Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The culture of outrage

Controversially, I'd like to suggest that people are now narrower, less receptive to new ideasm, if not than ever, certainly than they have been since the 17th century.

Certainly they accept the ideas of their group and insist that those show high intelligence, and a moral compass.

What's really happening? We if you look at the evidence immediately people are faced with unfamiliar ideas they assume that if those don't fit into their own camp they must be the enemy - who are by definition stupid and immoral - maybe bigoted or worse. Very little cogntion need occur - they can go straight on to fight or flight. Even reading this many are reacting in exactly that way.

So what happens?

  • The hypothalamus ramps ups and signals the pituitary gland to get to work.
  • The pituitary gland releases hormones to the adrenal medulla.
  • Adrenal medulla releases cortisol.
  • Cortisol promotes muscle contracture; pupil dilation; suppression of GI tract (digestion); increases heart rate; amygdala becomes hyper-aroused which can lead to emotional tagging in the hippocampus This sets them up sets to repeat this response in the future.
  • Prefrontal cortex becomes inhibited (this is where present-time awareness, planning, motivation, decision making etc happens - this blocks any actual thinking about the intellectual challenge that is being presented).
It will be interesting to see where that's taking us - but it hasn't worked out well in the past.

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