Thursday, April 30, 2009

Action Opinion Theory-P2 speech(Toastmaster)

Have you ever felt uneasy because you were holding two contradictory ideas at the same time?
Have you ever done something, which was conflicting with your belief?

For example, if you believe that animal rights but you eat meat.
Your action is conflicting with your belief.
Today, I will take you to the ride where you will learn about these conflicting ideas and how you can resolve them.

The name of the ride is action-opinion theory and it has three stages.
First stage, If you are bit conscious about your beliefs, You can recognize conflicting ideas arising inside you whenever you violet any of your belief.
Second stage, As a result of conflicting ideas, you may feel uneasy without any apparent reasons.

If your belief is very important to you and you have deviated from it completely, you may feel very angry, guilty or other negative emotional states.
Consider the same example, I have mentioned in starting. If you believe in animal rights but you eat meat. Deep down, you may feel guilty about it. Especially, when you confront evidence demonstrating that consuming animal flesh is bad to human health, is bad for environment and is very bad for billions of animals that are killed every year for food.

By now, you have completed two stages of your ride.
First – you are aware of your conflicting ideas
Second – You may feel uneasy because of them
At 3rd stage, you will have 3 closed doors in front of you.
First door is labeled as ‘change your beliefs’
Second door is labeled as ‘change your actions’
And third door is labeled as ‘ change your perception’
You can enter into any of them to resolve your conflicting state.
If you decide to enter into first doo – change your beliefs.
You will find people discussing about how the have changed their beliefs.
For instance , they used to feel guilty about eating meat , but now, they have accepted that it is fine to kill animals for food.
You are welcome to join them and you will be out of your conflicting state.
Because you don’t believe in animal rights any more and you are eating meat.

If you decide to enter into second door – change your actions. You will find people discussing that they have stopped certain actions because of guilty, frustration or other emotions.
You are welcome to join them and you will be out of your conflicting feelings because you believe in animal rights and now you don’t eat meat any more.

If you feel that both of these options are of extreme type and you can’t follow them.
Please try last door- change your perception. It could be suitable for you.
If you enter into this door, you will find people rationalizing their actions.
These people will perceive their actions from different angle so that it is no longer conflicting to their belief. For instance, They can argue that we have been eating animal meat for thousands of years why to change tradition now? Or they can provide you articles which claim that meat proteins are easily digested or they can tell you that many people in Europe and north America regard meat eating as fundamental to maintain physical fitness.

Basically, they will have enough reasons to justify their actions without changing their beliefs.
You are welcome to join them and you will be out of your conflicting state.
This option is most common because you can continue eating meat without changing your belief of animal rights.
Before you step out of the ride, let me brief you about its history. This ride is called cognitive dissonance also and was formulated by Festinerger in 1957.
Finally, you have completed your ride successfully.

Just remember if you believe that you are a perfect person and happen to take any wrong decision. You have three doors:
First) change your belief -accept that you have few imperfections
Second) make sure not to take any wrong decision again
Third) And at the end if nothing works, rationalize that there can be exceptions when problem is complicated but you are still perfect

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