Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Own Personal Cognitive Dissonance

Alright, I clarified that I would not take things too seriously in this blog, and for readers to not take it too seriously either. Even posted such in my handy-dandy notes section to the right - which has been changed now. Well, I've been using this blog as a way to make me and others laugh, to throw out funny little sayings, and to rant when I feel pent-up or extremely alone in this very LDSian society.

Due to that I've been expecting some harsh feedback but never got it. Waiting, waiting, and then I get an email from someone I would call my friend. Albeit an older much more intelligent friend. After going through the 9 pages of rebuttal I feel reprimanded to say the least. Not having an assignment due in the next hour I wish to start my apply, which will be publicly posted over several posts here on my blog.

But first an explanation. I am not one for blogging, but I was happy to rant on here and to have people thank me for my posts an such. Kind of exhilarating in a way. I was also happy to hear back from people who thought one post or another was pretty funny. This is one of the reasons I keep going, the 'people,' lol.

But this is also a problem, because people are reading my words, and, gods-forbid, may even mull over my words and quote them! Not a real issue, and honestly I find some things quotable, but should they be quoted? In the 9-page philosophical rebuke the friend did roughly what I like to find in my readings, he attacked my bad stances and easy to misread statements, and not-thought-out sayings. Not giving any leeway to my positive comments, which is good because I don't want to be praised for one thing and then cut down in 10 others. I'd rather be told where I'm messing up and not be sprinkled with happy thoughts interspersed. However, this is not how I normally treat other people or subjects.

Enter personal cognitive dissonance #1. My blog has purposely been set up this way, and I've stated this before, because I don't want to spend much time on it. I don't want to sit down and ponder over some issue, write it out, revise it, and then make a post a week. I enjoy coming home, eating a bowl of cereal and spewing out some half-rate post with some funny lines in it. However, this is completely against how I've always acted in my life. In high school I was very moderate, on my mission I was very moderate, now I am very angry in a lot of ways, and completely ecstatic and joyous in other ways. The mix of my cloud high happiness and bitter betrayal does not help to much for me to reevaluate the world and my view of it. I like criticism and being attacked because it gets me to think about things I haven't been, or helps me to make a decision. I have taken a rude and dogmatic tone for atheism on purpose, but the 9-page rebuke makes me wonder if I should continue my blog in the haphazard way it has been going, or to slow down, make a couple thought-out personal posts a week. It would be more personal, in a lot of ways, take more time for fewer posts, but it would be more true. Ugh, the work involved, lol. And now I'm left to think over some things....

Number two soon follows - reading my statements I am very easy to attack. Bad for 3 reasons - one I already said, I hope people aren't using my statements in their own lives, especially my easily disproved or harsh statements. Second, this blog obviously does nothing for religious people. I've known this, but being told by someone makes me rethink the value of that (this is tied back to cog dis #1). Subscript third, reading my statements being quoted and taken out of context (not out of context in the 9-page rebuke mind you) I would think the writer is a total douche. First I congratulate myself on being able to write that way. Good job j-dog! But then I am taken back to the value of my writing. Am I only taking a shit on the ethereal universe of internet words and blogs? Adding my own refuse to the other 99% refuse that make up the online community? I have to say I am, and when thinking of value I am tempted to take my blog more seriously.

Being so easily misquoted, or quoted in this case, coming off so much like the dogmatic, hateful atheists that I dislike or that Mormons may think we are, and acting in a way that I do not act with other people in person, I am left to reevaluate my writing and blog. I don't expect to change any future ideas. And I certainly will continue making posts on weird experiences I have, but I feel prompted, from within, to change what I am doing.

Due to my climbing out from under faith I am growing much more aware of what is meaningful in my life, and how I want to live it.

So this is getting long, but I must make a couple points right away, one's that really irked me when reading the 9-page rebuke. I do not want to misjudged on these points:

From my credo - "I have no use for a religion that looks down on women in the work-field and men in the home." Perhaps it is because I had a similar discussion with a person I have 'special' feelings for, but I do not want to change my views on this just because I left the LDS church. St. Pickle likes to point out that often people do a 180 on their ethics and opinions, doing the opposite of what they were raised to do. I haven't changed my mind on some very large opinions, have on others, and maybe dogmatic atheism is leaking into me on yet some other issues.

The problem with this statement is that it leaves the other side open to being interpreted, that women in the home could be a bad thing. This is connected to the girl in my class who said she didn't plan on finishing college. Now, I do not know the mind of this girl, she may have decided this on her own, or she could feel she has to be at home due to being raised by an LDS family. Considering the class is a career exploration class I think she probably is torn, so I am leaning towards blaming the church for her view, but again, do I really know? No.

Is it wrong to be a stay at home mom? Even if you're secular or atheist? The following statement has always been my view, and it is tainted with LDS influence: there is nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom but it is also not wrong for a women to be in the work-field. That is how I have felt since high school, and the second part is probably becoming redundant now that I'm non-religious. But what about women who are geniuses in their field and could give so much to society? I still am torn here, I feel personal motivation to help society in any way I can. And that leads me to this belief - when concerned with life goals, do what you enjoy and what brings meaning to your own life. If a woman with an IQ of 220 decides, on her own (the qualifier) to be a stay-at-home mother, then who am I to say any different? Who am I to tell her what she enjoys, what she finds meaningful? I shame myself for even leaving the door open to the possibility of being misunderstood here.

