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Posts tagged "Mistakes Were Made"

From the Archives: Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had

From the Archives: Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had

Have you ever reminisced with a friend or family member about an event, only to find that you have two contradictory recollections? It can be harmless – e.g. what color shirt someone was wearing on our 10th birthday – or it can be painful – you were clearly mother’s favorite child vs. No, you were.

These things don’t have to be in the distant past. I attended a church service a few years ago in which a preacher spoke, regretfully, about refusing to marry an inter-religious couple early in his ministry. The couple also happened to be an interracial one. He…

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Another Week Ends: Cognitive Dissonance, Internet Addiction, Middle-Aged Mortals, and Unanswered Prayers

Another Week Ends: Cognitive Dissonance, Internet Addiction, Middle-Aged Mortals, and Unanswered Prayers

Update: Accompanying episode of The Mockingcast up on iTunes now!

ONE. On Monday, Mallory Ortberg, founder of The Toast (the-toast.net), posted a video in which she discusses her experience founding a blog. It’s safe to say that we’ve become fans of The Toast here at Mockingbird, and Ortberg’s language in this video, and her transparency, explains why. She speaks in a direct, very honest (and extremely funny) way, reminding us that when we look at the true ridiculousness of everyday life we experience the freedom to laugh at ourselves.

She starts by calling out performancism, the anxiety that accompanies trying to live…

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More 2011 Favorites: Books, Documentaries, Musical Discoveries and Web

More 2011 Favorites: Books, Documentaries, Musical Discoveries and Web

Books and Film

Favorite Piece of Fiction (Read During 2011): Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. Not just a favorite of the year, but a favorite, period. It’s a rare work of art indeed that can shed light on both The Royal Tenenbaums and the Jesus Prayer. Unbelievably wise, delightfully funny and deeply religious (in the best possible sense), I’m not sure Christ had a better spokesman in the 20th century than Zooey Glass. And has Salinger’s dialogue ever been bettered? I’m only embarrassed it took me this long to discover it. Favorite novel released in 2011 would have to be…

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Frank and Debra and the Assassin of Love

Frank and Debra and the Assassin of Love

We come now to the final part of our series on self-justification, as articulated in the stellar book Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts, and I think you’ll agree that we saved the best – certainly the most crucial – for last. (Part One, Part Two and Part Three).

As we’ve hopefully demonstrated, the drive for self-justification lurks behind an absurd amount of misdoing, hypocrisy, and, well, sin. It leads us to compromise our values, edit our memories, deceive others and ourselves, even to wage war, globally and domestically. We…

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Vivian Gornick and the Sandpile That Crushed the Life Out of Love

Vivian Gornick and the Sandpile That Crushed the Life Out of Love

A particularly arresting example of self-justification and its effect on love from Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts, which will be familiar to those who’ve listened to the talks from the recent Bham conference:

At the age of sixty five, the feminist writer and activist Vivian Gornick wrote a dazzlingly honest essay about her lifelong efforts to balance work and love, and to lead a life based on exemplary egalitarian principles in both arenas. “I’d written often about living alone because I couldn’t figure out why I was living alone,…

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Birmingham Conference Recordings: Grace, Rest and the End of Scorekeeping

Birmingham Conference Recordings: Grace, Rest and the End of Scorekeeping

A major thank you to everyone who helped us put on our conference in Birmingham, AL, especially all the good people at Cathedral Church of the Advent. What a delightful and inspiring time it was! Lots of laughter, a few tears, some great food and tons of new connections, we could not be more grateful. The audio files for the presentations are below, listed in chronological order, and are embedded to be playable on this site. You may download them by clicking on the title. We have also provided links to where you may purchase the media that was used…

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Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had: Justifying Our Lives Away, Pt 3

Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had: Justifying Our Lives Away, Pt 3

Continuing with our series on Self-Justification (part one, part two), we come to a subject of particular relevance this week: memory. Our text, as you’ll recall, is the excellent Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Elliot Aronson and Carol Tavris.

Have you ever reminisced with a friend or family member about an event, only to find that you have two contradictory recollections? It can be harmless – e.g. what color shirt someone was wearing on our 10th birthday – or it can be painful – you were clearly mother’s favorite child vs. No, you were.

These things don’t have to…

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Noisy Apartments, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Cost of Self-Justification

Noisy Apartments, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Cost of Self-Justification

Four years ago, my wife and I moved into an apartment on what is commonly considered the busiest block in Manhattan, 60th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave, also known as the off-ramp of Queensboro bridge. It is the main entrance point into New York for commercial traffic, as well as one of its prime shopping districts. Night and day, 18-wheelers rolled past our window and taxis honked their horns. Scores of tweens loitered outside Dylan’s Candy Bar, right across the street, and gazillions of tourists inexplicably flocked to California Pizza Kitchen next door.

It was a terrible decision. Sure, the…

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Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Justifying Our Lives Away, Pt 1

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Justifying Our Lives Away, Pt 1

The best piece of non-fiction I’ve read this summer – by a long shot – is the little social science paperback Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. The title gives away the appeal. The authors, Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, place “justification” at the very center of day-to-day life, arguing that you simply cannot understand yourself or other people without understanding the (universal) justifying impulse. They go so far as to attribute most of life’s problems and a great deal of human suffering to its prevalence and power, all…

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