This Year I Am Writing On Cognitive Dissonance…
Among the enchanting and diverse encounters I have had with the inhabitants of the Cafe Trottoir by the Romanian Atheneum, one day, a Romanian gentleman was so kind to tell us, the humans of the coffee shop, stories on the history and the becoming of beautiful România.
It all started with my saying that I am having trouble with casting my vote to a non-Romanian, because I am a Damascene Romanian hybrid. I know my father Mohamad, my grandpa Rushdi, mamaie Eugenia and tataie Gheorghe.
I expressed how difficult it has become for me when I have to choose a non-Romanian for România, when I, myself, am a hybrid Damascene Romanian.
You see, we, Damascenes, could never envisage being ruled by a foreigner, willingly. Occupation is one thing. Choosing our ruler is another. It’s a blood calling! As hotty hot as the Middle East might seem or as desert-like one might imagine the Arab Peninsula, I don’t see any foreign leader, over there. Alhamdulillah. The last thing that part of our world needed, if I may.
Having said that, the aforementioned gentleman told me that he understood me.
“Do you?” I asked him.
“Yes”, the gentleman replied. My heart was smiling already. “It is called Cognitive Dissonance,”he added.
The reason I am telling this short story is to kindly inform you: this year I am writing several posts on this term. I had no idea of it. However, I have embraced it, to the fullest. This is it! This is what has been the pain of my life in the past three decades.That is ever since I stepped out of the Garden of Roses.
But what is cognitive dissonance?
Let us indulge the notion and its definition:
According to Wikipedia, “in the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance occurs when a person holds contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values, and is typically experienced as psychological stress when they participate in an action that goes against one or more of them. According to this theory, when two actions or ideas are not psychologically consistent with each other, people do all in their power to change them until they become consistent. The discomfort is triggered by the person's belief clashing with new information perceived, wherein they try to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort.
What do I make of it or what have I made of it so far?
The stress to cope with a reality or realities that are so very opposite to mine that as hard as I have tried to squeeze my mind to understand — I can’t.
Does one have to be a hybrid like myself or to be of one nationality and get married to another nationality to experience this term, one would ask?
Does one have to bear two worlds (Damascus, Romania, Muslim-Christian-Love), as I have been told, to experience cognitive dissonance as I have? How many worlds does each of us “bear” irrespective of nationality?
And does one have to be a Christian to live in a Muslim world to experience it or vice-versa?
Does an educated experience cognitive dissonance amidst a crowd of uneducated persons?
Does an empath choke in the claws of cognitive dissonance when dealing with a narcissist?
Or does it suffice to be different, to stand out among the crowd to experience it, at all levels, in all layers?
Does a man of vision struggle with the cognitive dissonance of not being comprehended by their people? In earnest, were Mihai Eminescu - our National Poet, Nizar Qabbani - our Syrian Poet or the Prophetic poet and painter Khalil Gibran understood during their time?
I mean somebody must have told Nizar Qabbani: “With all the problems the Arab world is struggling, why would you write so many love poems and poems dedicated to Women?"
My frustration reaches peaks of agony trying to linger and comprehend within my straits their ocean genius…
I have gone to therapy trying to understand how I should cope better with the outside environment. In vain, my dearest! The cognitive dissonance would deepen and deepen.
“This is not how it is seen from the outside”, said the Lady Curly Shrink.
“What does that mean?” I thought to myself.
Was Lady Shrink holding me responsible for the way I was being perceived?
What if the perception had nothing to do with my “I am”?
See that? They don’t teach us that we are not responsible for the way we are being perceived.
Cognitive dissonance is when you try to understand why is it your mother doesn’t and can’t love you. And you read on it, only to learn that the narcissistic mum is a serious pathology.
Cognitive dissonance is when your mum is jealous…
And cognitive dissonance is when a man would have his wife be with another.
Cognitive dissonance is when your husband tells you what dish he’d love to eat and you serve him salad, time after time, numb to his request. Deaf to his wishes.
Cognitive dissonance is when a mother can’t love another’s child and cares only for her own. Or when, given her status, a mum, she mocks the refugee children. I have lived to witness this.
Moreover, cognitive dissonance is that despite of our intelligence and the artificial intelligence, there are children going hungry to bed, every night.
Cognitive dissonance is Julieta answering me back: I hope you end up talking to walls.
And I thought to myself — a wide smile on my face, I am, already. You have been one of the thickest walls of my life.
Is it your being Romanian, my being a hybrid, or your narcissism? It’s full time cognitive dissonance, baby! I have played my magic, right away, invoking the power of love to annihilate her utmost kind and loving words. Thanking her for having delivered an idea I’ll be writing about.
I think she doesn’t have the level of consciousness to realise what she’s saying. Thank God she has cooked a small vegetarian boeuf salad for me. That saved the day!
Cognitive dissonance is when a pandemic hits the world for the …the time in the history of mankind and we are taken aback. We are not ready.
And the leader of the pack is spending his time in one of Romanian’s beautiful ski slopes, inviting the crowd to join in. Rose the pandemic, rose physical distancing, rose the measures worldwide taken to prevent the outspread of Covid-19. The “other day” alone four people burnt to ashes in one of our Romanian hospitals.
Not in a million years will I be able to understand such a statement. One of the fundamentals of a leader of the pack is to say what he’s supposed to say, in the manner in that he’s supposed to be saying it. And that’s a cognitive PR dissonance, most probably.
Cognitive dissonance is when you tattoo two initials on your forearms corresponding both to husby and the child, saying “should anything happen, these are my child’s initials!”.
Why would you think anything could happen when you love your husband? Or should you think it, why would you utter it out loud?
Cognitive dissonance is when you, as a journalist, write in a disrespectful manner on the Prophet (PBUH). And cognitive dissonance is when you write in a disgusting manner on La Vierge … Holy Mary. If to many minds and hearts, in the very here and now, our Ascended Masters guide us through, and fill our lives with Light and Love, why would you “mess” with their Light?
I humbly ask myself:
Would you express yourself by mocking the images of your mothers, the ladies in the office of your beautiful country… to practice freedom of speech?
In earnest, why tease and mock our Ascended Masters?
I truly have cognitive dissonance on this.
No doubt, at times, cognitive dissonance, can be life and heart saving.
I have so many stories on cognitive dissonance, I’d need at least 1001 nights to recount them all.
Why don’t you stay tuned, for more?
… safe, blessed & loved