I will preface this post with it being my longest post to date I believe. Its literally taken me weeks to write this post; editing, trashing it all together, etc.
I try to stay away from politics on this blog but with all this nonsense going on, I had to chime in. Only those very close to me know my passion for history and politics.
Enjoy and please chime in with your thoughts.
With doublethink, discernment, and of course love.
In this world where cognitive dissonance seems to reign supreme, if there is one term that I wish more people could grow to overstand and subsequently incorporate into their ethos and daily dialogue, particularly regarding matters germane to the forward progress of this nation and by extension the world, it would be the term DOUBLETHINK.
Doublethink is a term coined by George Orwell from his book 1984 (which seems to finally be coming to fruition in 2017).
Doublethink is the opposite of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is defined as a psychological conflict resulting from incongruent beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously. In short it’s an inability to accept reality because it makes one feel uncomfortable or goes against the grain of ones ego that’s tethered to and built upon a fallacies.
Doublethink is defined as the acceptance and mental capacity to accept contrary facts and opinions simultaneously. In other words it’s the ability to accept as fact certain phenomena while at the same time knowing when and where to deviate from said truth. Like holding the belief that you should follow your own dreams and entrepreneurial pursuits while still knowing that you need that job in order to pay rent until those dreams of being your own boss can be actualized.
A contemporaneous example of cognitive dissonance would be the moralizing Donald Trump supporters, many of which hail from the religious right. To a person and in the abstract all of the abhorrent behaviors displayed by their president if displayed by a Democrat or even their own children would be met with scorn and rebuke. But because his politics and racially charged rhetoric stimulates their id all of his moral failings are glossed over, ignored and even defended by these self proclaimed pillars of morality.
The right wing however does not have a monopoly on cognitive dissonance because such heedless thinking exists among many liberals , self professed progressives and black activists alike.
Using Barack Obama as an example there are many progressives particularly in the African-American community that ignored, accepted and even championed some of his worst moves as president just because it was him doing it. Viewing the Obama years through the prism of doublethink two things are true. He’s both the best president in many of our lifetimes as well as one of the greatest pacifiers of the anti-war movement in our lifetime. Most of black America that were opposed to the wars started by George Bush begin to accept Obama’s expansion of them as necessary to their safety and security as opposed to seeing it as evidence to the fact that the military industrial complex and the war profiteering corporations controlled both the democratic and republican parties. For many black activists that’s all they saw in the 44th president ignoring the fact that as the elected leader of an empire his very job was to continue the imperialistic endeavors started by his predecessors. Moreover many of them propagated the mythical half truth that he did more for gays and immigrants than he did for blacks. Through the lens of doublethink first and foremost you’re not going to compare the 400 year oppressive relationship between the United States and Black people with the much more simplistic and targeted discrimination of gays and immigrants which for the most part were remedied by a few executive branch pen strokes. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the
Defense of Marriage Act and the enactment of DACA were all laws that represented low hanging fruit. They were simple measures to mitigate the needless suffering of targeted groups. The black activists that make the binary and dichotomous argument of what he did for those disaffected groups versus what he could not and did not do to relieve black people from the long standing issue of white supremacy oppressing black America is another bemusing case of cognitive dissonance. At worst Barack Obama was not unapologetically black as many of the great black leaders of our storied past were and who often times he was unfairly (to them and him) compared to. Even worse was the cognitive dissonance among mainstream Democratic black voters. It was so thick in 2016 that many of the same black people who saw the evident racism and incompetence in his 2007 primary opponent (Hillary Clinton) not even ten years later were parroting the mantra that she was the most qualified person to ever run for president despite all of the evidence to the contrary and despite having the option of a more progressive, honest and humane option in Bernie Sanders.
Doublethink allows for nuance and holistic thinking. Nuanced holistic thinking is the only tool to successfully navigate the steady waves of fake and misleading news that are constantly bombarding our television screens and social media timelines. Even before Vladimir Putin got hip to how easily the American ethos could be swayed and influenced fake news was a norm in America. Fox News was created in 1996 and from 1996 up until today they have been infecting the airwaves with steady false narratives. The only way to abate the powers of false information is to train the hearts and minds of America to be more analytical. Doublethink is the only way to achieve that goal. Do yourself and your fellow citizens of this trying to be great nation a favor and get more familiar with the term and put it to daily practice.