Infiltrating a UFO Cult
The term "cognitive dissonance" was invented by a psychological researcher who infiltrated a UFO Cult in Chicago. The spacemen told the "prophet" that the UFOs would arrive at a certain time and date. The cultists gathered together and removed all metal from their persons (including any hardware that might be in bras).
Then they waited.
The time came and went. At first, they weren't worried. (Maybe Alpha Centauri time is an hour later.) Eventually, some of the cultists began sobbing. Later, they went home, crushed.
The surprising thing, as related in When Prophecy Fails, the book that resulted from the study, is that the group bounced back with more vigor and certitude than before. Having previously avoided publicity, they now sought it. They began to actively proselytize. It carried on for more several years. In fact it seems to be a common paradoxical reaction to a smashed belief system.
Referring to the chart above, cognitive dissonance is an unpleasant psychological state that results from an inconsistency between what you believe, and what happens. So, this would be believing UFOs are going to pick you up, and then that doesn't happen.
The chart shows three ways of relieving cognitive dissonance. (1) You can change your belief to match the real-world action. (2) You can change the action to bring it back in line with your belief. Or, (3) you can change your perception of the action so it harmonizes with your belief.
Catholics and Cognitive Dissonance
What does that mean for Catholics? (The Bear trusts he does not have to paint a picture of what he's talking about here.)
Some believe that things are happening that are inconsistent with their beliefs, i.e. what the Church has always taught. That produces cognitive dissonance. So what can Catholics do?
(1)They can say, "Well, what I thought before was wrong. I am now changing my beliefs to whatever the current teaching happens to be." That would take care of cognitive dissonance by changing beliefs to match the previously problematic action.
(2) Or, they can retain their beliefs, but change their perception of the action. "Yes, the Church looks like it is teaching different things than it did before, but these novelties are not magisterial; Vatican II was just a pastoral council; Pope Francis didn't really say that, and if he did, it was mistranslated." Note that unlike (1) above, no beliefs are changed, but perceptions are.
(3) Changing action is a tough one, because we don't have much influence over the Church. We might do our best to fight changes that conflict with our beliefs by supporting ephemera that challenge problematic actions; do whatever we can to disarm error (action) that conflicts with belief (that's how we know it's error).
Which of the Three are You?
The Bear's completely amateur theory is that every Catholic who reads this ephemeris, or many like it, is experiencing cognitive dissonance to the extent they have not successfully employed one or more of these three defensive measures. So how do they stack up?
(1) is out for Bear friends. Agreed? Good.
(2) is sometimes viable, and always in play by many mainstream ephemera.
(3) is what we got left, Woodland Creatures. Reading, posting, resisting: it's sort of (3), changing action. We feel we are doing something, and that is important in this context. Are we actually changing action of the current Franciscan regime? Very doubtful.
Sedevacantists have gone with (2). Have popes promulgated error? They were not real popes. Probably the most inherently logical and comprehensive response. So-called "conservatives" as the term is usually used these days, have also chosen (2), ironically enough. Whatever pretzel-logic is necessary in defense of the regime! And (1), well, that would be informed Catholics without spines.
Remember: most Catholics don't know enough to feel cognitive dissonance. We'll call them the 85%. Lucky them.
The Bear will use (2) where he can in good conscience, but relies mainly on (3), which is rather illusory, but sometimes makes him feel better.
Of course, then there is the cognitive dissonance caused by being not supposed to criticize the Pope, yet criticizing the Pope. Which is necessary for (3). But see (2).
Does it work? You tell the Bear.