Cognitive dissonance physical symptoms cause a deterioration of our ability to think clearly. When we are exposed to the source which causes this thought distortion, it can blind your mind.
Reconciling Opposing Points of View
Religions are the primary source of conflict in our modern world. It starts with an internal conflict. If you hold biased opinions, the mind battles to reconcile difference. This conflict causes physical pain.
This internal conflict limits our ability to think clearly. The mind struggles to protect its sacred ground of beliefs. You can experience physical distress when you are unable resolve this conflict. It doesn’t matter if these beliefs are accurate or not. To resolve a conflict of ideas, we must be clear-headed and open-minded. Cognitive Dissonance theory is the name for this condition.
When someone encounters opposing points of view, it creates tension. To overcome this stress, you must either accept or reject the new data. If you accept the new data, the tension is abated. However, if you refuse to accept legitimate facts this condition persists as a threat to your reality. The longer you remain in this state of tension, the more susceptible you are to suggestion and manipulation.
How Cognitive Dissonance Can Blind Your Mind
What are the sources of this condition? This condition results exposure to self-hypnosis and group hypnosis manipulation techniques. These techniques are used to program people to reject any facts that conflict with their beliefs. This way, they escape the dilemma and discomfort of the conflict. If people don’t connect their symptoms with this dilemma, it can last for years.
We see how cognitive dissonance can spread through populations. We see it happen during times of war, famine, riots, or any significant social discord. It’s your mind telling you that your belief system isn’t working for you or your society anymore.
The Healthy Response to New Data
A healthy mindset is an asset. It means you are open-minded and absent any harmful prejudice and bias. An open-minded person will reconcile any conflicts with their worldview rather quickly. And they do it without the discomfort of cognitive dissonance. How do they do it? Simple. They consider rather than reject new data. They learn to validate the facts and use common sense to analyze any opposing points of view.
Rational thinking helps a person change their minds when they encounter new data. It’s a valuable skill set to have in a rapidly changing world. Changing your mind when you confront new data is critical to your overall health and wellness.
An Unhealthy Response to New Data
An unhealthy mindset is not an asset. It is harmful to you and everyone in your circle of influence. An unhealthy mind is built on harmful sectarian bias and prejudice. Since they cannot reconcile opposing views, they try to avoid conflict so that they avoid the negative symptoms. People from highly religious backgrounds are most likely to use this strategy. This is dangerous for them and anyone in their social circle.
We see this play out when people think their freedom is infringed upon when asked to wear masks during the pandemic. They confuse public health with their rights. Placing others in jeopardy because of ignorance and negligence is not selfish; it is a public health risk. Yet if you ask these same people if they wear a seat belt they say yes. Or, if they use the toilet instead of defecating on the sidewalk, they will say, of course, I do that.
Avoiding opposing points of view is a learned strategy of confusing choice with prejudice, enabling them to cloak bias and prejudice. But now, you can see through this sham. After all, a religious experience is not a measure of truth. Nor should it be the basis to violate proven health and safety measures.
Flexible Religious Paradigms
Not all religions are inflexible. Some do not have strict boundaries on thinking. For example, Taoism and Paganism have very few constraints, if any. With these systems, you are free to explore and develop your path.
People with these or Atheistic backgrounds are least likely to suffer from cognitive dissonance physical symptoms. They are more likely to change their minds when they confront opposing viewpoints. It doesn’t mean they all agree on the same things.
Inflexible Religious Paradigms
Why do they do this? It is a way of controlling your thinking. The more entrenched you become in the belief system, the more susceptible you are to extremist ideologies. Opposing points of view are the enemy. Keeping you in a highly emotional state makes you a target.
Here, cognitive dissonance physical symptoms are warning sign. It’s your mind telling you to resolve the conflict between facts and fiction. If you don’t resolve the tension, it will blind your mind.
Families are very important in the religious indoctrination process of children. Parents pass down lifestyle, religious, political, and personal values. These institutions influence many cultures, even if you are not a follower.
