Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cognitive dissonance (Blog 4)

Cognitive dissonance is defined as a mental state where two or more contradictory ideas are held to be true. (Jasper 1) For example, people who enjoy smoking, but are also aware that smoking is unhealthy. This state is uncomfortable, and causes most people to rationalize the situation in such a way where it is acceptable for the contradiction to occur, (Jasper 1) such as when the hypothetical smoker claims smoking keeps them from stressing out, or gaining weight. This rationalization occurs all the time, and I believe that it is part of the reason that people are able to go to war so easily.

Most people believe that war, and the horrors that accompany it, are a bad thing, so why do we fight? The usual responses are freedom, self-defense, or the protection of others. These are all considered "good things," which blur the line on whether or not war is good or bad, and cause confusion as to whether or not fighting should occur. These "good reasons" are not only the cause of cognitive dissonance, they also tend to be the justification people use. After all, if we're protecting others, or freeing the oppressed, then war is appropriate, right?
Well, I have to disagree, no matter how great the prize, at the end of the day, the amount of blood spilled will outweigh it. I feel it's time for people to get their heads out of the sand, and realize that you can justify anything if you try hard enough, and doing so causes more harm than good.

Jasper, John D., Mary Prothero, and Stephen D. Christman. “I’m Not Sexist!!! Cognitive
Dissonance and the Differing Cries of Mixed- and Strong- Handers.” Personality and
Individual Differences 47.4 (2009): 268-72. Print

Lakoff, George. "Metaphor ane War, Again." 18 Mar. 2003. 28 July 2009
-"Metaphor and War: The Metaphor System Used to Justify War in the Gulf." Presentation.
University of California at Berkeley. Berkely, California. 30 Jan. 1991. Rpt in. Viet Nam
Generation Journal and Newsletter. 28 July 2009

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