Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Reality Check

My husband and I were having an intellectual discussion the other day, and he coined the term "cognitive dissonance."  He may not be the first person to use the term, but he thought of it himself.  He used the term to mean when someone acts contrary to what they say their beliefs are.

That brought to mind the statement I heard when going through the Truth Project:

Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?

I literally paused after typing that.  I still struggle to digest the question in a tangible way for my brain.

For those of you who assuredly answer, "Yeah, I do," humor me in taking the question a step further. 

Think about one of your worldviews.

"What is a world view?" you ask.  According to Gary Palmer in his book Toward a Theory of Cultural Linguistics, a comprehensive world view (or worldview) is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society's knowledge and point-of-view, including natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and ethics.

In simpler terms, your worldview is what you believe is truth.  What you believe in, truly. 

I believe that God is Creator of the universe and that all things work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  Why, then, do I worry?  If I truly believed that God is in control, then I should have nothing to worry about.

That is cognitive dissonance: when we believe one thing and do something contrary to our belief.

You might be asking, "Well, isn't that just hypocrisy?" For the sake of simplicity, let us limit hypocrisy to that of knowingly doing something opposite to what you said you were going to do, as opposed to contrary to a belief.

Back to my worrying.  The fact that I'm worrying reveals that I don't trust God with everything.  It reveals my struggles to truly embrace what I trust to be real.

I've asked this question of myself, my characters, and of people around me: "What do their actions say about their true beliefs?" And then..."Does that differ from what they think/say they believe?"

I doubt that anyone truly acts upon every belief they have.  At one point or another, we revert back to our gut instinct (which sometimes can be good and sometimes bad) and expose our true selves.

You might be wondering why I write so many blog entries on internal analysis of my own character and of those around me.

For one, I believe it is amazing character work.  How else are we supposed to understand our written characters?  Who would be better to test our theories on than ourselves and people we know?

Secondly, it is important to understand ourselves.  I find that I barely know myself.  The more that I get older, the more I realize that I do things that I do not understand.  I want to know who I am; I want to know the truth about myself.  Do you?

There isn't really a resolution to this because the resolution has to come individually.  Do you really believe what you believe is really real?  Be courageous enough to truly ask that of yourself and see what you find.

Soli Deo Gloria.