01 September 2006

Armchair analysis




I remember it well from college. Consonance Dissonance. It explained so much back then. It's like opening up a window into the human mind.

The problem is my CRS kicked in and I remembered it incorrectly. It's not consonance dissonance - that's from my music theory class.

A little search set me straight. Ah yes, Cognitive Dissonance

Do your own Yahoo or Google search and you'll see lots of good stuff written about this. You reaaly should familiarize yourself with this to see how powerfully it could come into play in your though processes. The example I remember so clearly from college is someone justifying a bad purchase of an expensive car because so much effort went into it. In Torah terms, it's the "Cheetoneus is M'orer the Pneemius".

Anyhow, I think that CD explains the actions of so many frum people who are reluctant to recognize new truths. It's hard and painful. The mind just does not let it happen.

I noticed something very interesting. The single most ardent set of fighters to Godol Hador on his blog were the Baalei Teshuva. They, more than anyone else, have this need/desire to justify their behavior. It is simply inconceivable to them that others, mainly FFB's could have came to such a different conclusion than the one's they reached. BT's give up so much. They sacrifice their former lives, families, relationship, etc, that IT MUST BE TRUE. They, much more than other Jews, must keep up the fight. And, I don't blame them, I would probably do the same. SZ mentioned to me that he likens it to "sunk cost fallacy". Whatever you may call it, it's an improtant factor.

Now, I need to be brutally honest with myself, does CD play a role in my disbelief? I thought about this for very long and I can unequivocally state that it does not.
If anything, the effort that I still put into OJ these many past years, should have set my thoughts back onto the Derech Hatorah. I'm truly sad to say that it has not.

Life would have been so much simpler.

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    31 Comments:

    At September 01, 2006 1:48 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    >BT's give up so much. They sacrifice their former lives, families, relationship, etc, that IT MUST BE TRUE.

    In my case this is just false.

    I never sacrificed anything. I only gained.

    My friends who have become baaltshuva also have not sacrificed much. They were all unhappy with the way their lives were going and realized the reason why is because they were lacking in something. For some people it was the social network, for some people it was structure, for me, I felt I was lacking a purpose, and Judaism did not become my purpose but was the key to helping me discover my purpose.

     
    At September 01, 2006 2:04 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    IC, you haven't given up Kosher food and other freedoms? You may feel the sacrifice is worth but to say there is no sacrifice? If I'd be in your shows I'd say L'fum Tsaara Agra and I deserve schar. Bmokom Shebaalei Tshuva Omdim Tsaddikim...

    If you reaaly feel that way, what you're doing is acknowleding that there's a STRONG emotional reason to become a BT in the first place, after all it was a win-win, so why not?. And that certainly taints the decision making process to become a BT in the first place.

     
    At September 01, 2006 4:17 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    >IC, you haven't given up Kosher food and other freedoms? You may feel the sacrifice is worth but to say there is no sacrifice? If I'd be in your shows I'd say L'fum Tsaara Agra and I deserve schar. Bmokom Shebaalei Tshuva Omdim Tsaddikim...

    If you reaaly feel that way, what you're doing is acknowleding that there's a STRONG emotional reason to become a BT in the first place, after all it was a win-win, so why not?. And that certainly taints the decision making process to become a BT in the first place.

    Ofcourse there is a STRONG emotional reason. Do you love your wife because of some STRONG RATIONAL reason? Animals don't have emotions, they are 100% instict, logic order. They are 100% utilitarian. Humans are not, we have emotions. We learn to overcome our emotions when they get in the way, but when they are helping us, we Use them, we don't discard them.

     
    At September 01, 2006 4:18 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
    At September 01, 2006 4:20 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    > consonance dissonance

    You were right the first time, its consonance dissonance.

    The idea is that two sounds(or ideas) that you would think sound awfull together, are infact the inner beauty of the work. Its when you have the consonance dissonance that you can get truly amazing pieces, that hurt your ears on purpose to give you images you otherwise can't get.

    similalry Torah and Talmud is full of contradictions that have to be resolved. Only from that toil of resolving what is wrong can we get to what is right.

    We only have amazing breakthroughs in medicine because we have terrible deseases.

     
    At September 01, 2006 4:28 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    IC, once you admit there's emotion involved, it can;t really be rational.


    For eg. Sau Reuvein loves his wife. Fine, maybe it was wrong to marry her. OK. That's life. He knows he married for love, possibly overlooking some bad.

    It's not like that with religion. You should opt in, because and only because it's true. not for the Potato Kugel.

