I have made my reading plans for the holiday weekend. I ordered a book that will arrive by Friday. Since I will be a golf widow most of the weekend, I figured I'll have a lot of time on my hands to learn a little more about myself and those around me.
The book is Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. Saw it this morning over at Susie Bright's Journal and knew right away it was one of my have to have its.
From a reviewer at Amazon:
To err is human, to rationalize even more so. Now, thanks to this brilliant book, we can finally see how and why even the best meaning people may justify terrible behavior. Mistakes Were Made will not turn us into angels, but it is hard to think of a better -- or more readable -- guide to the mind's most devilish tricks.
In her post, Susie interviews one of the authors of the book about cognitive dissonance and how Larry Craig is affected by it.
We're all affected by it, though.
I still think about the time I sat in a room full of Republican friends that I knew had had affairs -- bashing Bill Clinton because of Monica Lewinsky.
I'm sure The Skimmer wonders about it because of how I can come home from spending a few hours at the mall with bags and bags of things I've bought.
"But, everything was on sale! I saved 50%!"
"There's no savings column in the checkbook!"
I've heard that comeback for almost 18 years now.
Let me repeat. Fifty. Percent.
I remember walking into a family get together two years ago on Christmas Eve and my brother-in-law asking me, "Am I allowed to say Merry Christmas to you? I know how you feel about Christmas!"
I just thought, What is he talking about. We were all getting ready to go to church together. And on top of that, you think it's a barren wasteland under my Christmas tree every year? (See my second point above.)
So, I can't wait to get my book and start learning more about why we do that things we do. But, I am a tad worried.
Back on January 1st of this year, I made a resolution to finish every book I start. And I've made good on that promise.
Out of about 4,212.
Not my fault! I'm busy and don't have a lot of time. And some of the books were hard to read. The type was too small -- the leading was too tight! And I think The Skimmer may have cleaned up the living room one day and put some of my books somewhere and now I can't find them. I would never do that to him. Ever.
Unfortunately we carry inside us that little organ which we call the heart, which is subject to certain maladies in the course of which it is infinitely impressionable as regards everything that concerns the life of a certain person, so that a lie — that most harmless of things, in the midst of which we live so unconcernedly, whether the lie be told by ourselves or by others — coming from that person, causes that little heart, which we ought to be able to have surgically removed, intolerable spasms.
Why do I continue to do this over and over? Buy a book, read it for awhile, set it down and pick up another? I know one reason.
Because I buy books when I am brainwashed by atmosphere. I'll be browsing a quaint, little cobwebbed bookstore in Greenwich Village and the romantic in me takes over. I pick up a book and read a little about it...
Turning to the flip side of the '20s' flapper image, Dumenil looks at the darker side of the decade forming the "central motifs that have shaped the modern American temper."
And suddenly I am burning with a fiery passion to learn all there is to know about these central motifs.
And I have convinced myself I will.
Go ahead. Give me a pop quiz about any central motif you can think of. I'd fail. I think I got to page 122.
Sometimes my romantic notions do result in my completing a book though. The last time I was in New York, I bought E.B. White's Here Is New York.
Early on Sunday morning, while The Skimmer and blue kid were still sleeping, I grabbed my new book, (Yes, I already have two copies at home. But, this one was 10% off. Ten. Percent.) left the hotel, stopped and bought some coffee, crossed the street and walked into Central Park. While the early morning sun streamed through the large oak tree above me, I sat on a park bench, drank my coffee and read my new book, while a man beneath a bridge nearby played beautiful music on his clarinet.
And I finished the book there and then.
All I need to be able to finish a book is dappled sunshine in Central Park. The sound of slow jazz carried on the wind.
I may not have Central Park this weekend, but I'll have plenty of coffee and hopefully, a little bit of dappled sun. And I intend to finish my new book because I have a fiery passion to learn more about why we do the things we do.
And if I don't learn why by page 122?
I know me!
I'll keep on trying to learn. I've got a discount card and Barnes and Noble.