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mrspotatohead
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27 Jun 2012, 6:39 pm

I just read a book about cognitive dissonance and how people lie to themselves to reduce dissonance... awesome book! But it made me realize that I don't resolve most cases of dissonance like others do. I often hold two contradictory ideas in my mind at the same time--for instance, I am stupid because I made a grammar error in my proposal abstract I submitted, but I am also smart because I only made one grammar error and realized I did so. But, man, am I stupid for making that error. But everybody makes an error now and then. But this was in my abstract. But others must have made errors in their abstracts.... and on and on and on...

Anyone else go through this awfulness?



Monkeybuttorama
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27 Jun 2012, 7:03 pm

I used to have that problem, I now just accept the reality of things, because the contradiction is too hard to resolve. In your example, my response would be "well, I made a mistake, but everyone makes mistakes now and then, there was only one, and that's not half bad, so I'm still pretty smart, and I'll try harder next time."

I abhor conflict ^_^


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mrspotatohead
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27 Jun 2012, 7:11 pm

Monkeybuttorama wrote:
I used to have that problem, I now just accept the reality of things, because the contradiction is too hard to resolve. In your example, my response would be "well, I made a mistake, but everyone makes mistakes now and then, there was only one, and that's not half bad, so I'm still pretty smart, and I'll try harder next time."

I abhor conflict ^_^


I think I have a problem with believing things... so, no matter what I tell myself, I can't believe it and can always think of an argument or the possibility of an argument. It's like I'm living the scientific method. There's never enough evidence for anything to ever be certain.



Monkeybuttorama
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27 Jun 2012, 7:18 pm

mrspotatohead wrote:
Monkeybuttorama wrote:
I used to have that problem, I now just accept the reality of things, because the contradiction is too hard to resolve. In your example, my response would be "well, I made a mistake, but everyone makes mistakes now and then, there was only one, and that's not half bad, so I'm still pretty smart, and I'll try harder next time."

I abhor conflict ^_^


I think I have a problem with believing things... so, no matter what I tell myself, I can't believe it and can always think of an argument or the possibility of an argument. It's like I'm living the scientific method. There's never enough evidence for anything to ever be certain.


Have you ever thought about documenting these sort of ideas/thoughts to see which ones tend to be "more accurate" or "more correct"? (along the scientific theory lines) Perhaps seeing it on paper would be beneficial? Like a chart of your gut reaction to a situation, the view you consider "more applicable"?



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29 Jun 2012, 7:45 am

Yes, I used to torture myself with the 2 points of view: one understanding and compassionate, the other harsh and unforgiving. Now that you mention it, I see that I don't do that anymore, or at least not to the point that it bothers me. I learned from other aspies to tell myself: "I did my own best, and that's what's most important." The 2 points of view are 2 ingrained attitudes: my own, self-compassionate, as one is naturally born, and the other my parents', unforgiving and scapegoating.

I guess in your example, the best would be to buy a notebook, head a page "paper writing tips", make a first entry: "have my abstracts always edited by someone if at all possible" and forget about it till next time you write an abstract.

Not everything you do in life has to be an exam of your worth as a human, your intelligence level, the level of kindness of your heart, etc..


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29 Jun 2012, 8:03 am

I'm never entirely sure how thinking that I am bad/stupid for something that doesn't mean that I am bad/stupid works. If I made a lot of spelling mistakes, I made a lot of spelling mistakes and that's what I'm thinking. If I make a mistake, I made a mistake - I don't think I'm stupid (because I don't see why making mistakes = "stupid"), I usually simply get angry that I got to sent more time on it then or that I missed a chance. But I l got to say things "oh, I made a mistake, I am sorry" or "oh, haha, that was stupid of me to do" or people start to be weirded out by me little by little.


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29 Jun 2012, 8:32 am

mrspotatohead wrote:
It's like I'm living the scientific method. There's never enough evidence for anything to ever be certain.


A great way to describe it! I feel that way, too - but I'm not bothered by it, because I've accepted that very, very few things can be determined with certainty. That doesn't stop you from going about your day unless you let it. I think scientifically, but that also means I say to myself "I have a high enough degree of confidence in this to treat it as true for all practical intents and purposes".

It reminds me of a time when Richard Dawkins was challenged about describing himself as "agnostic" at times and "atheist" at other times. Someone (religious) asked him: "does this mean you're not sure that God doesn't exist?" He said (paraphrasing): "of course I cannot be sure of it. I am agnostic as to the existence of God, just as I am agnostic as to the existence of the Easter Bunny, because I cannot prove he doesn't exist, either. However, for all practical purposes I'm sure that neither exists."

I think that's quite a practical way to live. If anything, I find it resolves a lot of cognitive dissonance. People who insist on certainty inevitably find that they can't have it, so they have to fool themselves - cognitive dissonance. People who accept the full complexity of reality don't have to.



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29 Jun 2012, 9:17 am

I was lucky to have a therapist a decade ago who taught me that the wording indicates which of the 2 "voices" is right and which is "scientifically" wrong. The one that words its message in a demeaning (instead of neutral) manner is the WRONG one, has the wrong evidence, because it has a hidden agenda to demean. So when I tell myself that I'm "stupid", "mean", "selfish", etc. - all demeaning messages - I tell myself "stop!" because I know I'm lying to myself.

As Murphy's Law says, the ONE spelling mistake in your report will only appear the moment your boss takes the paper from you and starts reading. Hehe


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29 Jun 2012, 11:10 am

The moment you decide that you were stupid to make the mistake or smart not to make more, you've closed your mind off from the material evidence that contradicts your assumption. People seem to do this all the time, to make sense of a confusing world by reductionism and simplification. It's probably necessary to some extent, so that you can make decisions at all, but it's also a source of madness, to assume a thing and fail to question it. I once read a book that said the only truly sane, logical view of any issue was one of suspended judgement. I try to do that but other people get angry and think I'm on the wrong side, when I'm not on the side at all, I'm on the fence where I belong.

I'm also quite influenced by the scientific method, which basically says "let's stick to what we know" and doesn't jump to conclusions like everybody else seems to. I wish politicians would do a bit of science, then maybe they wouldn't feel they're fooling me when they pretend to be decisive, which to my mind just means they're saying they know it all but really they've lost the plot.

I think the best thing is to use reductionism but to know when you're doing it and why. Saving time is about the only good reason I can think of.