     
    At September 01, 2006 4:32 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > You were right the first time, its consonance dissonance.

    I would like to believe that but look up consoancen disonance and you only find music. Hit my hyperlink to Cignitive Disonance and you get Psychology.

    maybe when I went to school it was called something else. I don't know. But the point is the same. Call it what you want. Our emotions and pre-concieved ideas play an important role in accepting and adopting new beliefs.

     
    At September 01, 2006 4:39 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    >I would like to believe that but look up consoancen disonance and you only find music.

    SIGH, you missed my point entirely! Yes you only get music... nevermind.


    If you think the most important aspect of your life you should ignore half of your person, then no wonder you are confused.

    After 120 years you go up to heavan and say , "Hi Gd, was lots of fun, but my entire life was bogged down by all these emotion stuff.. could you have just made me like the rest of the animals?"

     
    At September 01, 2006 4:47 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Ic, please re-read your last comment. I don't follow. If you're trying to say, you should not ignore emtions, I'm agreeing with you. Normally life should be a balance. But you don't decide to invest in a real estate property because of your emotions. A wife is different. But acceptance of religion *should* be logic. and the logic just isn't there. My heart tells me OJ is the greatest thing in the world (especially compared to Islam, I'm reading about that now, it's horrible). But my logic tells me it's (probably) not true.

     
    At September 01, 2006 5:29 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > SIGH, you missed my point entirely! Yes you only get music... nevermind.



    OK, now I get it. I was just going a little to fast.

    I don't know if that's true that there are nice pieces of music that have CD. It's grating to the ears. All Suspended chords must resolve and can't stay in dissonance. Unfortunately, too much of Torah explains is still in dissonance. They don't still well. They're gekvetched.

     
    At September 01, 2006 5:52 PM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    As someone who's been around animals all my life, I can attest that animals definitely have emotions. They aren't all instinct, either (which is actually a separate issue).

     
    At September 01, 2006 6:22 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    Emotions is the wrong word. I should just use "non-rational"

    Non-rationality is one reason why computers can't do simple things like learn or evolve. (though they are getting close using non linear logic)

    Well, in my music class we had to listen to a bunch of operas were were made on the ideal of dissodance. Some people can tolerate it, some can't.

    What I am saying is that you can't come to truth with logic alone. It just doesn't get you anywhere. If you want a relationship with Gd you are going to have to access your non-rational relationship creating abilities.

     
    At September 01, 2006 6:57 PM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    I actually read somewhere that emotion may be just what is needed for a computer to become intelligent. You'll laugh when you hear where I read this: a book called The Science of Star Wars. Nevertheless, it's a point worth considering. Part of what distinguishes human reasoning from that of a computer is that computers approach everything in a purely linear, systematic way, whereas we rely heavily on intuition and guesswork--trial and error--when we're solving problems. Trial and error involves imagination, definitely a non-rational faculty. Is it any wonder that Einstein reportedly said "Imagination is more important than knowledge"? So I guess I'm going to agree with you that you can't come to the truth through logic alone.

     
    At September 02, 2006 10:42 PM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

    I think it can go for some ultra orthodox people as well. They lead such a fanatical lifestyle and sacrifice so much for it that must be true. Can't speak for them or BT's though... perhaps that what IC is arguing about ultimately. That anyone dare generalize. I think its a good theory.

     
    At September 02, 2006 11:13 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > What I am saying is that you can't come to truth with logic alone.
    IJ,

    True, Emotion and insight can bring you to new truths. But these new truths should be verifiable. A may decide based on an emotion or some eureka moment that XYZ may be true. But then you need logic to verify that.



    Frumgirl, absolutly right. The more right wing, you are the more CD there is, especially when approaching science.

     
    At September 02, 2006 11:25 PM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    True, Emotion and insight can bring you to new truths. But these new truths should be verifiable.

    I'm not sure you'd really want to follow that criterion to its ultimate conclusions. A lot of things that almost everyone considers important are not verifiable.

     
    At September 02, 2006 11:41 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > I'm not sure you'd really want to follow that criterion to its ultimate conclusions. A lot of things that almost everyone considers important are not verifiable

    OK, true. Change that from Verifiable to makes sense and is rational. Which is a problem I have with Evolution, I don't fully grasp it yet, how life came about. Once it started, I think I know enough now about Genetics as to how it could have evolved to other forms. DNA, Double helix, ropying , rna, Ribosoem, fascinating stuff. But life itself?

