May 02, 2008

Manufacturing Content

“People strive to get comfortable on the exterior since they are not comfortable within. So when the exterior is uncomfortable, it points to the internal dis-ease and discomfort.

"That would be the main reason for cutting off from just about any piece of information.”~(a posted comment on Sunday Birthday Bash)

Manufacturing Content: Dismissal of whatever makes us 'Discontent' with reality

“Aunt Tatie, I know this really, really nice lady and even though she’s fatter than you are, she got married three months after her divorce!”

“There was this lady on Fox News, Aunt Tatie, and she only had a high school education but after her husband ran away, she became a CEO for a Fortune 500!”

“I read about this woman, Aunt Tatie, and she got divorced when she was super old, too. Then she earned a fortune writing cookbooks and making sandwiches.”

“We are free to be whatever we want because, “This Is America!”

* * *
In other words: a man, lots of money, shit-ass luck and dedication to The American Dream is the measure our success. Any woman with a husband's boot marks on her back can restore her dignity by disavowing abuse, dusting herself off and pressing forward without causing a ruckus in the social machinery manufacturing content. 

I resisted bursting bubbles floating around my contentedly blissful family but for every Success Story increasing the distance between fiction and reality, there were five thousand women lining up at homeless shelters; fifty thousand unable to get proper medical care; twenty thousand receiving public assistance and another two dozen blogging about narcissism. (NOTE: statistical references are not accurate. I'm sure they're much worse).

Why won’t a woman accept her job on the manufacturing line repeating ad nausea: "Fifty per cent of the problems in our marriage were mine. I should have tried harder to keep him happy.”

In other words, she says whatever she is supposed to say in order to maintain Social Contentment. I’m sensitive to the reactions people have when a good woman becomes a midlife cliché, but pretending she is not facing overwhelming circumstances denies her reality. It isolates her even more and in a roundabout way (though not intentional, I'm sure), sets impossible expectations for her to meet. Expectations that defy reality. Most of us gave up jumping through hoops to prove our worth when we ended the N-relatioNship and we're not about to start that rigmarole again. 

Still, folks squirm in their seats when a woman refuses to blame herself or be so audacious as to say she was completely loveable. I’m neither irresponsible nor kidding myself about being sufficiently hard to live with, though. In fact, I’m hard enough to live with that any man worth his testosterone would be challenged to Get Over Himself and love me anyway. The only folks I know who consider themselves perfect enough to demand unconditional love are narcissists. The rest of us are quite aware we have peccadilloes and for the most part, we’re working on ‘em. Not fast enough to please the narcissist, of course---but fast enough to please God. Not that the narcissist is not god but don’t go telling him or her that unless you don’t mind lightening bolts singeing the top of your head.

“So when the exterior is uncomfortable,
it points to the internal dis-ease and discomfort.”

When it comes to tolerating my own discontent, I dig my heels into truth and pay attention to what I’m telling myself. It’s uncomfortable to have contradictory ideas in my head at the same time; such as: I’m a good person but something very bad happened anyway. The conflict between beliefs about good folks and the terrible things that happen to good folks, makes people uncertain (which is uncomfortable) since nobody wants to be in my shoes if they can help it. So they manufacture a little content and reduce their dissonance. Which feels better of course and helps everyone sleep better at night. I should know. Cognitive dissonance was an old bed-buddy of mine.

When the narcissist’s behavior conflicted with our perceptions, we reduced discomfort by dimissing contradictory evidence. We didn't even realize what we were doing to ourselves. I’ve had to shake myself a time or two in order to keep my head straight, so I am sensitive to people’s reaction to me as a Nice Person in a very un-nice situation. People’s blissful illusions are always threatened by Rule Breakers.

"Cognitive dissonance is the mental conflict that people experience
hen they are presented with evidence
that their beliefs or assumptions are wrong."

How does a nice woman end up being a Midlife Rule breaker? She lived the Golden Rule and did not get treated the way she treated others. This is disconcerting to people’s beliefs that they will be treated fairly if they treat other people fairly. They don't know how to reconcile two opposing ideas and unconsciously defend themselves against a truth threatening to obliterate their contentment zone
How do we stop Manufacturing Content?

1-Be AWARE that everyone is prone towards self-justification in order to protect their beliefs.

2-ACCEPT dissonance reduction as an automatic response to discontent. Psychologists suggest it is an unconscious drive like hunger and thirst.

3-LISTEN carefully to people’s disagreements contradicting your absolutely-certain-perceptions. people saying he's not a nice guy and you won't listen.

4-If you're CONVINCING yourself that the relationship is worth it, it's probably not.

5-ADMIT you made a mistake before your brain starts Manufacturing Content. Might as well be uncomfortable sooner rather than later. 

And how does a gracious woman reply to her nephews attempting to make everyone feel better, including their Aunt?

She accepts their validation, concern and kindness and tenderly thanks them for seeing who she really is: a competent woman who can pick herself up, dust herself off and be the good person they always knew her to be.



Tavris, Carol & Aronson, Elliot. Mistakes were Made (but Not By Me).

Festinger, Leon & Carlsmith, James. Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance


  1. About dismissal. These days I am experiencing some wisdom. It comes in a formula and it looks like this...I AM LARGER THAN MY MOMENTARY PERCEPTIONS AND ANY SITUATION.

