I am a violence researcher and study the role of grievances and retaliation in violent crime. Recently, I’ve been researching the way grievances affect the brain, and it turns out that your brain on grievance looks a lot like your brain on drugs. In fact, brain imaging studies show that harboring a grievance (a perceived wrong or injustice, real or imagined) activates the same neural reward circuitry as narcotics.
This isn’t a metaphor; it’s brain biology. Scientists have found that in substance addiction, environmental cues such as being in a place where drugs are taken or meeting another person who takes drugs cause sharp surges of dopamine in crucial reward and habit regions of the brain, specifically, the nucleus accumbens and dorsal striatum. This triggers cravings in anticipation of experiencing pleasure and relief through intoxication. Recent studies show that similarly, cues such as experiencing or being reminded of a perceived wrong or injustice — a grievance — activate these same reward and habit regions of the brain, triggering cravings in anticipation of experiencing pleasure and relief through retaliation. To be clear, the retaliation doesn’t need to be physically violent—an unkind word, or tweet, can also be very gratifying.
Although these are new findings and the research in this area is not yet settled, what this suggests is that similar to the way people become addicted to drugs or gambling, people may also become addicted to seeking retribution against their enemies—revenge addiction. This may help explain why some people just can’t let go of their grievances long after others feel they should have moved on—and why some people resort to violence."
James Kimmel, Politico 2020
― Erich Fromm
I mentioned him before but this quote, from "the Sane Society", that I just found today is the fulcrum of all my thinking. On this balancing point is where all humans live whether they know it or not.
Or rather from this truth flows all human psychology, politics, and love. So one can take this begining and deny it and say there IS certainty or one can live honestly.
Emotions are powerful motivators of behavior. For most animals, emotion, not rational thought is what drives behavior, and this remains true for our esteemed species, self-christened as Homo sapiens—“the wise one.” But our decisions are not made solely by reasoning. In fact, in the most complex and momentous decisions we make we rely on emotion—gut feelings. Whom to marry, where to live, or even what entrée to select from a dinner menu, are decisions we make not by reason, but rather by how we “feel.”
Most of these circuits are deeply engraved by evolution in the brains of our primate and mammalian ancestors. A mother’s instant reaction to respond with unlimited aggression if necessary to protect her child is a familiar example. The human brain shares this same neural circuitry with other animals, and that circuit is separate from the neural circuit that launches us into defensive aggression in response to another type of danger, facing an intruder for example. To understand this election you must understand the brain’s threat detection mechanism.
This neuroscience perspective explains the seemingly incomprehensible situation of a privileged billionaire becoming the champion of working class men and women who are feeling angry and threatened. It is boggling to provide a logical explanation for this improbable hero of the working class, but his appeals to the anger, fear, and frustration that many feel—an appeal to the brain’s limbic system—is perfectly consistent with how the human brain makes complex decisions by relying on emotion when faced with momentous decisions. Perfume is not sold by describing how it will make us smell; it is sold by how it will make us feel. So it is with selling real estate. And rationally we know that all cars travel at the same speed on our roads. How then can we rationally explain the need to purchase a 500 horsepower Corvette, when it will ride the bumper of a jalopy in traffic, but cost 10 times as much? Marketing skillfully manipulates emotion—tapping into how we feel—to nudge our purchasing decisions.
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/trump-s-victory-and-the-neuroscience-of-rage/ Another surprise victory is unlikely to happen again if this election is looked at from the same perspective of neuroscience that I used to account for the surprising outcome in 2016. Briefly, that article explained how our brain provides two different mechanisms of decision-making; one is conscious and deliberative, and the other is automatic, driven by emotion and especially by fear. Trump’s strategy does not target the neural circuitry of reason in the cerebral cortex; it provokes the limbic system. In the 2016 election, undecided voters were influenced by the brain’s fear-driven impulses—more simply, gut instinct—once they arrived inside the voting booth, even though they were unable to explain their decision to pre-election pollsters in a carefully reasoned manner.
Trump’s dismissal of experts, be they military generals, career public servants, scientists or even his own political appointees, is necessary for him to sustain the subcortical decision-making in voters’ minds that won him election and sustains his support. The fact-based decision-making that scientists rely upon is the polar opposite of emotion-based decision-making. In his rhetoric, Trump does not address factual evidence; he dismisses or suppresses it even for events that are apparent to many, including global warming, foreign intervention in U.S. elections, the trivial head count at his inauguration, and even the projected path of a destructive hurricane. Instead, “alternative facts,” or fabrications, are substituted.
Anyway I wanted to save these links
And to tie it to some other thoughts I see this along the lines of Erich Fromm's "Escape From Freedom" https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3671847252
Anyway given recent political events and beliefs driving those events, that brought my thinking back to humans and their love for certainty, AND the vehemence people maintain their certainty. Following a link to another link I found this article .
That science can fail, however, shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. It's a human construct, after all. And if we simply accepted that science often works imperfectly, we'd be better off. We'd stop considering science a collection of immutable facts. We'd stop assuming every single study has definitive answers that should be trumpeted in over-the-top headlines. Instead, we'd start to appreciate science for what it is: a long and grinding process carried out by fallible humans, involving false starts, dead ends, and, along the way, incorrect and unimportant studies that only grope at the truth, slowly and incrementally.
Acknowledging that fact is the first step toward making science work better for us all.
And the point is people in general think their views have the certainty of established sience, but actually established science isn't all that "established"
I have been reading Erich Fromm's Escape from Freedom recently, and to fill in some blanks I went looking for some background on Fromm on the Internet.
Fromm identified deep feelings of anxiety and powerlessness upon
which Hitler had been able to capitalize. His sadomasochistic message of
love for the strong and hatred for the weak — not to mention a racial
program that raised “true-born” Germans to the pinnacle of the
evolutionary ladder — provided a means of escape from intolerable
psychological burdens experienced on a mass basis.
Escape From Freedom was not merely an analysis of Nazism. At
the heart of its thesis was the notion that capitalism — particularly
in its monopolistic phase — fostered “the development of a personality
which feels powerless and alone, anxious and insecure,” and which is
therefore tempted to surrender its freedom to strongman leaders.
Escape From Freedom was not merely an analysis of Nazism. At the heart of its thesis was the notion that capitalism — particularly in its monopolistic phase — fostered “the development of a personality which feels powerless and alone, anxious and insecure,” and which is therefore tempted to surrender its freedom to strongman leaders.