Cognitive Dissonance

Your Mind Protecting Itself from Reality

“I feel I own you an apology, Neo. We have a rule. We never free a mind once it’s reached a certain age. It’s dangerous. The mind has trouble letting go. I’ve seen it before and I’m sorry. I did what I did because I had to.” (Morpheus, The Matrix, 0:44:44)

Cognitive dissonance is the state of being when a person freaks out because most or all of their reality turns out to be fake. If intense enough people can literally go crazy from it, or lash out and call the reality “fake” rather than accept it. CogDiss is usually a subconscious mental defense mechanism people won’t even realize or accept.

Often CogDiss turns into Dunning-Kruger Effect. You should constantly check yourself with as much objective validation as possible, no matter how convinced you are that you are right or that your work is perfect — especially as a technologist. If not, people may die.

Cognitive dissonance is the scientific term for what Plato allegorically illustrates in Plato’s Cave.