Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

This is for encouragement, ideas, and support for people going through a faith transition no matter where you hope to end up. This is also the place to laugh, cry, and love together.
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Please follow the instructions in the original post, and then mark all that apply.

I can't participate right now
2
7%
I couldn't keep it up for the full minute
11
38%
I experienced an emotional or physiological change not listed below
3
10%
Severe maximum anxiety (fight-or-flight: fast breathing and heart rate, with fear or anger)
2
7%
Moderate or mild maximum anxiety (nervousness)
2
7%
Severe maximum dissociation (dream-like state)
1
3%
Moderate or mild maximum dissociation (feeling disconnected from reality)
4
14%
Residual distress when finished
3
10%
Residual false belief when finished
1
3%
 
Total votes: 29

Reuben
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Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by Reuben » Tue May 15, 2018 9:11 am

Please mark only "I can't participate right now" if you know that doing this challenge would be unhealthy for you, or if attempting to do it freaks you out. (Don't worry! My reaction was pretty strong.)

The challenge. Try to make yourself believe that the next time it rains, the grass will literally, in reality, stay dry.

Instructions. Look at the grass outside your window. Now imagine the rain disappearing just short of it while everything else gets soaked. (You might find it helpful to close your eyes or look away.) Do all you can to believe that this will happen. Don't compartmentalize it: believe that it'll happen in reality, not in a story; just outside, not in a distant land; and that you'll personally see it, not someone else. Don't rationalize it: believe that it'll happen because that's what rain always does, not because of a miracle, magic, aliens, a secret government weather control device, or any other reason.

Try to maintain this belief for a minute, or until discomfort causes you to stop.

When you're done, calm down if necessary, let go of the false belief, and mark all the poll responses that apply. Please choose only one of each "maximum" pair (e.g. don't choose both "severe maximum anxiety" and "moderate or mild maximum anxiety.")
Last edited by Reuben on Tue May 15, 2018 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Grieve. It's your right and inheritance as a human being.

Reuben
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by Reuben » Tue May 15, 2018 9:16 am

I experienced a physiological change not listed: along with mild dissociation, I experienced mild vertigo. I didn't think it would be common enough to include as a poll response.
Grieve. It's your right and inheritance as a human being.

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2bizE
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by 2bizE » Tue May 15, 2018 9:35 am

I tried. The grass got wet. Tried mowing lawn while raining. Grass was not dry and left big clumps of grass on lawn. Prayed that grass would be dry. It was still wet.
JS is a prophet of gob though, and the church is still true.
~2bizE

Reuben
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by Reuben » Tue May 15, 2018 10:05 am

2bizE wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:35 am
I tried. The grass got wet. Tried mowing lawn while raining. Grass was not dry and left big clumps of grass on lawn. Prayed that grass would be dry. It was still wet.
JS is a prophet of gob though, and the church is still true.
:lol:

Hey, can you try closing your eyes to imagine it, if you haven't already? I'm still tuning this, and I had only one data point (me) to start with.

I'm using this challenge as an example in something I'm writing, to illustrate why I couldn't just will myself to believe again. I had a really strong reaction to the challenge that I didn't expect, but I had thought that, like you, I just wouldn't be able to. Every reaction is valid because our brains are all different!

It's also applicable when dealing with believing family. For example, if my lesbian/bi daughter experiences the anxiety and dissociation I did during the challenge when I bring up evidence that counters the church's claims, that would totally explain why she digs in. (This is inspired by one of alas's recent comments about cognitive dissonance in the Mixed Faith Relationships forum.)
Grieve. It's your right and inheritance as a human being.

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Linked
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by Linked » Tue May 15, 2018 7:24 pm

I got a similar feeling to what I get when I hear news from a source that doesn't share my biases, but I don't know the source. I'll follow what they are saying, then it gets uncomfortable, then I get mad. Maybe that's why we all hide in our little echo chambers where the grass gets wet...
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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moksha
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by moksha » Tue May 15, 2018 10:29 pm

This is easy. Just imagine hiding in a stone box within a limited geographic area of the lawn. The rain, along with further light and knowledge cannot penetrate to your enclosure, since only you hold the higher key to enter and exit.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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wtfluff
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by wtfluff » Wed May 16, 2018 6:09 am

I can "imagine" rain disappearing just before falling on grass, but I can't "make" myself believe that it could happen.

