By Dr. Gary G. Kohls
Global Research, September 03, 2013
There is an epidemic of a psychological phenomenon called cognitive dissonance in the world today. Everybody is susceptible to the reality of cognitive dissonance in one degree or another, but, to many observers, it seems to be especially prevalent in average Americans today.
Cognitive dissonance refers to the psychological or emotional discomfort felt when one is confronted with new information or a new reality that contradicts one’s deeply held beliefs or belief systems. It seems especially common among people who have been victimized by TV commercials and other methods of brain-washing and propaganda. It is also true of cult membership that is led by a charismatic, deceptive leader or membership in some other authoritarian system, including punitive parenting and religious or political indoctrination.
When there is a confrontation of conflicting and mutually exclusive beliefs, intelligent, open-minded and thoughtful people are usually willing to change their minds by re-evaluating their prior stances, looking carefully and honestly at the new evidence, reassessing the credibility of both positions and then making a decision to adopt or reject the new information, depending on the evidence before them.
Close-minded, distracted, uninformed, ignorant, too-busy, addicted or intensely conservative people may not, for a variety of reasons, have the time, inclination, intelligence or political will to look at new evidence that might run contrary to their ingrained beliefs. Therefore they may unconsciously or reflexively reject the new information, even if the evidence is overwhelmingly and provably true.
Two good examples of avoidance of unwelcome truths (and the fear of cognitive dissonance) about atrocities committed during US wars of aggression are the corporate media’s total blackballing of these taboo subjects: veterans of the Vietnam War and the Afghanistan/Iraq wars coming home to testify about the war crimes they committed overseas. (See http://www.wintersoldier.com/; http://links.org.au/node/3343; and http://www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier)
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