A commenter named Stephanie takes issue with Snook for being politically “one-sided” lately. And she disagrees with all the Edge dot org cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, linguists and political scientists I linked to yesterday as a banquet for serious thought, as opposed to empty partisan calories served up as “news” lately.
[On my tv right now, Harvard constitutional scholar Barack Obama is speaking not about lipsticked animals gussied up as world leaders, but about real education IDEAS for America’s future, after saying that “enough is enough” of the phony same old same old that Bush-McCain politics have kept our kids dumbed down with:
“They’d rather this election be about phony and foolish diversions . . .I don’t care what they say about ME but I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swiftboat politics. Enough is enough!”]
Anyway, as I read her comment, Stephanie feels her thinking has no feeling (?) and argues her own politics are pure logic with no emotion or rationalization, no childhood scripts and stories embedded in her intelligent software, nope, nope. She is a veritable Vulcan, Mr. Spock in lipstick! 😉
All of which I thank her for, because it has my creativity stirring and neurons firing this morning, remembering all sorts of stimulating ideas more worthy of Thinking Parent conversation than the phony fear-mongering and “news” reporting these past couple of weeks.
Btw, tomorrow is the anniversary of September 11, after all the Republican leadership’s (to me shocking) cynical exploitation of the overwhelming emotions that day evokes. I grew up in the South where “waving the bloody shirt” has been a cynically successful form of politics by division for 150 years:
The Republican party thus continued to depend upon the bloody shirt long after the war was over, with Lewis Gould noting that in the post-Reconstruction years sectionalism was “a genuine and continuing source of Republican strength.”
And it’s similarly shocking to see John McCain now intentionally exploiting for partisan division, another bloody shirt already 50 years old. Talk about playing to emotion! Must we accept for the next 100 years, then, nine-eleven bloody shirts waved by old warriors every election cycle, to keep our past the most powerful enemy of our future, our own divisions making a dysfunctional mockery of this “united” states? Does that make us safer in a third-millennium world and economy finding new equilibrium without following our lead, or make us throwbacks unable to lead even ourselves?
But think about it — we CAN learn to do better. For example, here’s something I remember posting about psychological power of story research, from Wired:
Some scary things are not really as risky as they seem, and others are better handled by staying in the scary situation to set up a more advantageous future response. This means there’s an evolutionary advantage to being able to hold off the reflexive fight-or-flight response while you work out a more sophisticated analysis of the situation and your options for handling it. . .
So here’s the first fundamental problem: We have two systems for reacting to risk — a primitive intuitive system and a more advanced analytic system — and they’re operating in parallel. It’s hard for the neocortex to contradict the amygdala. . .
A lot of the current research into the psychology of risk are examples of these newer parts of the brain getting things wrong.
And it’s not just risks. People are not computers. We don’t evaluate security trade-offs mathematically, by examining the relative probabilities of different events. Instead, we have shortcuts, rules of thumb, stereotypes and biases — generally known as “heuristics.” These heuristics affect how we think about risks, how we evaluate the probability of future events, how we consider costs, and how we make trade-offs. We have ways of generating close-to-optimal answers quickly with limited cognitive capabilities.
Thinking Parents take on many real-world risks along with our “actual responsibilities”, and we know it all too well. We FEEL what we think when it’s about our own children and families — no mere academic exercise for us!
So doesn’t it make sense that we’d benefit ourselves and our kids’ future, by educating ourselves about analyzing and coping well with risk, tune up those helpful heuristics and make them more productive?