Cognitive Dissonance Part Two, or The Debilitating Disease “Social Conscience”

A friend read my latest entry here and asked the inevitable question..”what the hell does that mean?”
Being perhaps too lazy to look it up, he was confused. The phrase means: an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two differing ideas simultaneously.

Aren’t we all there? To a degree? I mean we look at the world today(I won’t attempt here to describe the horrors of the world as it has become) and shake our heads…then go to work, eat, sleep…take care of our kids and generally just try to get along. We don’t like what we see and fewer and fewer events that happen around us inspire anything more than disgust…and an uneasy feeling of disparity. Do some of us think “Well, yeah…things generally suck, and perhaps the way I’m living is contributing to it”? But there you are. As Kurt Vonnegut used to say: “Hi-Ho”.

I was born with a terminal affliction…a social conscience. I envy those without this congenital malady. No one in my family had it. I don’t think it’s hereditary. The only thing that seems to temporarily ease the pain of this condition is hammering on these little keys. I wish I didn’t have to. I wish I could just go about my business…if I had any…blissfully unaware of the world around me…not caring that I see them unloading pods from the back of a truck downtown on a sunny Saturday morning.

When most people will tsk..tsk such goings on, my disease compels me to run through the streets screaming “DON’T YOU PEOPLE SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING?”

Anyway…getting back to the confusing phrase. I like the words “uncomfortable feeling”. An apt description. It seems those of us with a S/C don’t EVER seem to be comfortable with the dichotomy of opposing feelings we hold. We, in our perhaps warped perceptions, feel that NO one should. And there is the rub. As an alcoholic doesn’t understand why everyone doesn’t feel moved to drink themselves into a coma, those with a S/C don’t understand how the rest of the world can live with themselves while injustice and atrocity abound.

But I am going to change. I’m going on the wagon. I am going to try to understand how those around me live more “comfortably” with their cognitive dissonance, and do my best to emulate them.

Just go to sleep she says…it doesn’t hurt.

Photo of Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter In “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”


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