|Etienne Wenger Brain Science Clinical Excellence Clinical Mastery Challenging Cases Attachment Theory Symposium 2012 David Schnarch Gender Issues Mind/Body Mindfulness Trauma CE Comments Linda Bacon Future of Psychotherapy Mary Jo Barrett Alan Sroufe Ethics The Future of Psychotherapy Men in Therapy Wendy Behary Couples Therapy Community of Excellence Couples Attachment Diets Narcissistic Clients Great Attachment Debate Anxiety William Doherty|
|The Art of Self-justification - Page 3|
Aronson and Tavris argue that we make hundreds of decisions in the course of our ordinary lives, each one of which causes us plenty of distress. Even casual purchases need justifications to reduce distress—Did you need that new jacket? Sure: You need to look good for the job, and besides, it was on sale! Reducing cognitive dissonance allows us to negotiate lives filled with instantaneous decisions.
Another reason (and perhaps the main one) that this book has currency now is politics. In fact, the main title, Mistakes Were Made, comes from three quotes placed before the introduction. The first is from Henry Kissinger: "Mistakes were quite often made by the administrations in which I served." That was his response to charges that he'd committed war crimes in Vietnam, Cambodia, and South America. The second quote is from Cardinal Egan of New York: "If, in hindsight, we also discover that mistakes may have been made, . . . I am deeply sorry." That's from the Cardinal's statement about how the Roman Catholic Church dealt with child molesters among its clergy. The third is by a McDonald's spokesperson: "Mistakes were made in communicating to the public and customers about the ingredients in our French fries and hash browns." This apology was directed to Hindus and other vegetarians, who weren't informed that the "natural flavoring" in the chain's potatoes contained beef byproducts.
All of these statements were deemed apologies, but clearly, a certain distancing was going on. Inherent in the responses was the human urge to scale down the scope of responsibility—and, no doubt, reduce the cognitive dissonance of those issuing the apologies.