Every election year reminds me of the phrase cognitive dissonance. By cognitive dissonance, I mean
glimpses of a reality that contrasts sharply or even conflicts with what we already believe and/or want to be true
I also see it fully present in so-called liberal rationalists. We are least as guilty as the radical right-wing nut-jobs we criticize and fear, albeit on a more fundamental level: We don’t want to believe that so many people work sooo hard to suppress legitimate pieces of Truth and Reality. But people do. Some do it to preserve their own worldview. Some work to control other people’s worldviews. And in our disbelief, we — ironically enough — suppress a vital piece of Truth and Reality along with them. So we don’t want to believe that we do it either.
I’ll go as far to argue that cognitive dissonance is something we as a species are as of yet incapable of dealing with. Because it literally takes enlightenment to accept and understand. I know I’m not there yet. I suspect most other people aren’t, either.
So we are really fighting a cultural battle — or even an evolutionary battle — on two fronts:
1) We need to accept the existence of cognitive dissonance and work with it without ironically succumbing to it.
2) We need to work to overcome our evolutionary inability to deal with cognitive dissonance.
Until we manage this somehow, our democratic process will be in danger of fully succumbing to rampant and widespread fear, anger and cynicism.