Cognitive Dissonance and the War on Critical Thinking

Cognitive dissonance is more than just inconsistency in your stated beliefs (i.e. “but her emails” vs. “Pence’s personal AOL account”). It’s a breakdown of critical thinking that allows you to believe in contradictory concepts without resolving them.

Or, to put it simply, it’s a lack of questions. Or maybe just a lack of answers you’re willing to accept.

If you’re afraid to accept facts that make you uncomfortable, though, it never makes you stronger. In fact, it makes you easier to manipulate. Once you stop questioning yourself (and, more importantly, questioning your leaders), you’ve outsourced your brain to someone else’s agenda. Who are you allowing to do your thinking for you? A pundit? A pastor? A lover? A chemical?

If there’s a war on critical thinking, who’s your enemy? (It might actually be yourself.)

Alternative Facts

President #45’s attacks on the media are just machine gun fire across the trenches in this war. But I cling to hope that it will eventually backfire. After all, he’s effectively encouraging more questions. True, it’s likely that his drones will simply flock to sources that confirm their biases. They’ll keep buying the spin even as his alternative facts contradict themselves.

But it is my hope that some of them, even just one, will actually take his advice: Question the media. Question the sources. Do some fact-checking and educate yourself. With any luck, they may even accept “classic” facts when they find them.

Concept art for Cognitive Dissonance
Concept art for Cognitive Dissonance

An Album of Questions

The new album I’m working on, Cognitive Dissonance, is mostly about bringing up the questions that will free us. Questions that have helped free me, at least. Some of them are painful, sure, but we can never let our critical thinking atrophy. Once we stop asking questions, we’ve lost.

And then we’re at the mercy of those who want to do the thinking for us.