What Motivates People to Justify Themselves?

Every once in a while, I take this blog totally off topic and just have a ponder about something. This is one of those posts. If you want pictures of something, today is not your day. See you in a couple of days or scroll down to some of the previous posts to get your fill!

This post was triggered by someone I vaguely know and who is a friend on Facebook. They posted a string of posts over a number of days about why they didn’t like soccer (football for the readers in any part of the world except the US). The posts laid out each reason why they thought “footie” was a load of crap and compared poorly to any sport they did like. Someone even chimed in with a comment about baseball having less action and got a response that seemed to be cognitive dissonance at its best.

Am I bothered that someone doesn’t like soccer? No – when it comes down to it I am not that bothered about it either. I played it endlessly as a kid and will still watch some of the major tournament games but fundamentally it really isn’t my thing any more. What I am perplexed about is why someone went to such great lengths to say they didn’t like it. Did it matter that much? Did they think that their damning indictment of the game was going to change the minds of a few billion people who would instantly see the light and cease to care about “the beautiful game”?

Instead, it seems to be another one of those times when people care far more about what their choices may mean in the eyes of others. This is a bit like the sort of brand loyalty debates you see. The Ford versus Chevy debate is one that constantly amuses me. It doesn’t matter whether one or the other is making good or bad products. You are a Ford or Chevy guy. (Unlucky Dodge!) There was even an ad during the Super Bowl that equated this to surviving the apocalypse! Bizarre.

In my little world of photography this is a common theme. Canon versus Nikon seems to be something that takes up an inordinate amount of time. If I bought one, maybe by showing how crap the other is I will somehow be a more valid person? What crap. Engaging in the discussion says far more about you of course. Supporting sports teams is even more of an example since someone can watch their team lose consistently for years and still declare them to be the best and their local rivals useless (despite them being two leagues higher!).

Politics has gone the same way recently. No longer can anyone disagree. Instead they are an enemy. You either agree or you are some sort of traitor/baby eating monster! This is nonsense. The team mentality also means you must concur with every point. Is it possible that any side can have a monopoly on being right? Sounds highly unlikely. However, once you have signed up to a side, you have to support every point irrespective of how much it might go against what you originally believed. This is a sad outlook for us all.

Am I falling into the same path here? I am writing this post trying to highlight what I believe about a topic. Am I no different to someone writing about why they hate soccer? Maybe I am. Maybe I am the one with a good case of cognitive dissonance. Oh well, I guess I am stuck with that. It’s like being too stupid to know you are stupid. Do you think it isn’t you or are you too unaware to know that it is you. You can never know the difference!

I promise I shall return to posting pictures after this. If you are still reading, thanks for indulging me. If not, it doesn’t matter what I write next since you won’t see it anyway!

One thought on “What Motivates People to Justify Themselves?

  1. Jonathan Price

    Spot on. Having an opinion is more important than the subject. Although it helps if you can have an negative opinion of something that is widely enjoyed or currently fashionable. More likely to gain an audience! Which is why I think global warming theories are tosh!


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