Which option do I choose?
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

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MoPag
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by MoPag » Wed May 16, 2018 8:54 am

2bizE wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:35 am

JS is a prophet of gob though, and the church is still true.
JS is a prophet of Gob Bluth! :lol:
prophetofGob.png
prophetofGob.png (201.8 KiB) Viewed 630 times
So I was able to believe it with only mild effects. I kept thinking stuff like "who care is the grass gets wet?"
"I hope the grass gets wet; it needs rain to live."
"Grass being wet doesn't directly affect me one way or the other; so I'm cool with whatever is happening to the rain and grass."
"Now I want to watch Arrested Development"
...walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men’s lies...--Ezra Pound

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alas
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by alas » Wed May 16, 2018 9:04 am

The problem with this cog dis experiment is we have no emotional incentive to believe the grass will not get wet. In order for the dissonant thought to have half a snowball's chance in the tellestial we have to want to believe it. Brings to mind one of the cog dis experiments we studied. Students were paid to do a boring useless task. Then told to go out and recruit others to do the task. If the students were paid too much, they told those they recruited the ask was boring but the pay worth it. When paid a pittance, then the students told those they recruited that the task was fun. When not paid enough, the students refused to recruit others. The pay had to be balanced just so the student wanted to believe the ask was fun. Too much pay, they saw the truth. Too little pay and they saw the truth. It had to be just enough for the students to want to believe the task was fun.

This comes back to the thought that those of us who break out of the church belief system, have some reason to want to, or not enough reason to want to stay.

Reuben
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by Reuben » Wed May 16, 2018 1:58 pm

alas wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:04 am
The problem with this cog dis experiment is we have no emotional incentive to believe the grass will not get wet. In order for the dissonant thought to have half a snowball's chance in the tellestial we have to want to believe it.
That's a really good point. I don't have any way to motivate anyone who reads what I'm writing, though. Well, TBMs would be motivated to not believe that I couldn't believe... maybe I could work with that somehow...
alas wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:04 am
Brings to mind one of the cog dis experiments we studied. Students were paid to do a boring useless task. Then told to go out and recruit others to do the task. If the students were paid too much, they told those they recruited the ask was boring but the pay worth it. When paid a pittance, then the students told those they recruited that the task was fun. When not paid enough, the students refused to recruit others. The pay had to be balanced just so the student wanted to believe the ask was fun. Too much pay, they saw the truth. Too little pay and they saw the truth. It had to be just enough for the students to want to believe the task was fun.

This comes back to the thought that those of us who break out of the church belief system, have some reason to want to, or not enough reason to want to stay.
I remember that one. IIRC, students that were paid a pittance had to believe that the task was fun to justify having done it.

I'll bet it's not possible to find a good balance for everyone, and thank goodness for that. I know that I tend to be less motivated than most people to assume a group's beliefs. It's just how I'm wired. (I also don't self-categorize as readily, which might have something to do with it.) So... I guess I'm saying my reason to want to break out - needing my faith to be consistent with itself and with evidence - outweighed the church's typical social motivations, because to me those motivations are weaker. To a lot of other people they're well-balanced.

I think I'm trying to refine what you said because the first part sounds a lot like "wanted to sin," which I really don't like. I have to acknowledge it as a reason, though.

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alas
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by alas » Wed May 16, 2018 3:52 pm

Reuben wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 1:58 pm
alas wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:04 am
The problem with this cog dis experiment is we have no emotional incentive to believe the grass will not get wet. In order for the dissonant thought to have half a snowball's chance in the tellestial we have to want to believe it.
That's a really good point. I don't have any way to motivate anyone who reads what I'm writing, though. Well, TBMs would be motivated to not believe that I couldn't believe... maybe I could work with that somehow...
alas wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:04 am
Brings to mind one of the cog dis experiments we studied. Students were paid to do a boring useless task. Then told to go out and recruit others to do the task. If the students were paid too much, they told those they recruited the ask was boring but the pay worth it. When paid a pittance, then the students told those they recruited that the task was fun. When not paid enough, the students refused to recruit others. The pay had to be balanced just so the student wanted to believe the ask was fun. Too much pay, they saw the truth. Too little pay and they saw the truth. It had to be just enough for the students to want to believe the task was fun.

This comes back to the thought that those of us who break out of the church belief system, have some reason to want to, or not enough reason to want to stay.
I remember that one. IIRC, students that were paid a pittance had to believe that the task was fun to justify having done it.

I'll bet it's not possible to find a good balance for everyone, and thank goodness for that. I know that I tend to be less motivated than most people to assume a group's beliefs. It's just how I'm wired. (I also don't self-categorize as readily, which might have something to do with it.) So... I guess I'm saying my reason to want to break out - needing my faith to be consistent with itself and with evidence - outweighed the church's typical social motivations, because to me those motivations are weaker. To a lot of other people they're well-balanced.

