Monday, August 2, 2010

Cognitive Dissonance... or the lack of it..

          After all these days, I'm actually getting busy. Come to think of it, it's been about time, like coming back after a big vacation and finding yourself on the way back to school. The vacation, in this case, was of course my final year at college (or maybe two, for that matter - I can't really say). And you do enjoy school, no matter how much you miss the vacation. Anyway, I actually wanted to post something on friendship day, something, you know, like a dedication to all my friends, something I've always wanted to do.. But no, really couldn't bring myself to do it.
           I've been having classes, just like old times once again - and one of the courses we have this term is on Behavioral Sciences (we call it BS). As you might have guessed from the title, that's what was the motivator for this post. BS is one of those classes, where you can walk in to the air-conditioned hall calmly, go have a relaxed seat, sit back and enjoy the lecture - it's almost like walking in to a cinema hall, watch a nice movie and end up coming out with a lot more thoughts running inside your head than when you went in. At least, that's how I feel after every BS class. And it is one of those classes where you never get sleepy (even if it is a post-lunch 2 o' clock session).
            So there I was, once again finding myself in one of those BS lectures by one of my favourite profs and as usual, I was waiting for the session to begin. Usually, these classes always kind of make you feel-good, what with all the human behavioral analysis and stuff going on. I mean, one always can relate to the subject being discussed, because hey, everyone observes things happening around them and naturally would feel interested, at least to an extent. And it's fun to theorize about people. Even when you don't end up believing in those. So like I said, those classes are usually comforting.. until that day.
          The topic being discussed was about cognitive dissonance and the reasons behind it. Okay, for starters, cognitive dissonance is the state of mind where one is confused by contradictory ideas and is in an undecided, uncomfortable state. Now, the theory is that people tend to seek a path that reduces this dissonance long after they make the decision. In short, that people tend to justify or defend their choices, even under evidence to the contrary.
           Now where I come in the midst of all this is that, I've had choices. I've had dilemmas. Some downright trivial and absurd (like choosing between a bath and a breakfast on a hurry to class :P), or having to choose between two softwares (that's right, plus one to the list of people who believe I'm a geek), but there are major decisions too. Like having to choose between a college nearer to my home (well as near as u might consider 650 kilometres to be) and yet another one further away. Or to quote a more recent example, having to choose between a well known institute of management and right where I am now. But I can say with confidence that, never once have I felt any regret over my choices all along my life.
           So, am I a victim of this so-called cognitive dissonance..? Because I'm one of those guys who never complains. Maybe part of it comes from the viewpoint of negating, like when you know, people find fault about their surroundings (I love that House episode where he needs to negate to everything). But seriously, I've always had the view that, all my choices so far have actually been the correct ones for me and that I'm actually good at being me because of those choices. So, suddenly on hearing this theory say that people justify their decisions and thrive on denial so they don't have to face reality, you can imagine the discomfort it caused me.
           I came out of the class confused, had a nice sleep over the issue, thrusting it to the back of my mind and forcing myself not to think about it till I was more clear. It's now been more than a week since that happened. In the meantime, like I said, things were getting busy with exams, academics and stuff. And then suddenly one evening, when I was idling away my time, browsing something as usual, I got a call from one of my friends. It had been a while and it sounded like a voice from another world. And in that instance, right there - it all rushed back, all my memories from school and college - how could I have ever doubted all those moments? And it was then that I realized - BS or no BS, the experiences I've had are unique; the friends I've had are special; and my moments with them are all treasurable - and it was my choices all along that have led me along that path, to the very path that has led me to this very moment to write about it all. And you know what, I'm happy and grateful for the choices I've made. And that is all that matters. In the end, it is the people around you that complete the blanks and make your choices meaningful. I wanted to thank all of  my friends on the so-called friendship day, but hey, do you really need an occasion?
            To all the people, who've made my life cherishable... Thanks people..!!

P.S.: As I write this, yet another day begins. To watch the morning sun rise here at joka.. really.. feels like heaven.

1 comment:

  1. nice to read thought also ran somewhat similar to yours

    chk this out...