Accident Psychology and the Lion King

A bit more than a month has passed since my last entry. I spent two weeks without a computer, then didn’t see the two following weeks go by as I played around 120 games (roughly 120 hours). How I found myself without a computer though, I believe, is of some interest.

A couple day after after writing the previous article, I was researching how cognitive dissonance can apply to addiction and other self-destructive behaviours. A cup of tea, a laptop playing music and a great book called Cognitive Dissonance: 50 Years of a Classic Theory. At some point I decided to move and needed to relocate my laptop. That is when I had the brilliant idea to leave it balancing on the arm of the chair. Surely, one false movement sent the poor electronic piece smash to the ground. But whatever, I’ve dropped computers before and nothing happened. I kept reading. Until I finally decided to pick up my computer only to find the screen completely cracked and useless.

I remember how little irritated, maybe even slightly satisfied, I felt. The beast was no more. I clearly wouldn’t have had the courage (or madness) to smash my computer myself. But I can’t blame myself for an accident can I? Yet why was I so slow to pick up the fallen laptop? Could it be I was afraid to discover my darkest wish fulfilled? Akin to Electra’s unexpected guilt once her matricide fantasies were no longer fantasies.

I haven’t found much literature about the subject outside Freudian based theories, which, having no empirical foundation, I refuse to recognize as science. Nevertheless, I have a feeling it can be explained by social psychology theories of the self. Accidents acting as a way to defend the self-concept against the implications of an irrational behaviour. If it weren’t an accident, the only explanation for the behaviour would be madness. Since I hold my non-madness as a truth, it had to be an accident.

It does go one step beyond usual rationalization cases. Often. the idea that it was an accident comes afterward. ”It was an accident. I didn’t mean for it to happen.”, said Simba. But what about willingly creating the very situation for this accident to happen, one can claim then innocence from the outset, since the probability of the accident occurring  could not be determined before hand.

Your honor I plead guilty to to accusation of unpremeditated electronicide.

P.S.  I disassembled the cover, isolated the screen component, searched the serial number on Google and ordered the exact same specs. Plugged it in, put back the cover and it works great. 100$ including shipping and taxes, pretty easy to do.




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