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Cognitive dissonance as a staple of modern culture


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When was the last time that you had an argument with someone? Did either you or the other party end up changing stances by the end? Probably not. More than likely, this is what happened instead:

1. You introduced stance A.

2. They introduced stance B.

3. You provided a fairly sturdy argument for stance A.

4. They provided a fairly transparent argument for stance B -- even if, on the surface, it appeared to have some solidity to it due to its use of platitudes and memorized, regurgitated phrases.

5. The both of you went back and forth for a while, neither budging. Despite their stance being obviously flawed, you couldn't find a way to really hit them over the head and wake them up to this fact.

6. Finally, you introduced a poignant, concise meme which crushed the opposing argument directly and explicitly. The absurdity of the other party's argument was subsequently quite out in the open.

7. The other party replied with "You're starting to frustrate me. Why do you have to overanalyze everything? Can't we talk about something nice for once?"

8. The argument ended abruptly with no resolution and the prospect of such growing vanishingly small. The other party then appeared uncomfortable and confused.

What has just been described, I hypothesize, is the result of terrible parenting. The other party participating in the argument realized, in some recess of their consciousness, that your logic was sound, but another, more biologically beneficial part of their mind interceded.

What happened? Well, during childhood, your conversational partner had probably participated in similar conversations that went something like this:

"Dad, why can't we see god?"

"I don't know, son. That's just the way it is."

"But how can we know he's real if we can't see him?"

"He's testing us. It'll all make sense when you get to heaven. You'll be rewarded for waiting so long!"

"But... how do you know that?"

"Look, he's just real, okay? What's with these questions all of a sudden? I'm trying to watch the news. Why don't you go outside and play ball with the kid next door?"

Upon encountering the problematic "foreign object" within a logic chain, kids are programmed to switch routines and do something personally rewarding or pleasurable. Because our society is relatively affluent, everything from happy meals to high tech video games is almost always a few seconds away from the grasp of children, so there is zero incentive to do "the right thing" when immediate self-satisfaction can so easily be substituted in its place -- with no consequences or scoldings.

The mentality birthed during this period of development apparently carries over into adulthood, where it germinates until it becomes a contributor to the monstrosity that is our current situation.

This is absolutely unacceptable for adult humans in this day and age. We cannot continue to act like children.

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1 hour ago, BushMaster said:

This is absolutely unacceptable for adult humans in this day and age. We cannot continue to act like children.

It'd probably be better if we acted more like children. As a general rule, they're much less disingenuous. 

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17 minutes ago, iNow said:

It'd probably be better if we acted more like children. As a general rule, they're much less disingenuous. 

Children aren't as nice/innocent as they are chalked up to be, they only act/seem peaceful due to their mental and physical weakness when in actuality children are much more malicious and all around disgusting than adults.

most children tend to bullies or just completely rude.

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10 minutes ago, BushMaster said:

Children aren't as nice/innocent as they are chalked up to be, they only act/seem peaceful due to their mental and physical weakness when in actuality children are much more malicious and all around disgusting than adults.

most children tend to bullies or just completely rude.

I don't know where you live, my experience is very much to the contrary: what you see is what you get.

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16 minutes ago, BushMaster said:

Children aren't as nice/innocent as they are chalked up to be, they only act/seem peaceful due to their mental and physical weakness when in actuality children are much more malicious and all around disgusting than adults.

most children tend to bullies or just completely rude.

What are parents for? Are we not supposed to talk to our kids?...tell them right from wrong?...explain to them why?...Reward and/or punish them if they do wrong?

Of course even with the traditional two gendered parent family, acting according to the decency and societal teachings and standards of one's society, a kid could still turn out to be a real little arsehole. 

By the same token, a child from a broken family, that has suffered and been tormented/bullied, may turn out to be a potential savour of the human race.  

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1 hour ago, BushMaster said:

Children aren't as nice/innocent as they are chalked up to be, they only act/seem peaceful due to their mental and physical weakness when in actuality children are much more malicious and all around disgusting than adults.

most children tend to bullies or just completely rude.

This is General Philosophy, not generalization philosophy. An assertion like this needs some evidence to back it up, and not simple anecdote. Citation from a peer-reviewed study would be great.

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1 hour ago, Phi for All said:

This is General Philosophy, not generalization philosophy. An assertion like this needs some evidence to back it up, and not simple anecdote. Citation from a peer-reviewed study would be great.

No it wouldn't!

 

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6 hours ago, BushMaster said:

When was the last time that you had an argument with someone? Did either you or the other party end up changing stances by the end?

Yesterday, and we both did. But then, we are long practiced in communicating with each other, and we both have a vested interest in minimizing conflict. 

People argue over a great many things. Some are matters of personal importance, like the allocation of resources or balance of power or relative autonomy - whether in a family, a sport team or a nation makes no difference. Some matters are academic. These carry a great deal of weight in a professional forum, but very little around an office water-cooler. In every kind of argument, in every setting, there are risks and aspirations, costs and rewards. n each kind of argument, the motivation of the participants is determined by a set of variables that may not be obvious to an onlooker - and cer5tainly cannot be summed up in a template for "typical" argument.

 

6 hours ago, BushMaster said:

Upon encountering the problematic "foreign object" within a logic chain, kids are programmed to switch routines and do something personally rewarding or pleasurable. Because our society is relatively affluent, everything from happy meals to high tech video games is almost always a few seconds away from the grasp of children, so there is zero incentive to do "the right thing" when immediate self-satisfaction can so easily be substituted in its place -- with no consequences or scoldings.

This may sometimes be true. But in real life, children are far more likely to be censored for asking uncomfortable questions than reward for ceasing to ask them. There are plenty of scoldings, and stern looks and shocked expressions, hisses and hushes and penance.

What might be "the right thing" for a 12-year-old with a library card who wants to know where his dead grandmother went, when some adults are telling him she's in heaven with God, and some are saying she's watching over him as a guardian angel, and some say she's probably a ghost and some say she's still alive in your memories. Not the same thing is necessarily appropriate for a three-year-old wants to know where her gramomma went. 

6 hours ago, BushMaster said:

What has just been described, I hypothesize, is the result of terrible parenting.

The word and concept "parenting" hasn't been around very long, even in affluent western societies. In most of the world, it doesn't exist. People just have kids, try to keep them alive and teach them whatever the parents consider necessary for them to fit into the society where they will have to stay alive on their own. That, of course, includes the lies, delusions and irrational beliefs of their culture, as well as the moral and economic values to which the parents subscribe.

6 hours ago, BushMaster said:

This is absolutely unacceptable for adult humans in this day and age.

Then reject it.

I should add: There is the kernel of a serious discussion in there. If, for example, you asked what purpose it serves in particular kinds of situation for one party to deflect logical argument with distraction, intimidation, blandishment or non sequitur. Or raised the inquiry to the societal level and cited political consequences.  

But that wouldn't be philosophy; it would be sociology or psychology.

Edited by Peterkin
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On 1/11/2022 at 10:40 PM, Phi for All said:

This is General Philosophy, not generalization philosophy. An assertion like this needs some evidence to back it up, and not simple anecdote. Citation from a peer-reviewed study would be great.

it goes both ways, prove to me children are amazing and great first.

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11 hours ago, BushMaster said:

it goes both ways, prove to me children are amazing and great first.

It does NOT go both ways. You made an extraordinary claim ("children are much more malicious and all around disgusting than adults") that needs extraordinary support. Or you could do the intellectually honest thing and concede that perhaps you over-generalized in your attempts to build your argument.

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