined notion of morality. Accordingly, he found the ethical education conducted by lecture in Japanese schools utterly meaningless. In the schools, students were either instructed in the old morality or crammed with a morality suited to the average European. For an unfortunate people beset by the fierce appetites of life, this amounted to nothing more than vain, empty talk. When the recipients of this education saw society before their eyes, they would recall those lectures and burst out laughing. Or else they would feel that they had been made fools of. In Daisuke's case it was not just school; he had received the most rigorous and least functional education from his father. Thanks to this, he had at one time experienced acute anguish stemming from contradictions. Daisuke even felt bitter over it.
Natsume Sōseki (And Then)
Cognitive dissonance is often considered a failure of the human psyche. In fact, it is a vital asset. Had people been unable to hold contradictory beliefs and values, it would probably have been impossible to establish and maintain any human culture. If, say, a Christian really wants to understand the Muslims who attend that mosque down the street, he shouldn’t look for a pristine set of values that every Muslim holds dear.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
The human brain is not infallible. Memories and experiences can fall into discord, creating a cognitive dissonance that damages the mind with its painful sibilance. Most people can't even imagine that kind of emotional anguish. It leads to anger, and the kind of criminal activity that otherwise has been conquered by modern humanity. To those who suffer from it, there aren't enough psychotropic nanites in the world to quell their misery.
Neal Shusterman (Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2))
The supernatural worldview is causing a great number of otherwise intelligent people to cling to a collection of atavistic concepts that have not, and never will serve humanity in any ultimately beneficial way. Any benefits that spirituality ostensibly provides to its adherents, can be found equally in the worldview of philosophy and ethics, communities of other kinds, and so on. It's a myth that the only morality, hope, purpose and comfort to be found, resides only in the supernatural.
Kelli Jae Baeli (Supernatural Hypocrisy: The Cognitive Dissonance of a God Cosmology: Volume 3: Cosmology of the Bible)
Writer Brigid Brophy exposes [their motives] with great precision: "Whenever people say 'We mustn't be sentimental,' you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add 'We must be realistic,' they mean they are going to make money out of it. These slogans have a long history. After being used to justify slave traders, ruthless industrialists, and contractors who had found that the most economically 'realistic' method of cleaning a chimney was to force a small child to climb it, they have now been passed on, like an heirloom, to the factory farmers. 'We mustn't be sentimental' tries to persuade us that factory farming isn't, in fact, cruel. It implies that the whole problem had been invented by our sloppy imaginations.
Peter Cox (You Don't Need Meat)
Messing with people's lives is quite honestly a lot of fun, but it's completely unacceptable for me to be on the receiving end like this. Why can't I decide how to live my own life? Isn't my existence as an individual the least I should be able to control?
Carlo Zen (幼女戦記 (1) Deus lo vult)
If tensions, conflicts and irresolvable dilemmas are the spice of every culture, a human being who belongs to any particular culture must hold contradictory beliefs and be riven by incompatible values. It’s such an essential feature of any culture that it even has a name: cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is often considered a failure of the human psyche. In fact, it is a vital asset. Had people been unable to hold contradictory beliefs and values, it would probably have been impossible to establish and maintain any human culture.
Yuval Noah Harari
I don't know if what I'm seeing are worms, or where they come from, or what they might be if they're not worms, or whether I want them to be worms or not, or what I have to believe about this woman if they aren't worms, or about the world or human bodies or this disease if they are.
Leslie Jamison (The Empathy Exams)
This is our recurring temptation—to live within our camp’s caves, taking turns both as the shadow-puppeteers and the audience. We chant our camp’s mantras repeatedly so they continue reverberating in our skulls. When we stay entrenched within our belief-camps, we create the illusion of secure reality by reinforcing each other’s presuppositions and paradigms. We choose specific watering holes of information and evidence, and we influence each other in interpreting that data in accordance with the conclusions we desire. Our camps reinforce our existing cognitive biases, making cheating all the more common and easy.
