Opposites detract

We can learn a lot from this Opinion page. For instance, we often hear that society is polarized, but have you noticed how individuals can also appear polarized and conflicted within themselves when expressing opinions contradicting their professed values?

Local examples of this cognitive dissonance include an avowed Christian who trolls letter readers with science disinformation and logical fallacies, claiming this behavior is consistent with his religion. We also have mechanical engineers who don’t believe in filtration (masks), seditionists who think they are patriots, and Q-Anons who believe nothing and everything simultaneously (Q=Quantum?).

Understanding cognitive dissonance helps explain why individuals become so agitated and confused. Such understanding also clarifies crucial questions. For instance: Can we expect individuals to agree with each other when they can’t agree with themselves? And who is responsible for maintaining personal integrity?

For the record, I did not choose the cognitive dissonance examples to embarrass particular individuals.

On the contrary, I chose these examples because they remind us to look inwards and examine our own thinking.

Twain was right when he said: “Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”

Simon Smith


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