Sunday, September 11, 2011


Memorial for the Breezy Point, New York, residents who died on September 11, 2001

Today is not a day for me to spout my opinions. Today is a day for prayer. Today I pray for peace, for healing, for hope... for everyone.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance: Hunting

My husband left the house this afternoon clad head to to in camouflage. Today is the first day of... some waterfowl season (duck, maybe?), and he left to go hunting with a good friend of ours.

My cognitive dissonance starts anew.

Cognitive dissonance is "the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time." We studied it in social psychology when I was an undergrad, and I thought it was a fascinating concept. My uncomfortable tension comes from the fact that I love my husband dearly and have a great respect for him. For years I have also had an unequivocal view that hunting is bad. Now my husband hunts. How do I rectify these two opposite ideas in my head?

In an episode of The West Wing (What else?) the president once somewhat facetiously referred to himself as a lily-livered, bleeding-heart, liberal, egghead communist. I could somewhat facetiously say the same thing about myself. I don't like violence. I don't like killing things. I don't like guns. Therefore, I never liked hunting. 

My husband started hunting last season with two dear friends of ours who grew up hunting. I knew that these men were incredibly knowledgeable and stringent about gun safety. It didn't really bother me that they hunted, but I didn't like the thought of my husband hunting.

As the season went on, Jason (my hubby) got more and more excited about hunting. He came home talking about the connection with nature that he felt sitting outside as the sun came up. I learned that, at least with our friends, conservation is an important part of hunting - caring for the land on which you are hunting and hunting in in overpopulated areas to help protect farmers' crops. And, as Jason pointed out, I like to buy organic free-range meat, and it doesn't get more organic and free range than what he would bring home.

After thinking about all of this, I decided that I had to push myself to break the cognitive dissonance. My love and respect for Jason are bigger than any dislike I have for hunting, and so I support him in his new hobby.

... If I'm honest, though, I do sometimes hope that the ducks will be this smart: