Monday, March 23, 2015

Spatial Disorientation and Cognitive Dissonance

There are things in life where we are convinced we are right about them. We divine the reasons for them as 100% correct in how we view them. And yet, we are completely wrong.

There are various theories about these things. But the one I'm referring to is an odd one. It happens to airplane pilots from time to time and pilots are taught to trust their instruments. It's called Spatial Disorientation.

I'm not really talking about Cognitive Dissonance: the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. - Wikipedia which also says:
"Individuals can adjust their attitudes or actions in various ways. Adjustments result in one of three relationships between two cognitions or between a cognition and a behavior.
Consonant relationship – Two cognitions/actions that are consistent with one another (e.g., not wanting to get intoxicated while out, then ordering water instead of alcohol)
Irrelevant relationship – Two cognitions/actions that are unrelated to one another (e.g., not wanting to get intoxicated while out, then tying your shoes)
Dissonant relationship – Two cognitions/actions that are inconsistent with one another (e.g., not wanting to get intoxicated while out, then consuming six tequila shots)."
There is also a consideration of the magnitude of the dissonance but I'm talking about having no idea about any dissonance but rather an outside force indicating one that simply makes no sense to us.

When you find that you seem to be diametrically opposed to what makes sense, when you see you are going against the stream, against the norm, against all others, which makes more sense? That you are an amazing genius, that you are a maverick, going against the stream of sheep all headed in the direction the herd is taking them? Or that you have somehow gotten waylaid, turned about and are even upside down as can happen to pilots in flight.

If you fly a plane through a cloud layer just right, it is impossible to tell you are upside down. The glass of water next to you is still apparently upside right in relation to the cockpit, your sense of inner ear balance tells you all is normal, your weight appears to be just as it should. And yet, your indicator on the control panel says, you are upside down. It's impossible, right?

However there can be reasons for all appearing normal and how you got there. Distractions and make you miss important clues and signs that you are flipping over. As you flip over (or as in life, around), you unconsciously compensate on the flight controls, pulling up in the cockpit and sideways and then upside down, maintaining correct g forces so that once you pay attention and see your horizon indicator is off, you adjust and now all is well.

Except that now you are 180 degrees from your normal. You are now, upside down. Or as in life, 180 degrees from your starting point and now facing backwards, or taking on a position that is directly opposed to the position you think you are taking. Night is day, right is wrong, good, is now bad.

All you can do it constantly check your position. Keep your ego in check. Pay attention to the controls and indicators you have available to you. Trust something, outside of yourself. Yes, you have sometimes to trust only yourself, but sometimes you have to trust others, or other things.

Trust that which is impervious to opinion (such as a flight control indicator). Correct your position from time to time. Be sure of your reasoning and be sure it is not ego in the way of your seeing clearly what is actually happening to you and therefore, possibly those around you because of your orientation.

How many Nazis after WWII in reflection, in hindsight, in viewing their previous actions in the light of the commentary of the entire world, finally saw the folly of their previous beliefs. But then it was too late and then even they knew they deserved what was about to come down on their heads, even though they would strive to escape it because in the end, they didn't want anything even remotely near to what they did to others, to happen to them. .

Be absolutely sure in life that you truly are facing forward, that you are upside right and not 180 degrees from the position you merely believe you are facing as you are pulling your plane upward directly into the ground below you.

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