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Justifying the War

Cognitive dissonance is everywhere:

How do soldiers come to terms with having taken a life in combat? Research has suggested that when people consider themselves to be “good” but are forced to do something “bad” to others, they adopt negative opinions about their victims to rationalize their actions. But according to a new study, this tendency may not apply to soldiers or at least not to those who have served in the Iraq War. American soldiers who have killed in Iraq do not think more poorly of Iraqis than Iraq War soldiers who have not killed—they do, however, think worse of Americans who speak out against the war.

Wayne Klug, a psychologist at Berkshire Community College, asked 68 Iraq War veterans about their experiences, their thoughts on the war and their opinions about Iraqis and Americans. Compared with soldiers who never saw combat and those who witnessed a death but were not involved, veterans who “were directly involved in an Iraqi fatality” were much more likely to consider the war to be beneficial to both countries. The finding is consistent with prior evidence that people tend to value outcomes that require great effort or distress. But although previous research predicts that these soldiers might disparage their victims, investigators were surprised to find that these veterans instead resented Americans whose opinions about the war suggest that their killings may have been unjustified. (Soldiers Who Have Taken a Life More Likely to Defend Iraq War)

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Anatomy of a Seduction

Here’s an interesting interview with Jason Beghe about leaving Scientology. Sounds very familiar.

I’m having a moment.… of coming out of Scientology. There are moments where you just feel a loss. And it’s not a loss of “I miss Scientology” by any stretch. It’s a loss— It’s a regret of having invested so much in something that is empty.…

There’s a book that [L. Ron Hubbard] wrote that’s called [A] History of Man. And he talks about a lot of these traps that can catch a Thetan,… The best Theta traps are ones that the Thetans runs on autopilot. Like if I’m trying to enslave somebody, the last thing I want to do is to have to worry about… keeping the key [and] the lock. The best traps, you get a guy to just keep himself in jail. And that’s what Scientology does. You just keep yourself in jail.… It’s a perfect Theta trap because you believe it, and you’re investing your time and your money. So you can’t be a fool: that’s too much to confront.

The more I got in, the stupider I got. As I get out, that’s my perception. I mean—Christ!—you don’t even ask questions.… What I gather as I wake up—you know, it’s a funny thing—in Scientology, you feel as though you’re waking up to the truth or reality or what really is. But what you’re doing is waking up to the reality of Scientology.

[Scientologists] are good people. These are some of the best people you can meet. These are people [who] really want to help.

I’ve never been closer [to my family than] now that I’m out [of Scientology].

There was a moment where I could have woken up there [upon hearing about Xenu]. But you choose not to. And that’s part of the reason Scientology’s expensive.… If you’re paying a lot of money for it, it makes it more valuable.

You’re driving the car. It’s just that you don’t realize that the car, as a Scientologist,… it’s got a pre-rigged route.… And so you feel like this is this easy life. I’ve just got to sit here and the car basically drives itself. All I got to do is show up at the church, and I’ll be happy.

Jason Beghe the Scientologist is willing to lose David[, his best friend], is willing to sacrifice certainly the quality of my relationship with Mom and Dad, and brothers and sisters, and God knows who else that I could have made friends with that weren’t Scientologists,…

For somebody who’s in [Scientology], as far gone as I say you are as you go up [in the levels of Scientology], the difference between waking and being asleep up is the difference between being waking up and asleep. And it’s like sometimes when you’re asleep you can still hear the shit that’s going around because you’re only half asleep, you’re not that fucking brainwashed. So I’m here to tell you, this is what I say: wake up!

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Self Delusion

The ability to delude yourself may be an important survival tool.—Jane Wagner

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Overheard at the Office

Worker A: Do anything interesting this weekend?

Worker B: Not much. I saw The Golden Compass. It looked really good. It’s kind of along the same lines as The Chronicles of Narnia.

Worker A: Sounds interesting.

Worker B: Yeah. I have a Mormon friend who wouldn’t go see it with me. Said it was anti-religious. I mean I’m not much for organized religion, but I didn’t see anything to worry about.

[*sigh* I haven't seen the movie, but it sounds like it has about the same message as Happy Feet.]

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Which Was a Sinner

I just watched The People vs. Larry Flynt. I don’t have a lengthy review. I just wanted to express my happiness that I can watch and enjoy a film like this.

A couple years ago I would never have watched this movie, at least not while anyone was looking. If I had watched it, I would have been fixated on its sexual content and felt overcome with guilt for having given in to my carnal appetites. I would have agreed that Larry Flynt worked for Satan to entrap the souls of mankind. Now, I can watch it and find goodness in the life of Larry Flynt. I have removed the barriers between me and the beauty inside other people. Ironically, I’m a better follower of Jesus now that I don’t believe in him. I’m willing to lovingly embrace those who are judged the sinners of society. For that, I am grateful.

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