Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance

This is about overcoming obsolete dichotomies. Cognitive dissonance is the result of a paradox the receiver was unaware of. It discontinues her consequential reasoning. In other words: it stops her in her tracks, catches her off guard, and ideally makes her re-evaluate the basic assumptions of her belief. A paradox alone is not enough. Often, dogma deals with paradox frighteningly well, and seems to be able to counter most rational criticism. The dogmatic mind marches on in his hollow track, and won’t stop before those tracks are rendered entirely inaccessible by the rubble of her imploded dogma. And dogmas can only implode when their inconsistencies are stronger than their bearer’s stomach.

Perhaps the task of philosophers today is to cunningly construct cognitive dissonances and deliver them to dangerous dogmatists.

Let me show what I mean with a few examples. I have fabricated these and can’t say anything about how well they do what they are designed to do. If you have tried one of those out on a dogmatic individual, please let me know if it was effective.

Military spending
“Defence spending is what makes our country safe. The enemy’s country is much safer. Look how high their defence spending is.”

“The unemployed should not be lazy but work hard – on the revolution that ends all exploitation”

Religious extremism
“Abide by the Shariah all your life. And then, when you blow yourself up in a shopping mall full of infidels, you spill your halal gut all over the place. Fragments of your flesh remain on blasphemous satire magazines and hard core porn. Your blood collects in the same puddle as that of the pork eaters. Your remains will be buried in a pile of sacrilegious rumble. But your soul remains pure, because it is not affected by what happens in this world. So why bother?”

“People should stop arguing about the ethics of vegan or vegetarian diets. Why not let the animals decide if they want to be eaten.”

Artificial Intelligence
“It’s a good thing that our jobs are taken over by rational machines. we make them members of the union and they will demand rational wages.”

Intelligent Designer
“Of course there is an intelligent designer. He designed the scientific method so that we can keep fooling ourselves with probabilities. That is obviously how He intended us to be.”