In the state of cognitive dissonance one will feel their mind react as if it takes a figurative step backwards, saying with indignance "Hey! Wait just a minute!" This is because when the conscious mind encounters any information that has not been satisfactorily habituated into one's paradigm, it will go into a "panic mode", related to the Fight or Flight adrenaline response. This panic mode may be a function of the brain for the purpose of preventing insanity that would occur with simultaneous acceptance of opposing ideas. Perhaps it is also a function meant to motivate discovery in the presence of a balanced mind, a spur towards curiosity. However, the inherent lack of self-awareness prevalent in the Western culture has allowed for a most perverted version of the former to be evident.
When a self-oblivious individual encounters a "trigger" topic in conversation, their conscious attention will shift away from the immediate conversation to internal processing which will make emotional analyses regarding what caused the perturbation. This internal shift will often be automatic and unconscious, based on habituated paradigmatic beliefs and the current emotional state. The degree and type of emotions felt as a result of this internal comparison will paint both any internal dialogue the individual is conscious of as well as their outward responses.
It's easy to get mentally overwhelmed by aspects of paradigm counter to one's own, and from a wealth of experience and observation, it seems there is an array of defensive response mechanisms typical among the grand majority of people encountered:
- Cold Ignore - a conscious ignore, no reaction and attention is forced elsewhere, away from the speaker
- Dissonant State - unfocused feigned attention, eyes glazed over, yawning and darting eyes. Attention easy to be caught by anything else but the current conversation
- Reframe - pseudo-attentive regurgitation of topic the way the listener wanted to hear it, missing the point the speaker was making and often conforming the idea to the listener's own paradigm
- Covered-Ass Response - when the listener hadn't actually been paying attention to the speaker, but certain words spoken will trigger "tail-end attention" or just enough attention for the listener to regurgitate the last words spoken by the speaker or to fashion a half-assed question/response to spur the speaker to speak further, hence circumventing the responsibility of actually listening while avoiding conflict with the speaker.
- Yes Man - a consistent state of agreeability by the listener without dialogue of substance or relation. Usually comes with ulterior motives.
- Antagonistic-Baby - A child-like demeanor is adopted by the listener to feign ignorance and/or poke fun at what the speaker is saying in order to diffuse the impact of the message, or gently denigrate the speaker with the aim of reducing their patience and ultimately having them give up on what they're saying. This child-like demeanor usually includes light insults, parody, boredom and whining which occur at a rate and insistence that make it difficult to believe there is no premeditation behind the character being played.
- Agitated Counter-Advocate - AKA the Devil's Advocate, this listener scrapes for and condescendingly presents potential counterpoints to your position, with or without logical basis. They are emotionally perturbed by the speaker's position and aim to beat it down.
- Aggressive - any of the aggressive acts (yelling, fury, striking, etc) flung at the speaker because of their position. This is where Ad Hominem attacks become quite common.
In another scenario, A may suddenly feel his blood pressure rising over something B said that they don't agree with. With practiced self-awareness, A will feel & recognize the emotional surge and be able to consciously regulate himself in order to continue rational discourse with B, or tactfully excuse himself from the conversation in order to have time to calm, conduct some self-review and return to discourse later when the emotional fluctuations are understood. If at some point A's emotions got the best of him before he stepped away from the conversation and he fell into a Defensive Response Mechanism, A's self-awareness would allow him to recognize such a reaction in himself and offer sincere apology to B. This avoids sustained conflict and allows for A and B to share their views with each other without damaging their relationship. A fast self-recognition -> informative sharing of sincere apology will also allow both A and B to gain mutual understanding of themselves and the way they react, adding to their own sense of self-awareness and powers of observation.
In solving the issue of social marginalization, the self-aware:
- must be diligent in recognizing and understanding their own emotional responses
- must exercise their powers of observation to recognize patterned behavior in others
- cannot be afraid to take calibrated action when encountering defensive response mechanisms
- must train in tools of logic like the Trivium Method
- must learn to recognize Logical Fallacies wherever they appear
No mind is set with permanence like a house of bricks. With recognition, self-awareness and a basis for solution, we can rebuild the house.