Daniel Jones (Shadow Gods)
Most of us do not like not being able to see what others see or make sense of something new. We do not like it when things do not come together and fit nicely for us. That is why most popular movies have Hollywood endings. The public prefers a tidy finale. And we especially do not like it when things are contradictory, because then it is much harder to reconcile them (this is particularly true for Westerners). This sense of confusion triggers in a us a feeling of noxious anxiety. It generates tension. So we feel compelled to reduce it, solve it, complete it, reconcile it, make it make sense. And when we do solve these puzzles, there's relief. It feels good. We REALLY like it when things come together. What I am describing is a very basic human psychological process, captured by the second Gestalt principle. It is what we call the 'press for coherence.' It has been called many different things in psychology: consonance, need for closure, congruity, harmony, need for meaning, the consistency principle. At its core it is the drive to reduce the tension, disorientation, and dissonance that come from complexity, incoherence, and contradiction. In the 1930s, Bluma Zeigarnik, a student of Lewin's in Berlin, designed a famous study to test the impact of this idea of tension and coherence. Lewin had noticed that waiters in his local cafe seemed to have better recollections of unpaid orders than of those already settled. A lab study was run to examine this phenomenon, and it showed that people tend to remember uncompleted tasks, like half-finished math or word problems, better than completed tasks. This is because the unfinished task triggers a feeling of tension, which gets associated with the task and keeps it lingering in our minds. The completed problems are, well, complete, so we forget them and move on. They later called this the 'Zeigarnik effect,' and it has influenced the study of many things, from advertising campaigns to coping with the suicide of loved ones to dysphoric rumination of past conflicts.
Peter T. Coleman (The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts)
So, if one were to restrict dietary fats, then one must increase dietary carbohydrates and vice versa. In the developed world, these carbohydrates all tend to be highly refined. Low Fat = High Carbohydrate This dilemma created significant cognitive dissonance. Refined carbohydrates could not simultaneously be both good (because they are low in fat) and bad (because they are fattening). The solution adopted by most nutrition experts was to suggest that carbohydrates were no longer fattening. Instead, calories were fattening. Without evidence or historical precedent, it was arbitrarily decided that excess calories caused weight gain, not specific foods. Fat, as the dietary villain, was now deemed fattening—a previously unknown concept. The Calories-In/Calories-Out model began to displace the prevailing “fattening carbohydrates” model.
Jason Fung (The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss (Why Intermittent Fasting Is the Key to Controlling Your Weight) (The Code Series Book 1))
One of the paradoxes about demagoguery is that it is simultaneously shameless and obsessed with honor. Shaming them about being internally inconsistent, incapable of reasonable defenses, citing sources that actually contradict what they say - that puts front and center the cognitive dissonance between their shamelessness and their obsession with honor. None of these strategies work with people who are deep into conspiracy theories, nor with bots, nor with people paid to argue, but, at least in a public forum, pointing out what is happening can get some other people to walk away from demagoguery. Notice that I'm not saying you will thereby persuade them they are wrong. After all, they might not be. You might be wrong. You might both be wrong. You might both be somewhat right. You're trying to persuade them to engage in deliberation, and that means you have to be willing to engage in it, too.
Patricia Roberts-Miller (Demagoguery and Democracy)
Anyone who commits a crime, misrepresents the facts, or tells a lie may put himself in a situation that forces him to deal with cognitive dissonance. Generally, the person is well aware that doing those things is wrong, and therefore bad. Yet he likely doesn’t think of himself as a wrongdoer, or a bad person, so he’s forced to reconcile these conflicting beliefs. In an interrogation situation, the monologue serves as a means of aiding that reconciliation in a way that’s conducive to a confession, because it relieves the person of the mental discomfort that’s caused by the dissonance. The monologue is meant to prevent the person from focusing on the ramifications of the wrongdoing by keeping him in short-term thinking mode. We help him alleviate the pain he’s feeling by giving him a remedy: a convincing argument, strengthened by rationalization, minimization, and socialization, that resolves the conflict. The resolution allows him to acknowledge the bad act, without having to accept the premise that he’s a bad person.
Philip Houston (Get the Truth: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Persuade Anyone to Tell All)
What about patriotism? Is it permissible for a Christian to be patriotic? Yes and no. It depends on what is meant by patriotism. If by patriotism we mean a benign pride of place that encourages civic duty and responsible citizenship, then patriotism poses no conflict with Christian baptismal identity. But if by patriotism we mean religious devotion to nationalism at the expense of the wellbeing of other nations; if we mean a willingness to kill others (even other Christians) in the name of national allegiance; if we mean an uncritical support of political policies without regard to their justice, then patriotism is a repudiation of Christian baptismal identity. It is extraordinarily naive for a Christian to rule out categorically the possibility of any conflict between their national identity and their baptismal identity. But it’s precisely this kind of naiveté that is on display every time a church flies an American flag above the so-called Christian flag. Or perhaps it’s a bit of unintended truth-telling. Flags are powerful symbols that have the capacity to evoke strong emotions—think of the passion connected with protests involving flag burning. In the world of symbol, flags are among the most revered signs. So when a church flies the American flag above the Christian flag, what is the message being communicated? How can it be anything other than that all allegiances—including allegiance to Christ—must be subordinate to a supreme national allegiance? This is what Caiaphas admitted when he confessed to Pilate, “We have no king but Caesar.”[8] When the American flag is placed in supremacy over all other flags—including a flag intended to represent Christian faith—aren’t we saying our faith is subordinate to our patriotism? Is there any other interpretation? And if you’re inclined to argue that I’m making too much out of the mere arrangement of flags on a church lawn, try reversing them and see what happens! For the “America First” Christian it would create too much cognitive dissonance to actually admit that their loyalty to Christ is penultimate, trumped by their primary allegiance to America, but there are plenty of moments when the truth seeps out.
