Why People Smoke When They Know It’s Unhealthy?
There is often a big gap between what we think and what we do: When we do something despite knowing it to be immoral, or wrong, we have a bad conscience. The psychologist Leon Festinger used the term ‘cognitive dissonance’ to describe our state of mind when our actions are not consistent with our belief – for example when we smack a child, even though we condemn violence against children.
But why do we find it so difficult to recognise our mistakes? Why do we go even as far to defending our actions when we are confronted with their shortcomings?
Rather than asking for forgiveness, we embark on one of the more unlikable human attributes: self-justification. This act as a protective mechanism that enables us sleep at night and free our mind from self-doubts. We see only what we want to see, and ignore everything that contradicts our views. We look for arguments that reinforce our position.
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But how can we overcome this dissonance? Either by changing our behavior or our attitude. A great nation is like a man: when he makes a mistake, he realises it. Having realised and it, he admit it. Having admit it, he corrects it. He considers those who point out his faults as his most benevolent teachers. Loo Zi