Cognitive disonence at work...?

by Aussie Oz 6 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    I was watching a documentary the other week on a notorious crime boss from the 50s into the 80s.

    One part of the story was from his son (by his wife) and the other from his daughter (by his mistress).

    What struck me was that the daughter was totally unable to see that her 'daddy' was some sort of criminal. No matter what evidence there was from media, courts and witnesses to the cruel deeds of this man.

    Her half brother was simply lying for some reasons only known to him, some hidden agenda she did not know.

    Because she had only ever seen and experienced his loving side, it was not possible for her to consider anything else.

    This got me thinking:

    If a JW has only ever seen and experienced loving elders, guidance and a really happy JW upbringing, only known the 'good side' (and i am sure there are quite a few that have had charmed lives) Then it will impossible for them to even conceive the notion that there is a 'bad side'.

    On the flip side, If a JW has only experienced hitler elders, abuse and seen only double standards and lies, then they too will be unable to see the 'good side' for want of a better word. Not that i am sure there IS a 'good side' but it is the only words i could think of to explain what i mean... if you know what i mean!

    What think you?

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    My kids were brought up in small town congregations with very social people who regularly organised congregation events. They have often heard people from city congs. describe their congs. as 'cold' and they were very happy to join the small town congregations.

    During that time there have been several suicides, and suicide attempts, by young and old, but there is always an excuse for that.

    Fortunately, my kids are having a hard time seeing me as 'the bad guy' as I don't fit WT descriptions. They also have sympathy for me as I was brought up by a 'fundy' JW if there is such a thing, and can see for themselves that my father is unreasonable, overbearing and bullying. I have often described him as a 'Watchtower bully' and 'Jehovah's terrorist' .

    The thing is........... None of them have ever disputed that. They have even agreed with it.

    My family tries to blame my father's arrogance for my bad experiences with their cult, but.......... Dad was just being a good JW and played it by the book. And I have pointed that out. Several times, and they have never got back to me and showed me he was a naughty boy according to their cult's rules.

    I can sleep at night



  • donny

    You gave a very good example. I think cognitive dissonance exists in many areas of our lives. I not only see this with the JW's, but I have seen it in some of my friends who are Catholic. One in particular just cannot bring herself to believe that there are predatory priests. She excuses it in her mind by stating that it is all part of a Protestant or Islamic conspiracy as no Catholic could ever do such a thing. Human nature sometimes has a hard time connecting such opposite extremes existing in a particular scenario.

  • teel
    Human nature sometimes has a hard time connecting such opposite extremes existing in a particular scenario.

    It all comes from the preconceived notion that humans are rational beings. Well, we aren't really as much as we'd like to think we are. Don't confuse humans with vulcans.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    Cognitive dissonance is almost always reduced in the manner that requires the LEAST CHANGE in our current worldview. The only wayto reduce dissonance in the manner that leaves us with the CORRECT (or at least a more balanced) worldview is to STOP FEARING change and ACCEPT the possibility of being wrong.

    When you fear change and refuse to accept the possibility of being wrong you will continue to reduce dissonance in the direction that maintains the status quo.

  • exwhyzee

    When the fantasy in our head, doesn' match the reality of the world around us...cognitive disonence is a means to make sense of things until we are capable of handeling the truth. Until one reaches a place where one can handle reality, it is utterly abhorrant to think that ones core beliefs could be inacurate or false and even otherwise rational people will believe just about anything in order to make reality match the fantasy they want to believe.

  • scotinsw

    I think you're right. It's probably the reason why my parents don't try and force JWism on me.

    They have both experienced the coldness and unloving nature of elders and congregations and whilst they are still true believers (50 years plus each) they appreciate that because of what I've experienced it made me leave and that I have no plans to return.

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