One upon a time there was a hungry fox. This fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine. But she was unable to do so. She tried again and again, leaped with unequaled swiftness and ferocity. All with uniformly fruitless outcomes. As her hope ground to a halt she walked away remarking, “Oh! You aren’t even ripe yet! I don’t need any sour grapes! ”
This story follows an archetype: one desires something, find it unattainable, and reduces one’s dissonance by criticizing it. The powerful reason of dissonance is an idea conflicting the very fundamental element of self-concept. Such as “I am a good person.” or “I made the right decision.”. The anxiety that comes with the contingency of having made a bad decision can lead to rationalization, the tendency to create additional reasons or justifications to support one’s choices. This belief may or may not be true, but it would reduce dissonance and make the person feel better.
Can a fox mind choose to unmount the bicycle of its ego-defense mechanism and accept that “I am not good” or “I didn’t deserve to succeed.”. Accepting that “I am good” goes with natural flow and works out well with super ego, even if one is “not good” (subjectively). But if the fox accepts “I am not good”, she ends up initiating tenacious struggle to be “Good”. Something she has accepted she is not. Lets hope that this fox gets sweet grapes after being the “Good” she wants to be. It’s like being on two trains at once. One going nowhere and the other going in the opposite direction. Who knows you may eventually reach some where.
Or the fox is just living in an increasingly cruel state of thralldom hoping to find its island of water surrounded by earth believing that she can be what she is not for a bunch of “sour grapes”.Credit: Image author: John Rae, An illustration from Fables in Rhyme for Little Folks, New York, 1918