Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance: A Start

In the last few months, I've found it challenging remembering normal, once- everyday words, terms and phrases. The example I'll give here is "cognitive dissonance," since, ironically, I experienced cognitive dissonance about forgetting "cognitive dissonance." 

I vaguely recall now that I'd originally learned about cognitive dissonance via Sterne's Tristram Shandy -- something about a hot chestnut in someone's trousers.

That I mention any of this at all should indicate to you that I have some free time on my hands, which is true.

One of the biggest downsides of unemployment (and there are many) is that a good portion of the knowledge you've accrued begins to dissipate: it seems to drift off into the vapor. Whether or not you'll gain any of it back is a matter of pure speculation and, sometimes, fear.

I've recently realized another problem - one that's apparently inherent in being unemployed and having a dog.  Spending a great deal of time hiking with and training a dog is a positive and rewarding thing to do; as the saying goes, a tired dog is a good dog. But there is a point at which using one- or two-word commands for a good portion of your day begins to inform the way you communicate with fellow human beings. A matter-of-fact and slightly firm, "Drop it" when a dog has a dead mole in her mouth is perfectly appropriate, whereas using that same tone to say, greet someone you like? Not so much. Or, though telling a dog "left, now" when a bike is coming down the hiking trail is okay (and preferable for the health and safety of all), demanding that someone "move, now" is most certainly not okay. Nor am I proposing that it should be:  we humans need a more robust way than sternly uttering a word or two to convey our ideas, thoughts, emotions, experiences, etc. -- and a complete sentence is still the best way I know of doing so.

So, in order to stave off further adventures into cognitive dissonance and just plain old-fashioned memory loss, I will post here occasionally about various topics, from Scrum to dog training, with a bit of literature and other miscellany peppered in (i.e., I've been thinking a lot lately about dog training as an iterative process..). Stay tuned.

*Please note that all dogs mentioned in this post were duly rewarded with yummy treats for their "drop its" and "lefts."

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