    I haven't read enough about it.

    But my problems don't really stem from evolution. God doesn't prove OJ.

     
    At September 02, 2006 11:51 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    I am reading some really fasinating stuff right now.

    If you have the artscroll Talmud of Chagigah, I suggest reading the begining of Chapter 2. Especially the stuff Reish Lakish talks about. The notes to the Gemorah in the artscroll I think apply to this topic. Maybe they don't. Actually, as I think about it, they don't, but it was such good reading that I don't want to delete this coment :P

    I can agree that for many people CD is an issue. Its not just an issue for relgious people though. Its an issue for anybody who loves thier family, but doesn't want to go to the family birthday party. I was also reading Hallachic mind today (to try to find an old quote) and he has a few pages about how philosophy in general is trying to answer the question of CD.

    CD, I think, is part of the human experience, and is not something that is limited to "the big questions"

     
    At September 03, 2006 6:37 AM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    OK, true. Change that from Verifiable to makes sense and is rational.

    But you really thing everything we do should be rational? Is love rational?

    Which is a problem I have with Evolution, I don't fully grasp it yet, how life came about.

    Most scientists would agree that how life came about is still a big mystery.

    But my problems don't really stem from evolution. God doesn't prove OJ.

    No, it certainly does not. But once you've established that God exists, that we were brought here for a purpose, how do you propose that we, as human beings, should attempt to reach for this God, to connect with the infinite? (That's not a rhetorical question; I'm curious to know how you would answer.)

     
    At September 03, 2006 10:03 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    KP,
    > But you really thing everything we do should be rational? Is love rational?

    Love doesn't need to be rational. We don't say love is true. Love can be like potato Kugel, it makes us feel good. The argument, is does emtion come into play in deciding what's true. I may use emotion, inspiration and insight to suspect that the Earth revolves around the sun, but then you need to determine the truth behind that. And that must be done rationally.


    > No, it certainly does not. But once you've established that God exists.

    We haven't established it, we suspect it.

    > that we were brought here for a purpose,

    Even if we establish God, we don't know why if we're here for a purpose. Maybe yes maybe no.

    > how do you propose that we, as human beings, should attempt to reach for this God

    I don't know. Maybe with Seti?
    Maybe with Love - nice! Like Jesus? (God forbid). Maybe with kindness? Maybe our purpose is hedonism (unlikely). Maybe our purpose is discover the mind of God, the study of natural sciences - I like that one. It becomes difficult to imagine that our purpose is to shake a Lulov 7 times back and forth (but not on Shabbos). Or to debate about Palpilin. or to "serve" God. (that reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode - To serve man.)

    > to connect with the infinite?
    Thats an appeal to emotion.


    How would you answer it?

     
    At September 03, 2006 11:52 AM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    Love doesn't need to be rational. We don't say love is true.

    I never meant to suggest that love is "true" (whatever that would mean), only that it is a guide to some of the things we believe, even when we lack proof.

    I may use emotion, inspiration and insight to suspect that the Earth revolves around the sun, but then you need to determine the truth behind that. And that must be done rationally.

    I totally agree. But not everything in life can be reached through reason. We can choose to take an agnostic position for such matters, but I think that would leave out some things of importance.

    We haven't established it, we suspect it.

    Semantics. I was talking about belief in God from the standpoint of your personal outlook, not in an objective sense.

    Even if we establish God, we don't know why if we're here for a purpose.

    To me, saying that God created life is equivalent to saying that life was created for a purpose. It's hard to define God without descending into anthropomorphism, but "purpose" is probably as close as we can get to understanding what it means.

    How would you answer it?

    I frankly don't believe there is just one way for all people to reach God. Religions differ in the details, but I think they have more in common than is often acknowledged. It's rather like the story of the blind men and the elephant. What I think Judaism has to offer is a connection with the past--with our ancestors. Every time we daven, every ritual we do, every holiday we celebrate, we are continuing traditions that stretch back hundreds or thousands of years by people who attempted to connect with God. It is the force of our tradition, one maintained for so long into our past, which makes it so powerful.

    Anyway, whatever path you choose, I encourage you to keep up the search, using your intellect to the fullest, but also letting your heart guide you where rational inquiry ends.

     
    At September 03, 2006 1:57 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    >Love doesn't need to be rational. We don't say love is true. Love can be like potato Kugel, it makes us feel good.

    Ok, I don't think you are thinking honestly here.

    You said you are married, you are telling me that you always do things for your wife because they feel good?

