Dissorienting Dilemma

June 29, 2020

The dissorienting dilemma is caused when you have an experience that fundamentally does not align with your view of the world and forces you to reconsider what you had assumed tacitly to be true. It is the shifting of a core assumption or belief that forces you to alter your perception because without doing so the world does not make sense.

Disorienting dilemmas do not pose a choice for you where you can turn a blind eye to this new information and continue on your path. They leave you no choice but to construct a new worldview and alter any assumptions that were dependent on your busted up belief.

For example, if you always believed an institution to be an exemplary standard bearer of fairness and virtue, and you then witness it committing an act that is the opposite, it may put into question other beliefs and views that were founded on that belief. Or perhaps you were a religious person and found out something so orthogonal to your beliefs contained in the texts that it forced you to question your membership in the religion.

It is not possible for personal growth to happen without going through this disorientation multiple times. They can be a source of learning like no other.