Cognitive Dissidence

Rooted in many experiences of cognitive dissonance from early childhood onward, before I knew anything about sexuality, I knew I didn’t fit in. As I look back, I think I felt I was a performer, that I was there for the entertainment of my family etc but was not who they seemed to think I was.I early learned there was no Santa Claus because of my mother’s demand for gratitude that she had worked so hard and sacrificed so much to get me the presents. I kept pretending to believe in Santa Claus because that’s what they wanted, but I knew I was faking it. I also always knew that the me they wanted and thought they had was not me, not the real me behind the curtain.

What other cognitive dissidents can I find? Who in the history of thought and writing has been a cognitive dissident. Have they been the ones who moved things forward by opening new paths of thought and understanding?

Were the prophets cognitive dissidents? Are today’s cognitive dissidents our prophets?

Is the idea of the Fall cognitive dissidence for today, in a world in which no one would like to be fallen, in which all have to be perfect, to live up to a perfection put upon them by a society, a church, a profession, an employer?

A cognitive dissident is one who tries to live out of the experience of cognitive dissonance. It is living with ambiguities of looking at something in a multivalent way, of seeing the best reading and the worst reading and every reading in between, trying to take them as a whole. This fits Christian theology well. It fits the eschatological already and not yet.

Who of today are the cognitive dissidents? Are the extremes of right and left seeing a cognitive dissonance between the world they see and the world they would like to see?

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