    I am taught over and over again, and experience it often, that love often means sacrifice. If I wanted to just "feel good" I could hire a hooker, abuse people's trust in me, and move from one glorious sensation to the next. We call it "True love", meaning that its somethign more than just "what makes me feel good." You often have to sacrifice for this love, if the love was fake, if you didn't have proof for the love, then many people would say, that you should not put out the effort for the other person.

    Many people do this, and thier relationships end in failures. Its only when you put an undying faith in the other person that you are able to get through the hard times and keep your relationship together.

     
    At September 03, 2006 3:52 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > Ok, I don't think you are thinking honestly here.

    > You said you are married, you are telling me that you always do things for your wife because they feel good?

    IC,

    Of course not, it's getting taken out of context.
    Once again. You have an emotion. call it love, call it insight, etc. After you experience that emotion, you use your logic before you take action.
    At least I would hope so.

    So lets say your love is powerful but on your mind you know it's not a great idea. You may still decide to marry but that's ok. You know you are marrying for love. There is no "truth" necessary.

    but if you choose your religious practice because of an emotion, well you may be wrong. OK, you may lead a fulffiled life, but that does not mean you served God, if you choose wrongly.

     
    At September 03, 2006 3:58 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    KP,
    > never meant to suggest that love is "true" (whatever that would mean), only that it is a guide to some of the things we believe, even when we lack proof.


    Should read - a guide to some of the things we "do". Not believe.
    > We can choose to take an agnostic position for such matters, but I think that would leave out some things of importance.

    True, we would not experience it as fully.


    > To me, saying that God created life is equivalent to saying that life was created for a purpose. It's hard to define God without descending into anthropomorphism, but "purpose" is probably as close as we can get to understanding what it means.


    I would like to think it's so, but we don't really know.

    How would you answer it?


    > Anyway, whatever path you choose, I encourage you to keep up the search, using your intellect to the fullest, but also letting your heart guide you where rational inquiry ends.

    Now THAT makes sense. At least to me.

     
    At September 03, 2006 5:22 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    >but if you choose your religious practice because of an emotion, well you may be wrong. OK, you may lead a fulffiled life, but that does not mean you served God, if you choose wrongly.

    You need to explain this one.

    What does it mean that one chooses wrongly?

     
    At September 03, 2006 5:40 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > What does it mean that one chooses wrongly?
    If a Jew overwhelemed by a love of Christianity 20 AD, and worhipped that, we say he worshipped wrongly. Ot how about Jewish Karaites? or Essenes? The point is emotions do not dictate the truth. You and I may follow our emotions, and we may even be happy and fulfilled doing it. Look at all the killings Muslims do in the name of the Koran.


    Change of topic. Wow, almost a year to go for yor wedding; why such a long delay? Someone waiting to finish school?

     
    At September 03, 2006 6:28 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    The question with the early Christian or muslim is not an issue of belief, it is an issue of action.

    The question is, what if you are -acting- wrongly.

    And then you have to ask about the source of your view of what is acting right, vs what is acting wrong.

    I don't believe in idols, however it is still Asur for me to bow down to one, even if its because I will be killed for it. My actual belief is almost irrelevant to my actions.

    If you are not a jew, its very difficult to have the "wrong beliefs"

     
    At September 03, 2006 6:29 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    >Change of topic. Wow, almost a year to go for yor wedding; why such a long delay? Someone waiting to finish school?

    I don't think its appropiate to get married if I can't support my wife and myself. The housing market in California is not cheap.

     
    At September 04, 2006 9:23 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >I don't think its appropiate to get married if I can't support my wife and myself. The housing market in California is not cheap.

    That's not the Chareidi viewpoint, but it is wise. Of course most Chareidm have tons of parental help.

     
    At September 05, 2006 1:54 AM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    >Of course most Chareidm have tons of parental help.

    Which makes one wonder about those opinions that chareidim don't work and don't add anything to society.

    My parents can't afford to support me on that level, so its not really a matter of hashkafah.

     
    At September 05, 2006 10:16 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > Which makes one wonder about those opinions that chareidim don't work and don't add anything to society.

    IC,

    Good point. I think the prior generation of American Chareidim did not eschew work as the current gen does. (look at the exponential Growth of LY and you'll realize things are different now than 25 years ago). There is anectodal talk (and I have no idea if it's true or not) that there are 400 single girls in Lakewood that can't get married because their parents, who are still learning, (or who started working late and are behind the eight ball) can't afford to perpuate the cycle of learning.

     

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