People with deeply held religious views live in this stressful mental condition. They become used to friction and conflict. Thus, they are more likely to act with violence to protect their beliefs. It doesn’t matter if the new information is accurate. What matters is that they maintain their boundaries. Otherwise, it causes headaches and other physical pain. It’s why this mental condition is called a religious headache.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory and the Narcissist
On the surface, these two mental conditions don’t seem similar. A Narcissist has an unhealthy and admiration of themselves and their abilities. They are self-absorbed and often abuse their relationships. Here’s the connection. The cognitive distortions caused by religion exacerbate narcissism.
People living for lengthy periods under the strain of this mental disorder will find ways to substantiate their views. It doesn’t matter how much evidence there is against their beliefs. The need to believe and belong to a particular group will cause a disintegration of their personality to unhealthy coping strategies. It’s how cognitive dissonance and the Narcissist are hand-in-hand. If you find one, you are likely to find the other. Both blind your mind in equal proportion.
Mental health runs on a continuum, from healthy and vibrant to unhealthy. Healthy people exhibit the traits of kindness and compassion. At the opposite end are those who exhibit unhealthy traits like greed and selfishness. Farther down the unhealthy continuum are those with extreme abnormal traits associated with anti-social personality disorders like narcissism. (2)
Cognitive Dissonance Physical Symptoms
When you find yourself in this situation, it forces us to choose between the ideas causing the conflict. It enables us to shed outdated belief systems that separate us and cause conflict. It causes us to reject any new idea in favor of the existing paradigm’s beliefs.
Unfortunately, people will defend their current belief system even if it is rampant with error and inconsistencies. They do this because belief systems trigger the fight, flight, or freeze reaction. It creates an underlying current of anxiety. In this state, it becomes easy to engage these primitive emotional responses.
“The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more, but I want nothing more.” ― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever
Cognitive dissonance physical symptoms are real. Religious leaders know about them, and how use them to their advantage. It is how they maintain control over their members.
1) Enhance Your Critical Thinking Ability
The quality of our thinking results in our ability to discern facts from fiction. Beliefs are preconceived points of view based on arguments. An argument is a selling tool. It acts as a filter to justify our beliefs. It doesn’t matter if what we believe is accurate or correct. As long as it aligns with our worldview, we must be right. The study of logic and rational thinking will help you spot the techniques which blind your mind, that way you can avoid them.
Everyone uses arguments that have something which supports their conclusions and their worldview. If the foundation of your worldview is facts, then your decisions will be based on facts. If mythology and superstition are the basis of your premises, then they will determine your conclusions.
“Because of propaganda induced cognitive dissonance, most people hate themselves and don’t even know it.” ― Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life
So, it’s vital to learn about the essential tools to increase your critical thinking abilities. Here are some links to the basics of logical reasoning and two other companion tools, spotting logical fallacies and the truth-seekers’ axioms. Study and apply the principles in your research.
2) Conducting Independent Research
Don’t give in and ignore the new data. Find the courage to face the fact that what you may believe is incorrect. Then conduct your research. Use sources from outside the paradigm you are researching. In some cultures, this is hard to do. So, use the internet and get outside of the cultural narrative. Learn to question cultural folklore. Use tools like comparative analysis to investigate the concepts of your own beliefs.
3) Eliminate and Minimize Negative Programming
It’s imperative to reduce or remove all sources of programming that project and reinforce inaccurate and harmful programming. The primary source for this kind of programming is religious indoctrination. It uses many forms of media, including masquerading as news programming; Fox News is an example of programming many countries label as propaganda.
If we learn how cognitive dissonance physical symptoms are a warning sign of a rigid belief system, we can do something about it. It’s a wake-up call. This conflict can force us to align with the new truth, or it can cause us to resort to other, less healthy coping strategies.
(1) Abrahamic Religions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions
(2) DSM: https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm