Tonka Bay, MN
As individuals and Nations self-righteousness is the bane of human relationships, interpersonal, international and interfaith. Self-righteousness blocks our capacity for self-criticism, destroys humility, and undermines the sense of oneness that should bind us all.
We become self-righteous through our deeply rooted senses of the insecurities of not understanding the world around us. When as an individual or Nation State, we don't comprehend or choose not to understand, this process produces conflict within our mind and psyche. The clinical term is called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance occurs, when an element of knowledge or enlightened understanding conflicts with our previously developed and patterned cognitions.
We then are at conflict or dissonance with those newly discovered elements of knowledge. The theory of cognitive dissonance holds that cognitions serve as a driving force compelling the mind to acquire or invent new thoughts or beliefs, so as to reduce the amount of dissonance (conflict) between cognitions. People and Nations thus, will seek to find or fabricate information that is consonant with their own views, rather than dissonant views, in order to reduce the amount of cognitive dissonance.
The republicans' recent vote to defund the Affordable Care Act, and now their heinous tax cuts for the rich are stark examples of cognitive dissonance, and out- right lies. When they stated that the reason they voted to destroy the health care act, it was to lower health care costs., this was their attempt to fabricate information more consonant to their warped and purchased viewpoint. This is same position they take, when they support the NRA lobby and its craven policies of not allowing gun control, facilitating mass killings. Now, they lie by professing that the tax legislation the senate just passed will bring tax relief for the middle class and stimulate the economy. Another out-right lie and more cognitive dissonance, so as to ensure the largess coming to them from the Koch brothers and their gang of thieves.
There are five clinically established methods of reducing this dissonance or conflict: 1. Changing one of the dissonant elements. 2. Adding consonant conditions. 3. Trivialization, or decreasing the importance of the dissonant cognitive element. 4. Emotional expression. 5. Distancing, like trivialization, it reduces dissonance by weakening the attachment to one of the dissonant conditions.
Our country has experienced great mental conflict in recent years, because we have seen our omniscient view of the world disrupted since 9/11 and the ensuing events of world history. The knowledge of what to think, what to believe, and not to believe, and how to react, is of vital importance, at this perilous point in history.
Cognitive dissonance is a powerful force in attitude formation. Research in dissonance theory may someday lend credence to the philosophical idea that errors in human thinking are the result of cognitive dissonance, willful or unconscious.
As Einstein said; "Everything has changed in the world but the way we think."
It is far beyond the time that we demand that our representatives act not with arrogant self-righteousness, but with moral obligation. Now!
The penalty good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. ---Plato
Tonka Bay, Minnesota