I think I'm trying to refine what you said because the first part sounds a lot like "wanted to sin," which I really don't like. I have to acknowledge it as a reason, though.
There are lots of things people can want that might make them leave the church, and desire to sin isn't one of them. Wanting objective truth is a good motivation, and probably lots more common than the church leaders want to believe. They just can't imagine any thing they would want badly enough to make them get out of the "good ship Zion" so they think people who leave must want to sin or have been offended. Those they understand, and apparently they do not understand the desire for beliefs to be rationally consistent. Or someone who judges Joseph Smith as a con man because they believe his behavior instead of his claims. And they OBVIOUSLY do not understand those of us who see their treatment of gays, women, and blacks as unrighteous and go looking for a consistently loving morality. They cannot comprehend anyone feeling like gays are children of the very same God they claim to be children of, and so gays should be allowed, even encouraged to marry. So, in their mind, they have to explain our leaving as something they do understand, which is desire to sin. Understanding us would cause them too much cognitive dissonance, and they have no desire to understand us.

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blazerb
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by blazerb » Wed May 16, 2018 5:50 pm

2bizE wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:35 am
I tried. The grass got wet. Tried mowing lawn while raining. Grass was not dry and left big clumps of grass on lawn. Prayed that grass would be dry. It was still wet.
JS is a prophet of gob though, and the church is still true.
However, I knew that even though the grass was wet where I was, the grass was dry in some other location. As I moved around the lawn, I just had to remember that there is always some other location where the grass was dry. Eventually, I checked in every location. Then I remembered that I was looking at a scale of feet. Perhaps there was a region of just an inch that stayed dry. A more limited geography of dryness could never be ruled out. Also, does the water really touch the grass? On an atomic scale, the particles never actually touch. What does it mean to be wet? Can we ever prove that something is wet? Maybe now I am more comfortable accepting dry grass during the rain. I know it's true.

Bremguy
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by Bremguy » Wed May 16, 2018 6:29 pm

wtfluff wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 6:09 am
I can "imagine" rain disappearing just before falling on grass, but I can't "make" myself believe that it could happen.
There is an actual term for that. virga: streaks of rain that evaporate before they reach the ground.
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Corsair
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by Corsair » Thu May 17, 2018 9:51 am

This experiment quickly annoyed me when I tried it. It's nothing personal, but I live in Arizona and I am well acquainted with dry grass. I'm trying to fix some bare spots in my front lawn right now. The experiment did not fail as much as it catastrophically collapsed because it's almost a logical fallacy to think this way in my climate when my stake is praying for rain.

I won't claim that I am some advanced, rational skeptic who is immune to self-deception. I have to humbly accept that I can be fooled. But my mind immediately wanted to make sense of this claim and was quickly annoyed by this artificial voice telling it all the apologetics about grass staying dry in the rain. I am well acquainted with my regular Sunday activity of attending my ward and keeping my damn mouth shut in all three meetings while unfounded claims are shoveled towards me. But this does not stop the calm, but deeply insistent voice in my mind pointing out how these claims simply do not work. A lot more evidence is going to be needed before I move towards mild acceptance, let alone "belief".

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wtfluff
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by wtfluff » Thu May 17, 2018 11:05 am

Bremguy wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 6:29 pm
wtfluff wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 6:09 am
I can "imagine" rain disappearing just before falling on grass, but I can't "make" myself believe that it could happen.
There is an actual term for that. virga: streaks of rain that evaporate before they reach the ground.
Yep, I've seen / experienced virga. Virga is not what Reuben was asking us to "believe":
Reuben wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:11 am
Instructions. Look at the grass outside your window. Now imagine the rain disappearing just short of it while everything else gets soaked.


Corsair wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 9:51 am
...when my stake is praying for rain.
Ahem... Don't you mean: Praying for moisture?
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

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Corsair
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by Corsair » Thu May 17, 2018 11:03 pm

wtfluff wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 11:05 am
Corsair wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 9:51 am
...when my stake is praying for rain.
Ahem... Don't you mean: Praying for moisture?
According to Holland, this is the gospel of "happy endings".

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Kalikala
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by Kalikala » Mon May 21, 2018 1:00 pm

Reuben wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:16 am
I experienced a physiological change not listed: along with mild dissociation, I experienced mild vertigo. I didn't think it would be common enough to include as a poll response.
I also experienced the vertigo. I stopped trying anymore when it made me nauseous.
"The opposite of Faith is not Doubt, it's Certainty." ~ Anne Lamott

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Kalikala
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Re: Poll: Cognitive dissonance challenge

Post by Kalikala » Mon May 21, 2018 1:02 pm

alas wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:04 am
This comes back to the thought that those of us who break out of the church belief system, have some reason to want to, or not enough reason to want to stay.
My FC started when I realized I no longer WANTED to believe. Why would I want to believe something that was going to separate me from my husband, who is a good person, for the rest of eternity simply because he no longer believed. WTH.
"The opposite of Faith is not Doubt, it's Certainty." ~ Anne Lamott

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