    My silly ego starts to butt in here and think it is gong to take the cake for this one...but this isn't true because the experience to get to this super duper eastern sort of thinking didn't happen because I won a race or managed to veer my ship south in one moment. NOOOO way.

    So ego really can not comprehend this in it entirety
    because this is soul stuff and ego in comparison to soul is really quite limited. ego has its job but it is not the job or the awareness of the soul "soulfulness".

    Even if I am to form an "aware ego' that is like a mild suggestion in comparison yet more resourceful than the automatic beginners ego (that of the child) which by no means is dismissed LOL.

    When I do not embrace myself as being more than my ego (temporary loss of connection) then I get trapped by the tells me all about who I am.

    this happens when ego is looking at and experiencing being dismissed.

    I would say ego is correct in one way for being dismissed. It is an alarm clock and a sign that tells me what others are about, what land I am walking on, what is the potential and what is unavail. It informs me of others story but what it does not tell me is what I am worth or essentially the value of my experiences.

    Ego doesn't log experiential information. Not the big maps...just the mundane and only covers about one block of distance or one feild.

    It is the me who feel rejected or doesn't get what I want or is my adult voice with an the emotional child in the front seat that creates lack of awareness or rather discontent.

    I also think it is within the "aware ego" range to create this bridge which means... not getting triggered by black and white..this means a. or b. = k. , absolutes.It also requires the inner child and the adult to become joined.

    I'll bet if I paid people to listen they would...that aught to tell you/me something about where people are coming from. I mean politicians do it very day.Here , join my club and I will fund your project.

    What also hurts is thinking that our friends and loved ones would actually buy my words rather than really be interested.

    I bring this example up because at some point this is how it seems. If something makes them feel good then it is heard and tossed around pleasantly like the beach ball. If we give them sand and a ball, hey we have their attention..

    Because not being comfortable tends to land in a place which is considered bad..the ego says...NO GO. So communication stops. Growth stop.

    so, people run around trying to get out of and change the fact of life is uncomfortable.That ends up bing what life is about ..avoiding discomfort and the soul is silenced/sacrificed for the sake of 1 mile ego.

    I tell my classes at least once every two months..."life is uncomfortable and we are learning how to be OK and fine with in discomfort" They laugh...but at this point if I have worked with them for about a year or more...they have connected the dots.

    What this means is when a person is experiencing discomfort the first move is not to try to get out of it. Now another thing I teach is being able to tell the difference of real pain and discomfort. What has happened is that Americans are very soft. Not quite ready for revolution.

    everything I teach with the body transfers over to the mind. It is that mind body thing we hear about so much in the magazines and on the cover of books.

    Human limit their life experience when discomfort is avoided. When what is discomfort has become painful is living in an extremely small box and a very limited sence of what they can be do or what ever.No tolerance, no endurance.

    So with this in mind..the equation points to sitting with discomfort long enough to see how small it is.
    Knowing what is truly painful and a threat is something else but no one gets a chance to do this because they are all about eradicating discomfort and they never get the chance to understand what is really pain, in other words dangerous until their bones have brittled from lack of use..same thing with the mind..

    I am not sure this is the right response to this particular blog-2-date..but...the word dismissal caught my attention.

    One of my least favorite past times is encountering my outward expression making others uncomfortable. Next thing ya know...i am uncomfortable and taking the responsibility for every ones discomfort and still being irritated that I wasn't welcomed with flowers for what I had to say. *finger nails across the chalk board.

    I had a lot of motivation to drop this form. I mean it was a energy suck.

    Anonymous eyes

  2. "I resisted bursting bubbles floating around my contentedly blissful family, but for every Success Story increasing the distance between fiction and reality, there were five thousand women lining up at homeless shelters; fifty thousand unable to get proper medical care; twenty thousand receiving public assistance and another two dozen blogging about narcissism. (NOTE: statistical references are not accurate. I'm sure they're much worse)."

    But we've at least begun. One post at a time, one blog at a time, one blogger at a time.

    Brava, CZ!

  3. HI CZ -- on Friday I wrote a loonnnng response -- I think it disappeared into cyberspace!

    ANd naturally, I did not save my response before hitting send...

    I just wanted to tell you -- this is one insightful and inspiring post.



  4. Holy cow, CZ. You wrote this nearly five years ago, and it's SO apropos. The last segment is just brilliant. "How does a nice woman end up being a mid-life rule breaker"? And then that list of how not to manufacture content. I wish I'd read you back then. It makes me sad to know that if only I'd known you were there, blogging, if only I knew there were others, but especially YOU, I could've made so much more progress so much more quickly. I feel like I spent years puzzling out my NP, and despite all I understood, I've only this last year started believing what I know. It's hard, but it's reality. And I'll take it over fantasy any day. love CS

    1. Hi CS!

      I was listening to and reading Noam Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent" when the title of this post came to mind.

      You are pulling up some old posts for sure but it's still fun re-reading them. As you're noticing, it's taken a long time for my blog to have as many views as it gets today. I hardly got any comments for a very long time and most of my posts didn't get any comments at all.

      The ACoN community has grown in popularity so new bloggers have 10,000 views in short order and comments can range in the double-digits right from the beginning!

      Once in awhile, you comment on a post I hardly remember writing. *grin*


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...