People may disagree with me, and maybe I haven't made myself clear in times past, but long ago I decided, which a quick private journal read can show, of what my view of people's life choices were. For each of us, is this life about doing what the world needs, or about our personal goals that we find meaning, enrichment, and joy from? Raising kids in the home is pretty meaningful, has a lot of worth, and can help to give back to the world in which they find themselves. That is giving back to society.

But does it have to have a large purpose or reward? As Danny Devito says in Mathilda, 'some people are only really good at making potato salad.' Is that a useless thing to pursue? I like to give value to things, but what I feel is valuable is different for the next person. With different views of values and what is valuable, then I don't think anyone has a right to tell others what to do to have a meaningful life.

Unfortunately this is running long, and I have classes to get to. I guess my pictures I use can be seen as more dogmatic atheist propaganda, but I find them too damn funny so I plan on posting them. Too bad, friend.

One last clarification, sorry if people enjoy my rants for what they are, I still find them funny, and heartfelt in certain ways. But I expect by the time I'm done replying to the 9-page rebuke my blog will have evolved into something new, much akin to macro-evolution. Hopefully this won't be a dead-end species.


  1. Hey J-Dog, don't get too down on yourself. I had more than my fair share of cathartic rants when I left Mormonism, and still do from time to time. My biggest concern is that once the ranting is done, a real conversation should begin. If you're not to that stage yet, don't let me get in the way. I'm enjoying your blog and hope it stays around, pictures and all.

  2. Haha, no. If I was perfectly fine with my blog I wouldn't have been pointing out that I was not fine with my blog (in the sense of how I thought it (I) was being shallow. I still plan on ranting, but I think it will be good to reply to your email to help me clarify to myself where I am in the process, and I expect to take my blog more seriously by the end.

  3. I've enjoyed what you've written so far, the ranting, pictures, and all, but I'm excited to see what this blog evolves into. :)

    I like that you're a feminist. Although, maybe that isn't what you think of yourself as being.

  4. I'm probably self-righteous enough to have written that 9-page letter, but still, it wasn't me. I've enjoyed your posts Joey, as I told you. I do look forward to the new ones too.

  5. Some of my non-religious podcasts have included feminism episodes I've listened to, and I've enjoyed them. I usually just don't like talking to actual feminists cause I feel like they hate me for having a penis, or at least sometimes I feel that way.
    Well, the 9-page rebuke was actually quite nice to receive, and I'll be replying to a lot of it on here, even the things that are damaging to me, it will be fun.

  6. j-dog, I do not hate you for having a penis. But I know of whom you speak. I'm not a fan of them either. They ruin feminism for everybody. 3:

    Although-- I basically got called a misandrist for saying that I doubted the majority of rapes at BYU were faked by women. Sad day. Now I need constant reassurance that I'm not. (Tell me I'm not! TELL ME I'M NOT!!!!)

    Also, as a side-note, if I were a male raised in the church who became atheist, I think I might have some issues with females. So it's actually quite impressive when a guy from that kind of dogmatic upbringing doesn't. Takes a powerful psyche sometimes to shake all of that off.

  7. Oh, i do have issues, feminism annoys me cause of the sometimes latent sexism it has in it. But i do love women (though i prefer the word girls) in a lot of ways and i get more annoyed when i see something obviously sexist being done against them and no one even thinks so or cares. That gets me riled up quickly.

  8. It's funny how a group of people can say "Women are equals and want the same rights as men!" and then say, "Men are terrible and keeping women down!"

    Third wave feminism (the current wave) is supposed to include men. And personally I feel like it's kind of bullshit that we can say that when a woman has behaviors of submission and naivety it's due to societal pressure and influence, whereas when men are dominating and violent that's just apparently inborn and natural? No, I call bullshit. I refuse to criminalize half of the world's population that way.

    Naturally there are differences between the sexes in general, we're a sexually dimorphic species after all. But I think it's definitely overstated, certainly socially influenced, and at times pretty irrelevant.

    I was at a triple date with a bunch of Mormons from BYU and BYU Idaho... And one of the guys told that joke, "God made Adam, and then thought, 'I can do better' and then made Eve." This is a guy! Hating against his own sex! No one cared except me!

    And it doesn't even make sense considering the advent of monotheism is one of the most blatant culprits of misogyny I know of... Not to mention the whole Lilith thing... Let's get this right, people: Adam was %(*&$ing the animals. God made woman who was equal. Equal woman didn't want to be on bottom. She gets banished, loses the ONE power that is considered sacred and exclusive to women, and then God makes Eve. From a rib. So we know from the start that man and woman are not equal. Sure, granted, Lilith isn't in any modern Bibles that I know of, but these stories were around before it was written. Also it's fiction, so...

    ...Sorry. I talk a lot. I haven't found any cool atheist friends here in St. George. :( They're all back in Utah county.

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