Haley Scholars Fall 2012 Reading Groups
By Danielle Hall
In Sheena Iyengar's The Art of Choosing, each section of chapter 3 expounds on notions of dissonance and the earlier concept of collective choices. The chapter title bears the name of Walt Whitman's poem "Song of Myself."
At one point, Iyengar discusses the parallels between Whitman's rhetoric of self contradiction as an organic and multi-layered concept. She suggests that ours is more complex when we are unable to or less likely to find balance or reconciliation within our multidimensional selves. Here, she states that many people enter into a state of "cognitive dissonance" when caught between conflicting forces, which are typically our beliefs and actions (97-98).
Even at the core of what we consider to be our own unique qualities and individualisms or what we understand about our path to self discovery are in fact interconnected by both internal and external relationships. Those relationships are related to what we believe about ourselves, the manifestation of our actions, and societal perceptions of who we are. These ideas, more or less, are malleable as we change and develop over time or on a daily basis, with whom and how we interact and navigate throughout various spaces or settings.
What are your responses to chapter 3, especially the idea of cognitive dissonance, the need to "create a consistent story about who we are," or "the evolution of choosing" as it relates to individual or collective decisions?