Thursday, March 27, 2008

On Cognitive Dissonance

When I find myself in the throes of incipient cognitive dissonance, has happened so often over these last almost 30 years, I have a mantra I invoke for help in resolving the rampant, apparent contradictions.
I ask: "Given what I know, under what circumstances would these phenomena or events which seem so senseless to me now make sense?"

Nothing's off-limits. Nothing's too crazy.

There is always some set of imaginable circumstances under which the senseless resolves itself into 'reason.'

It can take quite a while. One must be patient.

I'll give an example.

I was in 'education' for quite a while--15 years, mas o menos.

Much of what I saw made no sense to me, especially in light of all the claims that were made about its importance, its downright centrality in the discourse of prolonging the American experiment. So much of 'schooling' seems to fly in the face of the very proclamations educators make about their business.

But, as I studied these matters, it gradually became clearer and clearer to me that the proclamations about the importance of education were a smoke-screen behind which there was a machinery explicitly designed to ensure that as few as possible children escaped the socio-economic niches into which, and for which, they were born. From what the school esteems the most highly, one may observe that schools exist primarily to provide evidence, retroactively, to justify decisions made about kids even before the first time they step through the school-house doors.

Then it all made sense: the incessant testing, the rote delivery, the video games, all of it.

For another example, I have trod on the verge of cognitive dissonance many hundreds of times during the Reagan/Bush years (inclusive of Clinton's terms). I was puzzled almost into paralysis by the impression I was getting, that the leaders of my government seemed to be doing everything they could to screw things up.

And this didn't make any sense to me. These folks were supposed to be the representatives of the People, whom the Constitution calls "We." Whatever else might be said of them, it didn't seem they were acting in the interests of anybody I knew.

My last ex-wife usta say of me I was a quick study but a slow learner. It took me pretty nearly til the summer of 2003, the ICORP in Iraq, to finally formulate the logic of the events which had so bothered me. It was this: For most of the past almost 40 years, it has been the express policy of the political Parties in the USofA to damage, undermine, sabotage, marginalize, cripple, and any other way to disable any public institution or instrument by which the People could reasonably seek redress against the encroachment of the CorpoRatocracy on the rights of citizens or their power to govern themselves.

Once I had that schema, it all made sense. And I think that is prob'ly the only schema under which it makes even the most tenuous sense: Their job has been to do the most damage they could do in the time allotted to 'em. Corporate interests don't expire, don't die. They have plenty of time.

1 comment:

Dirk Gently said...

Corporate interests don't expire, don't die. They have plenty of time.

i often say (quoting a dr who episode title) that it's a Long Game. as you know by now, it looks to me like the repubs are intentionally losing this election while trying to supress any democratic enthusiasm that might bring progressive candidates to office locally or in congress. it doesn't really matter which of the two psuedo-liberal centrist scapegoats is put in place to take the blame and discourage the sheeple from trying THAT again. and it isn't really the "repubs" (i assume mccain actually wants to win) but the money/power behind both halves of the machine.

then again, what do i know? i'm just a tinfoil hatted dfh.