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Cognitive Dissonance at Christmas

While flying for the first time in 20 years, I certainly saw the convenience of smartphones, compared to the clumsy laptop I was dragging around. It was a good example of 'cognitive dissonance.' But this Christmas I experienced an extreme example of cognitive dissonance. 

Let's shift a little bit first: I congratulate anybody who makes it through life without having to clean up the ghastly mess left by a relative who has died recently. So much of the mess was avoidable. But we all tend to ignore our own mortality, so a bit of orderliness doesn't get a chance.

The cognitive dissonance comes in when the relative's death occurs near Christmas. Look at all the maniac shoppers driving around, stressed out of their minds, crashing into each other in the parking lots. Yesterday I actually saw a pickup truck turn a road's shoulder into a driving lane by jumping his right-hand wheels over the curb, and up onto a sidewalk.

It would never occur to these shoppers that their precious 'bargains' (and fun luxuries) are headed to next year's yard sale. Or maybe they won't. Maybe they will just pile up in basements and closets. And then the 'lucky' relatives will get to rent a payloader and dispose of all that crap when the shopper dies.

Think of the Indian tradition of putting a carcass on a funeral pyre, and then lighting the match. Maybe that is a good idea for material detritus.


Ed said…
My condolences for your loss. I also offer them for you having to fly, much less during the Christmas Holiday period. Don't stress too much over the material detritus, remember that there are estate sale services that can relieve you of a lot of that.

Merry Christmas!
Thanks for the sympathy, Ed. This experience isn't fun, but it is thought-provoking.

I definitely need to learn about estate sale services.
Dave Davis said…
I was lucky enough yo have a Father that prepared for all this. He moved in with us the last 4 months of his life. I had no idea our time would be that short but he divested all real estate and everything he had was basically cash.
I know that was just another act of love on his part.
He set a wonderful example.
XXXXX said…
Very true, David. I agree it was an act of love on your father's part. It's very interesting to observe how we all deal so differently with the end. Those who believe it is heroic to fight it every step of the way which usually includes hanging onto all possessions (as well as using every medical means to continue on) and those who start divesting. I truly believe that accepting inevitable death is absolutely necessary to age well. It's more than that really. Your father took care of you but it required that he deal with his mortality within himself first. To say this is "aging well" is to minimize the growth, maturity, and the logical/rational development of the person. My hat is off to men like him. I strive to follow their good example.

Thanks for your comment to David, George. That is an under-practiced pattern on blogs. It is particularly helpful to me when the first comment falls into a weak area for me.