The Power of the Absurd

I happened upon this and wanted to save it here for future reference. Another explanation of the in-explainable

this time by Scott Atran found as a chapter in "This Explains Everything" an anthology from different writers


A Plausible Explanation

I can't vouch for this Kimmel guy but this article certainly sounds plausible and would explain the crazy

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



I Found My Guy!!!

“Free man is by necessity insecure; thinking man by necessity uncertain.”
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.


Escape from Reason

I was thinking about how our brains work and we (all of us) are prone to think emotionally and it takes effort to override that to make reasoned deciscions. And as the Repulican party is the most obvious example I Googled the pschology of ex president and found some old articles.

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


The blog post where I try to drain Meaning of MEANING

From my first post form 2007, with some editing...

Tomorrow morning I wake up for the first time as a 50 year old man.
Statistically I have 25 years to live ( more or less). So what do I do with those 25 years? …
And if I don't or can't, does that mean I failed?
Is life about finding meaning?
Is life about not failing?
Must I find meaning?
If not that, then what?

OK. that was 14 years ago. WOW! (meaning now statistically I have 11 years to live)

This is only my third post this year. Which is fine, because I now use it as a place for me to put things I want to put somewhere. And I have not felt the need to say anything to my self, or to any unlikely passerby.

BUT, how would I phrase a new first blog post now?

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

The Red Wheelbarrow

You can Google that poem and find all sorts of meaning. And Williams may have had some explicit “meaning” in mind, but I don’t know and don’t care. I take the poem as an a song of experience. It could have been anything, a box and not a wheel barrow, a dog and not chickens...none of that "matters". What matters is accepting the experience, the immediate experience that prompted that poem. A reminder that wherever you are, whatever you see, it ALL “depends so much”

NOT what caused the wheel barrow to be there or what will happen to the chickens….PAY ATTENTION to the world NOW. So much depends because everything in front of us is NOW and we are all part of it NOW. PAY ATTENTION!

What does it mean?
What is the meaning of life?
To diagram a moment or a life like diagraming a sentence looking to find “meaning” is to conceptualize that which cannot fit into a concept. So give thanks that we are all in this together. EVEN if we all irritate the hell out of each other...give thanks. EVEN if we have not been the best version of ourselves, give thanks for this moment we communally experience all over the world. For this moment let go of the past and let thoughts of the future float away, they are fictions that distract us from living this moment.

It came over him like a fit; it was like a single spark kindled in his soul and spreading fire through him. Everything in him softened at once and the tears started into his eyes. He fell to the earth on the spot....He knelt down in the middle of the square, bowed down to the earth, and kissed that filthy earth with bliss and rapture. He got up and bowed down a second time
Crime and Punishment - Dostoevsky

That is how I would start a new blog.


No Self, No Problem

I've been reading "No Self, No Problem: How Neuropsychology Is Catching Up to Buddhism by Chris Niebauer Ph.D" and it is really in line with with my thinking of the last few years. I am still not exactly sure what I am, but this may help.

A few quotes for a preview

Sure, the physical entity of my body and my brain is there, but the “I” attached to it only exists as a thought—and only when I think it.

Seen in this light, “I” is simply a useful, categorical fiction, expressed through language.


The Only Certainty is UN-certainty

I am still mulling over my Grand Theory of Everything. Very slowly but it is still there.

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"