On epidemics of “knee-jerk” reactivity

RQR wrote: I believe it was Churchill that said something like, “A five-minute conversation with the average voter is enough to convince you of why democracy is one of the worst forms of government.”

But he added, “it’s still better than all the others”.
Anyway, I’m amazed that people who have no responsibility for outcomes, no authority, and no details that are critical to decisions are so eager to pontificate on the rightness or wrongness of those that are at the center of the action.


JR replied:
There is an epidemic of paranoia relating to consensus. People may be so emotionally challenged by the existence of a variety of perspectives that they display surprise at the existence of perspectives other than their own. There is a distress in the background, right?

“How can infants be so ignorant? How can the people who have been programmed by public schools and mainstream media be so loyal to the ideas that they have been trained to memorize and then repeat in exchange for social rewards? How can the average voter be so distressed that they react in outrage and hysteria when confronted with the reality that there is a diversity of opinions?”

People tend to want to be liked. We may want to be perceived as “experts on everything.” We are “wired” through schooling rituals to be adapted to the social context of school: we crave the familiar validation of the government authority who will maintain consensus through their “near absolute concentration” of social power.

So, when I go in to science class, how do I relate to what the teacher says? “You all need to be attentive to the scientific fact that every liver on this planet makes a dangerous substance in order to harm the rest of the organism (specifically, by converting it in to things like estrogen, testosterone, and Vitamin D). Also, you will die if you eat that substance which you also manufacture constantly. So, we will now use a single specific test to see if your levels of that substance in your blood are so high that we need to attack your liver to impair it’s ability to manufacture the demon which has been possessing you (called cholesterol).”

The typical student thinks that they are now an expert on cholesterol. They think that they are an expert on science.

They are in a class called “science class” and they repeat some mainstream quackery on a “science test” in order to get social approval from the teacher. So, they really think yes they actually think that they are an expert.

Is it amazing? Absolutely. The profits that are collected through creating demand for statin medications is also amazing. Anticipating that profit, the manufacturers hired some researchers and lobbyists to alter the curriculum of schools and create a hysteria about cholesterol, then presented their “one and only solution.”

The teachers (who also may think that they are experts on science) present cholesterol as a toxin. What if cholesterol is part of the body’s healing response to repair damaged tissue? Well that simply cannot be true because that would mean that what schools programmed me to believe might be slightly inaccurate!

When the windshield wipers turn on in my car, does that cause it to rain? Correlation does not prove causality, right?

Well what if there is a $200 million budget? In that case then the correlation between movement in windshield wipers and rainfall is labeled as “absolute proof” that the wiping is not a response to the rainfall and no further research is needed because the government experts all agree with their corporate sponsors.


RQR responded:
JR, it’s a type of laziness and the ease of knee-jerk reactions. In order to get closer to the truth, one has to do the work of thinking.


“It” is distress. In order to get closer to the truth, one might need the physiological and social conditions to discover it. By the way, can you guess what happens to the brain’s capacity for logic and learning when the levels of certain nutrients (such as cholesterol) are “too low?”


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