Many years ago it was postulated that a child brought up in a home in which his parents strongly upheld a particular world view verbally (while doing the opposite) could cause a kind of schizophrenia in their child. This is a dangerous form or COGNITIVE DISSONANCE.
The small child is totally dependent and looks to his parents for all needs emotionally as well as physically. He needs to feel that he has pleased them to feel right about himself as a “good person”, but also to feel more assured that (in pleasing them) they will not reject or desert him.
Since the child could not resolve this agonizing conflict, it was postulated that his psychy became so divided between the two poles that he withdrew altogether into a psychological world of hisown making so that he could finally feel good about himself, undisturbed by unbearable realities outside.
I recently watched a talk show in which it was postulated that COGNITIVE DISSONANCE can be expanded to include a child raised in a devout Christian home, but educated in our public school system with its liberal agenda. Certainly this is not as damaging as cognitive dissonance within hisown family, but it can hold the potential for emotional anguish.
Does the child buck the powers that be in the school system, becoming labeled as a “trouble-maker” and punished, or does he maintain a wall of silence? Worse, still, does he begin to question the values and beliefs of his parents, eventually rejecting parents and their beliefs in order to maintain academic success with teachers, social success with his peers, and the important feeling of being a “good” and “tolerant” person? If so, he has become a child of the state, not his parents.
Many children presumably spend more quality time in school than with parents (even if parents are physically present with them longer). The gentleman interviewed cautioned parents to ask their children questions regularly about their school experience – what they are being taught and what they feel about it. Action should be taken if the results of such questions expose danger.
On the adult level, cognitive dissonance, is also an important issue. If we believe scripture in which homosexuality, adultery, fornication, bigamy, etc. are condemned, do we dare to actually say so in a “politically correct” society which labels such beliefs as archaic, bigotted, “redneck”, anti-intellectual, and dangerous “hate crimes”?
Awash with liberal propaganda, do we begin to question the love, righteousnes and spiritual authority of God, Himself, as the source of such commandments and principals (as well as the principals themselves)? Do we begin to see God as loving some and hating others “for no fault of theirown” .
Are we left guilt-ridden if we disobey God’s word, yet guilt-ridden if we stand-up for it as well (feeling we have harmed someone)? This is a dangerous COGNITIVE DISSONANCE that evidently gnaws at many well-meaning people. – It reminds me of that message to the families and friends of alcoholics seen on television years ago, “You can see what it’s doing to them, but can you see what it’s doing to you?”
The media does not really need for us to be brainwashed by them as long as it can cow us all into a wall of silence. If we become paralyzed by cognitive dissonance, we become slaves to the opposition. It must be recalled that the Soviet Union once sent those who dissented with their political ideology to mental institutions (not just prisons or execution).
If an oppressive society or government (even in this country) cannot yet imprison or execute DISSENTERS, can it drive us to such distraction that we are automatically locked-out (or locked-up within ourselves)?