« I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.»
S.G. Tallentyre, de son vrai nom Eveyln Beatrice Hall, « The Friends of Voltaire », 1906 – An apocryphal quote attributed to Voltaire, editor’s note.
Hello, young Padawan,
I hope your vacation has been relaxing because here we are starting with a bang.
Before talking about the topic of the day which is close to my heart in these particular times, I will have to make a little aside about a world in which we all live, which helps us as much as it does not serve us well. Let’s go.
Welcome to the world of cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance is everywhere, we all do it every day. From promise yourself to have a healthy lifestyle but party the following Saturday night by telling yourself that it’s only once a week, to eating meat while saying you love animals, from telling yourself that you will go back to the gym and have a feeling of guilt if you don’t go, but conversely feel a great sense of pride when you go back, to do not pick up your dog’s poo because you forgot your poop bags but not go back afterward to pick it up because after all, it was only once, it doesn’t matter. Cognitive dissonance is all these little arrangements that we make with ourselves so that we never go out of our mold of values. This little twist of our brain to reassure us in our beliefs, in our actions, in our attitude, is everywhere, in all everyday events. But it is also present on a large scale.
However, as a little comfort to say “it is only once” or a small shame not to have gone to the gym on Tuesday, it is easy to recover from it, but to realize that you do not live not in the world you think you live in, that’s something else. Cognitive dissonance then becomes opaque, legion, an armor of bad faith built all around you, and anyone who tries to get us out of it must automatically be rejected, excluded, banished.
I myself had the experience with one of my relatives when relating a simple statistic, he aggressively asked me if I was a doctor. As if you needed a diploma to be able to reed simple statistical data at a 5th-grade level. Kind of like someone who believes the earth is flat will not want to listen to you if you are not a doctor of astronomy. This is how far cognitive dissonance can go. As if listening to a different opinion made us take the risk of being convinced, and changing our minds made us lose our dignity. However, it is not, on the contrary: as much closed-mindedness is a sign of stupidity, opening your eyes to a false belief is a sign of intelligence.
The opinion of others, a danger?
The danger is not in those who express themselves freely according to their own research and analysis at the risk of speaking big nonsense, because it is everyone’s responsibility to verify facts and believe them or not. The danger results in someone who thinks that only experts have the right to speak publicly. Because this is where the unique thought resides, the confinement of opinion by those who have the right to think, or even worse: the dictatorship.
Some say, “Yes, but experts are, as their name suggests, experts.” Experts or people who, under the guise of the X or Y diploma, have the power to influence the popular masses? I hope for you that they are honest, these experts on whom you rely; but what if it is not the case? What if we lived in a world where some people are all about money whatever the consequences, would you think the same? A hint: we all have a clue.
Trust our brains
We all have a brain, we are all able to provide reflection in the face of arguments. To varying degrees of intensity, indeed, but we all are capable of it. Thinking that it is necessary to prohibit expressing oneself to a certain category of people is dangerous, and with what right? Who? And why?
I will even go further: everyone should have the right to say everything, even terrible things because it is only this way, by confronting the best and the worst, that we can form a true opinion that we deeply understand, a real free will, a real conscience and finally a real line of argument.
At all times there have been weirdos, and a handful of cuckoos to believe in. Did it overthrow our nations for all that? Never. So leave in peace the guy who believes in the flat earth, in the supremacy of the round zucchini or in “Skippy the great guru”, if that makes him happy; at best he doesn’t do anything wrong after all, at worst there are laws, we are protected.
The risk we are currently taking, by trying to force all citizens to think the same way, is to create lots of small groups of parallel thoughts, which will unite in contempt, ugliness, or worse, hatred. Do I give you a hint of what I’m referring to? I think it is not necessary.
It is not for the people to set themselves up as a court, because yes, indeed, you have to be an expert, that is trained not to involve your personal feelings in cases otherwise it will be a mess. Judge or policeman, only these types of professions are able to stop, judge, and punish. Remember that someone who disagrees with you is not against you, he is fair to himself. So there is no point in being upset, to be offended, or to want to play the police, thank god you do not have the power to do so. Life is not all white or all black, but rather multiple shades of gray. Fifty shades of Gray, lol. So have a tea, a whip (sorry), and ask yourself why it is so unbearable for you that someone doesn’t think like you?
The contradiction is always good
Having a person in front of us to bring us a contradiction is always good; to convince us, to confirm us, or to sometimes challenge us, because that’s how we evolve. If you listen, watch and read things that always go your way, you will fall asleep on your old precepts without ever evolving intellectually, and become an old jerk.
Afterward, if you notice that a very large part of the population does not agree with what you think, perhaps it is time to start a debate or to open up to what they have to say. Because after all, if a guy with a lot of hair has real arguments, maybe it’s time to listen to him, even if you don’t like his hairstyle. Right?
Arguments in the media is a sign of a country’s good health, of freedom. The lack of hot debate, in contrast, is a very bad sign. Censorship prevents any discussion because they are afraid the indoctrinated ones should change sides. This is what we are witnessing today.
Peace is obtained in contradiction
Dictatorship is a unique thought. If you still doubt it, open some history books and see what happened before the tragedies. It is always a very bad sign when all the media take the same line of thought, without any debate. Very bad sign. This is what we are going through today and we are at the beginning of another tragedy if we do not wake up.
Today, anyone who thinks otherwise than their neighbor is called a “negationist,” a “conspirator,” which is exactly what happened before WWII. Everyone took everything to heart, some indoctrinated by the unique thought, others judged as fools by the firsts ones, unable to open a debate with the firsts who systematically judged the behavior of the second with insulting adjectives, stopping all conversations.
So what do we do?
Let’s do our own research. Starting by checking the information that seems to make the most sense to us. Let us multiply the sources of information, always keeping in mind that each lead is to be checked. It is not because information goes in our direction that it is correct, it’s important to be wary and double-check them.
Listening to those who do not think like us, to educate us, to get us out of our comfort zone, even if it hurts our ears and it makes our eyes bleed, it sometimes comforts us in our values, can open us to another reflection, or help us understand what made this person come to this reflection.
Refuse to ban. Let’s shout out our voices anytime someone is prohibited from speaking. Even if it hurts beliefs, pride, ego. Because if we let it happen, small groups of parallel thought will form, as has happened many times in history, … and degenerate. Only freedom of expression is a guarantee of peace.
It’s up to us to arm ourselves against bullshit, it’s up to us not to be offended for everything and nothing, it’s up to us to work on our ego so as not to get upset with every word we read on the internet, it’s up to us to be responsible adults and not take everything personally as whimsical children. Let us forge a valiant knight’s mind. Let’s drag the basic jerk’s remarks onto our upbringing and emotional balance armor. Finally, don’t be upset because “Brenda” doesn’t think like you.
Let’s not take everything from feeling, let’s be pragmatic, let’s be factual, emotion should not enter into reflection or debate. Let’s be cool and concrete to exchange our ideas.
Let’s relearn the basics. Let’s take care of the way we speak, let’s expand our vocabulary because the more vocabulary we have, the less violence there will be. Insult is the last resort for the one who lacks vocabulary, just as a punch is for the one who lacks arguments.
Let’s beware of guilty, moralizing speeches because it is the first step towards dictatorship. Any argument going towards a feeling of empathy, an emotion is a sign of manipulation, it is intellectual dishonesty, because only the concrete, the facts can objectively tip the scales one way or the other. Never forget that to point a finger at one person is to point three others at yourself. Whoever repeats a pre-constructed argument has not matured his thinking, he is not mature for the debate. Never forget our history, our basics, our logic, our common sense, pay attention to judgment. Who the hell are we to judge?
Long live peace, long live freedom, let people think whatever they want because after all, that is none of our business.
And yes, as always here on this blog, I call for the responsibility of everyone, because this is what is taken from us year after year, and this is what risks making us sink. The more the government has power, the more it dictates a collective line of conduct, the less we have personal responsibility, the more we are infantilized and this is the start of all tragedy.
I reassure you, next week, we are going to relax with a perfect little subject to be on top, to be back to school in great energy, suspense.
I leave the final word to Lamartine, and see you on Friday. « There is no man more complete than one who has traveled a lot, who has changed the shape of his thought and his life twenty times. ».