Besides the obvious way of taking just the right amount of drugs, or taking way too many drugs, there is another way that has come to my attention that makes the average show, “like the best show I’ve ever seen, ever.”
In my Social Psych lecture today, we were talking about self-justification and the lengths that people will go to in order to confirm their beliefs. We started having a discussion about the theory of cognitive dissonance which essentially means that incoming information that differs from how you already feel makes you uncomfortable as fuck. Essentially, you don’t want to hear information that goes against how you feel. A few things can happen in a situation like this.
Say you smoked two packs a day. You are constantly confronted by a barrage of advertisements, articles and health warnings that attempt to directly dissuade you from smoking. You can either listen to these warnings, realize that you’re fucking up pretty hard and stop. Ignore the warnings and pretend like you never even heard them. Or convince yourself that the source is wrong, and that you are better than that.
So essentially, what you feel and believe colors your reality.
To the main point of the lecture:
My Professor detailed the time when he went up to Patsy’s Restaurant in Spanish Harlem, for the restaurant’s anniversary celebration. For this celebration, the restaurant reverts to the prices it first had in the year that it was opened in 1933… So we’re talking like, whole pizza for 40 cents, a 12 oz. steak with two sides for maybe 80 cents, and a can of coke for 10. This is obviously the best thing ever, so there are a lot of people waiting in line. My professor then detailed the amount of time it took for him to be seated. The total time that he ended up waiting was 4.75 hours. Yea, almost 5 hours.
A student asked, “Was it worth it?” It was if she was in on the lecture and had asked the perfect question.
He said, “I couldn’t tell you objectively. Why? Because, in the 4.75 hours I was waiting, I thought a lot about what I was doing. A lot. My friends had left me and said, ‘Fuck this,’ after two hours. So, I asked myself, should I leave? and I thought to myself, ‘No, I’ve come this far.’ I said, no, what I am doing is worth it. Im not a douchebag. I wouldn’t just go and wait in this line if it wasn’t worth it. And when I did finally get in there and get served my 80 cent steak, it was the best thing I have ever had.”
He had essentially convinced himself that what he was doing was going to be worth it and that what he had felt miserable, and suffered for a meal. In order to relieve the obvious cognitive dissonance, this meal needed to be the best. It would have been a waist of an afternoon had he gone, waited 5 hours for a shitty meal.
So, in this same vain of thought, I began to think about the many concerts I had been to and as of late, I had begun to feel sort of jaded, like I was never going to be blown away again. Thinking back to all of the concerts I had been to recently, I realized that the physical and mental anguish normally involved in going to general admission concerts after a long day of physical labor had been noticeably absent. The last concert I saw was Explosions in the Sky, 10 minutes away from my apartment, after a long day of relaxing. I sat in a comfy seat, and enjoyed myself, but I wasn’t blown away. And this was Explosions, who are supposed to be the dopest ass live band you could see.
Then I started thinking about the time I saw Jay-Z at Bonnaroo. Bonnaroo is in Tennessee which is a decidedly hot and humid environment. Honestly, the suffering in many ways, outweighs your enjoyment. So, it was hot as shit, ad we decided, let’s wait in line to see Jay- Z from the front row. Instead of saying, thats stupid, we said Fuck yea. It’ll be so dope!. So we waited, and waited, and fucking waited. And as we waited, the line became more and more dense. At any given moment, at least 7 people were touching me in different spots. Needless to say, I was miserable. We ended up waiting for 4 hours, in 100 degree heat and 99 percent humidity and when we were finally let in, crowd control fucked up hard and there was a surge, where we were all lifted off the ground and rushed, ten feet forward. Honestly, it was one of the moments you dread when going to a concert. It is the type thing you think about when you hear about how 19 kids died at a music festival because they were squished to death.
So we finally got in, and we were in fact in front of over 100,000 people, in a nice, less densely populated zone.
And guess what, “Jay-Z was the best fucking show I have ever seen. Ever!” Yea, I said that. And I meant it. Forget the fact that Jay is a born performer and that I liked him. The more and more I think about it, I could have seen anybody and convinced myself that it was the best show I have ever seen so that the 4 hours of utter misery, and my near death experience were worth it.
And as it stood, it was. I was so happy with the show that I ended up staying out until 6 in the morning trying out raving.
So, essentially, through the processes of self-justification and the desire to maintain our opinion of ourselves, we will go to extraordinary lengths to alter our cognition of the world and see ourselves in a way that is consistent with the way we perceive ourselves. In this instance I wanted to continue to not think of myself as a douche bag who waits for 4 hours to listen to shitty music. I was a dedicated fan who waited a measly four hours to get my face melted.
I think that the show would really catch that small group of people who are not stricken with grief at the passing of their loved ones and appreciate a heavy dose of irony in both their TV and funerals