Monday, April 11, 2011

3-2-1- Cognition or DIY: It's My World, Everyone Else Just Lives In It

Do you know the feeling you get when you have deja vu? You know, when you feel, all of a sudden, like you done this, been here before? (whatever or wherever this or here is.) It's the feeling that everyone is wearing a mask that you can't quite see behind...or that you are, and your wish that someone would see behind your mask almost overcomes your terror that they will.  It's the realization as you cross the street for just a moment, that the street doesn't exist, that you're moving through something else, be it time or space, where nothing is quite solid or real..until the car beside you hits its brakes.  Reality has always been an illusion to me- often times an unpleasant one. I hate feeling like everyone one else got all the directions to the game of life but me.  Cognitive dissonance is defined (by Wikipedia no less, the blueprints to the universe) as  an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously.   In other words, when what you believe should be happening contradicts what you perceive to be happening, you could have cognitive dissonance.  Good examples include the Wikipedia example of buyers remorse- you buy something expecting to feel good about it- a new dress, a car ... and instead you feel dread or anger. "The I can't believe I spent so much" syndrome.. It could also be when you expected to feel happy about something- like a birthday, but instead feel depressed. Maybe you're like me and you eat an entire pizza expecting to feel satisfied, and instead just feel sick and disgusted.  (If you're whispering out there that of course you expect to feel disgusted when you eat a whole pizza, then you're not suffering from dissonance--you're just a  smug prick. Pizza is supposed to make you happy, dammit!)   
Dissonance is a feeling I am too used to lately- and I think it's contagious.  I feel like too many people in the world are the same as me- wondering what's wrong with them that they can't join with the consensus, the reality that other people seem to have no problem sharing- it's like being Picard when he joined the Borg (If you don't know what I'm talking about, non scifi geek, just press on to the next paragraph.)  You want to be part of the group, but some vague sense of dissatisfaction, of not belonging, of discontent keeps you from fully joining in.  You know you should be happy, but you aren't. And nothing makes it worse than people telling you how lucky you are or how happy you should be.  Screw that.  The realization that I'm unhappy about my situation does not automatically equal that I'm selfish, or unpleasable-it simply means I'm smart enough to realize that where I am is not where I want to be.  The corollary to that equation- not being happy, I mean= I should do something about it. That's all. Just do it. (swoosh).  It's not that I can't be happy where I am, but no one should have to settle for less than their perfect reality. If finding my happiness means checking out of the communal reality and creating a new one just for me , then that's okay. If this world is not enough for me, that doesn't mean I'm an awful person- maybe it just means  (to quote John Mayer, and not the racist stuff, I mean come on John!)  that "I'm bigger than my body."  If the world is not enough for you either, then make your own- reality after all isn't really reality at all---it's the stuff of dreams. Make yours come true.

Question reality, especially if it contradicts the evidence of your hopes and dreams. 
 ~Robert Brault

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