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<nettime> wikileaks & cognitive dissonance
Michael Reinsborough on Tue, 25 Jan 2011 12:49:52 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> wikileaks & cognitive dissonance


Several times repeated on this list and elsewhere (so-what blogs) that
well none of this information is really new or really surprising, and
much of it is actually documented elsewhere

but much of the information is v.new to any given individual, even
on this list several times people have said "oh look at this new
revelation regarding such and such" effectively saying "i didn't know
about that" acting v.surprised while someone else merely notes that
more people now know something that s/he was already familiar with.

this rain cascade of information does have an interesting
'oh-mi-gosh!' effect on people but in general (& different effects
on different people) the overarching distrust in government and
authorities is increased (primarily because there has been so much
info released - also the amount of media & the US attack on the
storytellers increased the amount of media). This is to say that their
is less cognitive dissonance to the idea that 'our leaders are lieing
to us'.

cognitive dissonance is the idea that people have a narrative existing
in their head about what kinds of things are likely, unlikely, etc.
so if i tell you with great earnestness that last night i saw an L.A.
policeman beat up a black man you will respond to me based on how
likely you think this situation is. if i tell you i saw a tiny glowing
green man in a space suit last night when i was coming home you will
more or less ignore me.

the upshot of this for lefties is to reconsider the rather boring
mantra "if only the people knew the truth- let's get the information
to the public". Actually if you tell someone that their congressman
is in evil cahoots with an oil company they might just say this
sounds like info to ignore (cognitive dissonance). it doesn't fit my
narrative of what my congressman is. so instead of thinking political
change is about what people don't know (and let's get thanm that
information) lefties might be saying political change is about what
people do know (and how do we change/open up the basic narrative that
controls how they think about their congressman/this issue/etc.) hence
the upswing in 'narrative strategies' or 'power of story stuff like
smartmeme.org , George Lakoff, etc changing people's narrative so that
they are better able to defend themselves from dishonesty. obviously
leadership in a class divided society requires many people to have a
narrative about leadership that finds 'dishonesty' unlikely (cognitive
dissonance) and therefore easy to dismiss

perhaps i missed it but i haven't heard people say what they
think wikileaks effect in relation to cognitive dissonance. does
the scale of wiki-leaks have quantitative/qualitative changes
in amount/types of cognitive dissonance that public/people/many
persons/individuals/multitude/insert your own word here/persons ?






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