Lately just about everywhere there is an ongoing debate about reality.

Everyone is trying to find out what is real, fake, true, false, honest and dishonest.

There’s been a serious marketing campaign working diligently to confuse it all. Tuning in to any political programming this year meant almost certainly hearing everything from “the truth is what you feel” to “feelings are as valid as facts” and the greatest of them all “if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth.”

Combine that with the increasing awareness of ‘clickbait for profit’ schemes and people are becoming more attentive to the impact of propaganda and gaslighting on their lives.

Truth can aid in a lie. A well placed sliver of truth can lend a lie credibility, essentially being anabolic steroids for dishonesty.  A “big lie” can play to ones emotions, its grandiose nature making it harder to believe someone would have the nerve to spread it without it being true. Gaslighting is a way to defend a lie by making the lied-to question themselves and their understanding of the lie.

Context, intention and equal application of standards are what set simple truths and facts apart from honesty.  It can also set apart a liar from someone who made a simple mistake, fell victim to a lie, or help identify gaslighting.

It happens constantly these days, to the point the played are so invested in their own cognitive dissonance they rabidly defend the player.  Confirmation bias is like a drug that supplies righteousness and validation in one simple click. The temptation is not hard to see. The addicts will go to great lengths to preserve the high.

And that in itself is what we are all trying to avoid; Losing our own free will and integrity by playing into the hands of a liar and doing their bidding for them, all to preserve an illusion of superiority.  It is sad to see people manipulated into giving up their informed self-advocacy to spread the message of someone who would exploit them for personal agenda or profit.

So I leave you with two things;  A game to help you avoid being played, and the language to quickly and easily name a complicated set of behaviors. Much like high fantasy novels there are many things in this world that can be sent packing or destroyed simply by naming them.

Cogged: wherein an individual fails to apply equal scrutiny or standards to two parties, due to confirmation bias, causing them to voice a position of cognitive dissonance or hypocrisy.
Cogging: Refusing to acknowledge you’re cogged and continuing to spread false or one-sided information.
Cogger: An individual defending a source that mislead or outright lied to them to maintain cognitive dissonance.

Example: Tom said he will only eat at Greens because Orange had a B health rating. When I showed him Greens has a C health rating he started cogging me for telling him he was cogged.

Example: Sally told me the XCard was terrible because its zero interest deal expired after a year.  It looks like she’s been cogged since she didn’t realize that is the longest zero interest deal on the market.

Example: On Twitter today the coggers were out in force defending NoRo, the organization that believes the earth doesn’t rotate at all.

*All parties named in the examples are complete works of fiction for illustrative purposes only.