Brian Zahnd (Postcards from Babylon: The Church In American Exile)
Sometimes I speak to various regional banks, the ones that are not afraid of bitcoin. They tell me things like 80 percent of our population is a hundred miles from the nearest bank branch and we can’t serve them. In one case, they said a hundred miles by canoe. I’ll let you guess which country that was. Yet, even in the remotest places on Earth, now there is a cell-phone tower. Even in the poorest places on Earth, we often see a little solar panel on a little hut that feeds a Nokia 1000 phone, the most produced device in the history of manufacturing, billions of them have shipped. We can turn every one of those into, not a bank account, but a bank. Two weeks ago, President Obama at South by Southwest did a presentation and he talked about our privacy. He said, ”If we can’t unlock the phones, that means that everyone has a Swiss bank account in their pocket." That is not entirely accurate. I don’t have a Swiss bank account in my pocket. I have a Swiss bank, with the ability to generate 2 billion addresses off a single seed and use a different address for every transaction. That bank is completely encrypted, so even if you do unlock the phone, I still have access to my bank. That represents the cognitive dissonance between the powers of centralized secrecy and the power of privacy as a human right that we now have within our grasp. If you think this is going to be easy or that it’s going to be without struggle, you’re very mistaken.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos (The Internet of Money)
It is critical to recognize that we live in an increasingly complex world - biologically, socially, politically, technologically, you name it - that holds many inherent contradictions. In the middle of this complex world are we humans, who have a natural tendency to seek coherence in what we see, feel, think, and do. When we experience conflict, this tendency intensifies. Conflict is essentially a contradiction, an incompatibility, oppositely directed forces, and a difference that triggers tension. When we encounter conflict, within the field of forces that constitute it, the natural human tendency is to reduce that tension by seeking coherence through simplification. Research shows that this tendency toward simplification becomes even more intensified when we are under stress, threat, time constraints, fatigue, and various other conditions all absolutely typical of conflict. So what is the big idea? It is NOT that coherence is bad and complexity is good. Coherence seeking is simply a necessary and functional process that helps us interpret and respond to our world efficiently and (hopefully) effectively. And complexity in extremes is a nightmare - think of Mogadishu, Somalia, in the 1990s or the financial crisis of 2009 or Times Square during rush hour on a Friday afternoon. On the other hand, too much coherence can be just as pathological: for example, the collapse of the nuances and contradictions inherent in any conflict situation into simple 'us versus them' terms, or a deep commitment to a rigid understanding of conflicts based on past sentiments and obsolete information. Either extreme - overwhelming complexity or oversimplified coherence - is problematic. But in difficult, long-term conflicts, the tide pulls fiercely toward simplification of complex realities. This is what we must content with.
Peter T. Coleman (The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts)
I see an actress smoking a cigarette in an old Fred McMurray movie. She’s clever and beautiful and manipulative. I feel envy. I suddenly wish I smoked cigarettes and was as clever and beautiful and manipulative as she. I want to be that way at the restaurants I visit, as I’m walking to my car, with certain friends who might understand. The actress has played her part well; she’s made me want to emulate her base desires if only for a while. Does that make me impressionable, a fool, or someone who will recognize the deepest secrets of her heart? I fight hard to stay young—to keep the lines from further etching my face and hands and breasts, presumably to trick the world into believing I am young. I’m an actress playing a part. I’m afraid to tell the truth. I fear losing those younger or becoming those older. In the presence of youth, a sort of unseen age-osmosis occurs within me. The years drop away and I don’t want to leave. It’s utterly selfish but I don’t care. After all, I’m no older than they—I’ve just been so longer. I was nineteen only yesterday and they don’t retire nineteen-year-old actresses.
Chila Woychik (On Being a Rat and Other Observations)