You intend to do the right thing, you really do, and when you find yourself doing the wrong thing, your brain is uncomfortable. So uncomfortable, in fact, that you gradually become convinced that what you did really was right.
When you are totally convinced that you are right, and someone gives you evidence to the contrary, how do you react? Do you actually think about the other person’s arguments, or are you listening just so you can find the loopholes and mistakes?
Do you remember when you were young and went to the moon? Or perhaps you remember other parents, your real Mom and Dad, kinder, richer, more appropriate parents for a person like you.
Serbs versus Slavs, Jews versus Muslims, Hutus versus Tutsis, Irish versus English. History is full of ethnic conflicts. Why? Where did they start? Why can’t people just forgive and forget?
Understanding cognitive dissonance can give you insight into these and other conundrums of the human mind. In Mistakes Were Made (but not by me), Tavris and Aronson explore cognitive dissonance in politics, history, science and everyday lives.