I wrote this, at 3 am the day it was due, for my philosophy seminar.
Irrationality and Cognitive Dissonance
Tension, regardless the kind, tends to be unfavorable. Whether it were to exist between two nations, two people, or even within oneself; tension rarely sparks a sense of rationality or peace. That being said, there is a certain type of tension one may hold within oneself. A disharmony between their held perceptions and beliefs, a cognitive dissonance. A dreadful feeling of anxiety or worry; a discomfort brought about by the inconsistency of beliefs.
Consistency is natural. It is within our human nature to maintain an internal harmony. For instance, our body naturally functions at an equilibrium, maintaining homeostasis by instinctive nature. If we happen to deviate from that set point, our bodies inherently respond. Similarly, as do we. When our cognitive consistency is disrupted, we by nature respond to maintain that sense of desired stability. We often do this in the form of rationalization, in other words we make excuses or justifications for this inconsistency. Yet, another strategy is to change one belief or behavior to be consistent with the other. Often, others merely accept this inconsistency and deal with the resulting discomfort.
In fact, dissonance between beliefs is present within my own life. Particularly with regards to my perception that I am a healthy individual. This perception of myself conflicts with my current behaviors. One example of this dissonance specifically concerns the idea of sleep. I am completely aware that loss of sleep is detrimental to my health. Regardless of that fact, I continue to stay up late. This inconsistency of perception and beliefs disrupts that desired balance within me. In an attempt to reduce this dissonance, I tend to justify my conflicting behaviors. I rationalize this behavior with new cognitions. I justify my actions by saying that it is in fact necessary for me to lose sleep. I tell myself that if I were to go to sleep at an earlier time, it would be a waste. I would not be able to finish assignments or study for my exams. By adding this new notion I attempt to calm the tension and rid myself of any cognitive dissonance.
To avoid cognitive dissonance, one can simply avoid participating in behaviors that conflict with their personal beliefs. While that is something that is much simpler said than done, it is likely the first step to be taken when attempting to calm this uncomfortable tension. Another way one can avoid dissonance pertaining to conflicting beliefs, is to avoid the actual source of the dissonance. Simply, avoid or ignore the source of any discomfort or anxiety. For my situation, I can choose to avoid listening to anyone that tells me what I am doing is not healthy. I can ignore any conflicting beliefs I may be presented with, in order to avoid the cognitive dissonance that follows. Would that be healthy, or any better of a decision in itself? Maybe not. Though it may not be rational, it is one way to avoid mental discomfort. Perhaps the best way to deal with an irrationality is to be irrational.
Well my loves, what do you think? I have to say, I absolutely adored my philosophy class. Yes it’s true that I rarely showed up, and yes it had absolutely nothing to do with my intended major; but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love it. I absolutely loved the way the professor would ramble on about topics, that (honestly speaking) most people would find pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
That being said, I love hearing people speak about things, I don’t care what they’re talking about I just love hearing them talk. Talk isn’t even the right word to put it… rather ramble, now that’s even better. And it’s the best when it’s genuine… you can tell easily when it is… they’ll have that spark in their eye, doll-eyed look. You’ll hear it in the tone of their voice, the speed of their words.
I just love it all.
So anyway, do let me know what you think of my essay, after all I love hearing people talk. Just don’t be too harsh…