We need to function as one harmonic entity: iLIVE

12 February 2013 - 15:19 By Robert Bruyns
Hands. File picture
Hands. File picture
Image: Bruce Gorton

Dear Jason Fivaz

Your piece on iLIVE is interesting, well written and addresses the overall known issues.

What disturbs me, however, is the prevalent social unrest we South Africans have experienced over many, many years.

We had a culture of factionalism and lawlessness long before even the Great Trek got underway and this endangered - by way of violent racism and liberation struggles over centuries - the societal disregard of community needs.

This situation is aggravated today by massive corruption issues and a lack of unified leadership which, as used by the hated apartheid regime, made it easy to divide society and thus continue a grip on political power.

Dissonance is aroused when people are confronted with information that is inconsistent with their beliefs. If the dissonance is not reduced by changing one's belief, the dissonance can result in restoring consonance through misconception, rejection or refutation of the information, seeking support from others who share the beliefs, and attempting to persuade others.

Important research generated by the theory has been concerned with the consequences of exposure to information inconsistent with a prior belief, what happens after individuals act in ways that are inconsistent with their prior attitudes, what happens after individuals make decisions, and the effects of effort expenditure.

Cognitive dissonance theory can therefore account for the psychological consequences of unconfirmed expectations which, in turn, will give rise to conflicting reasoning and thus leads to the frustration which manifests locally as murder, rape, child abuse, domestic violence, road rage etc.

Harsher legislation cannot cure social ills [which is why we abolished the death penalty] although it immediately creates the popular impressions that "government is taking action" and when, in the long term, we perceive the failure of these policies [inconsistency] we become personally conflicted and act irrationally.

One good example is the huge road carnage in our country. We are all very aware of the dangers of irresponsible road usage and yet our behavioural  patterns continue...

Our South African shared cultural background encourages us to turn our backs to disagreements and to retreat to areas where these "disagreements" are of no consequence - and this is how cult leadership manages its memberships within its private circle - even you can make such a leap?

Think of our country as a very large collection of differing cults. Labour and business; enemies! NGOs and government; enemies! Religious, political and social groups each hold themselves aloof!

We all been well taught the difference between right and wrong yet we persist in following the faulty dictates of leaders with a hidden agenda - usually self-enrichment - probably hoping some crumbs will fall our way? Think Malema et al a just one example...

But until we learn to function as one harmonic entity this discord will continue to render our society and the personal interactions within.

We are not alone!

It's easier to list those nations which have a high level of consonance rather that point fingers at those with grave social dysfunction but I'll leave you to personalise  your own selections...