Juxtaposition is the purest natural source of cognitive dissonance.


  • A wedding scene. The bride smiles. She's beautiful.
  • A rotting corpse.
  • Five customers in McDonalds
  • One man outside same establishment, eating from one of the bins.
  • I could go on, so I will.
  • Me at my computer, noding when I should be working.
  • A child in a Chinese brick factory, burnt and scarred.

Trite? You bet. Superficial? No. Real life? I'm afraid so.

"We cannot understand what happens in the universe. What is glorious in it is united with what is full of horror. What is full of meaning is united to what is senseless. The spirit of the universe is at once creative and destructive — it creates while it destroys and destroys while it creates, and therefore it remains to us a riddle. And we must inevitably resign ourselves to this.

Albert Schweitzer

Now, I disagree only with this little afterthought, concerning resignation. Al would tell me that I cling to an irrational life-affirming world-view, and he would be right.

I consider the alternatives to be insanity, or inanity, or apathy. Not sure which one's worse.

Fashionable thought says that people with bad self-image start off being realistic, and that it all goes down-hill from there. People with a good self-image simply maintain a healthy level of self-delusion.

The last alternative, the one I forgot to mention, is the one Al chose - action. This is by far the best, but raises the question: what am I doing writing away here, when I could be out there, making a difference? The inadequacy of the answer leaves much to be desired.