Wednesday, November 29, 2006

And the Festinger Prize Goes To...

I've decided that it's time to periodically award the 'Leon Festinger Memorial Prize for Cognitive Dissonance' and the "(As Yet Unnamed) Award for Cognitive Egocentrism.' The award, for which I hope to design an appropriate logo, is designed to recognize those people and/or institutions who best embody these respective syndromes, a developed by the late Prof. Leon Festinger (Below)and mutatis mutandis, Prof. Richard Landes (Left), respectively.
For those unfamiliar with the terms, 'Cognitive Dissonance,' is: 'the perception of incompatibility between two cognitions...In other words, it is the uncomfortable tension that comes from
holding two conflicting thoughts at the same time. The theory of cognitive dissonance states that contradicting cognitions serve as a driving force that compels the mind to acquire or invent new thoughts or beliefs, or to modify existing beliefs, so as to reduce the amount of dissonance (conflict) between cognitions.' This, in turn, incorporates a major element of Denial.

Cognitive Egocentrism, on the other hand, is defined by its discoverer, Richard Landes, as:

The projection of one’s own mentality or “way of seeing the world” onto others...In the current situation of globalization, cognitive egocentrism has its greatest impact in the political relationships between people coming from civil societies and those raised in prime divider societies. Since the basic political principle of Prime divider societies is “rule or be ruled,” “do onto others before they do onto you,” political actors from those cultures assume the same zero-sum, domineering intentions in their opponents (the “enemy”). Since the basic political principles of civil societies is “I’ll give up trying to dominate and trust you to give it up as well,” “if I’m nice to you, you will be nice in return,” assume positive-sum attitudes in their opponents (the “other”). The current situation testifies to a dangerous mis-apprehension that works to the distinct disadvantage to civil society. The media, in particular, as the representative of civil society, emphasizes its role as empathizer, often failing to defend civil society, even exposing it to danger.

The first awardees will be announced in the next few hours. Stay Tuned.


Anonymous said...

What is the difference between Landes' Cognitive Egocentrism and specifically applied projection?
Seems like a fancy name an intellectual made up for no real reason other than to confuse and dazzle the masses...

Jeffrey said...

And 'Specifically Applied Projection' isn't fancy?

Want to call it projection? Fine. It's not fancy, it's catchy, restricts the context to beliefs/intellectual positions and alludes to Festinger.

In addition, it more clearly portrays the closed universe of discourse and perception that characterizes the Western Liberal World.

Personally, I used the phrase 'Cognitive Narcissism' before I encountered Prof. Landes' turn of phrase.