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No, I'm not being snarky.  It is a serious question.  I am a person who has studied the human mind since college and have written much about it.  Our new book is called Global Insanity so you might get a clue of what I think I have learned from that.  A week ago most of you would have been less inclined to take Jim Coffman, my coauthor, and I seriously.  Now you get some really good evidence about a huge number of your fellow citizens.  They are not well!  At least not by the standards of rationality I have learned.  They continue to post their delusions and are often doubling down on them.  This is not a light matter.  Before the election I was ready to become a hermit rather than go about my daily business among people who collectively buy into that massive delusion.  It is not over.  They go on and on throwing out these incredible snapshots of total loss of touch with reality.  Oh yes and so many of them have guns!  The maps of the country are instructive because they clearly show that the Civil War never really ended.  Yet look at Ohio, for example.  Like Virginia, where I now live, they are being governed by insane people!  So read on below for this is not going to go away but we did get some clues.

First of all, I think we can safely say that sticking to our concept of truth and to the values that arise from that concept we put enough people on the line so that they could no longer play like it was merely a "difference of opinion".  Fortunately (really unfortunate) there was help.  So many of the mentally sick "leaders"  for one reason or another felt free to express their idiotic world view and misconceptions about science, women, and other things that the thing became a clear ugly mass of garbage that had its effect on the others.  The voters showed that.

That is something to consider.   I heard these things and thought about how fascism must have come to power In Europe just before my birth in 1936.  The things that were preached then were as ugly as much of what we had now.  Yet somehow our prople were able to sort it out.  I can not shrug this away as totally due to Romney's person.  He is far from charismatic.  No I think human kind has evolved socially since then.  I do think our country's myths do have power if we can bring them into people's consciousness in the correct way.  I do think hate has the seeds of its own destruction built into it but that it also can be used to give downtrodden people a scapegoat to focus on instead of those who keep them down.

Complex systems evolve and emerge.  Their whole is far more than the sum of their parts and can not be understood buy merely examining the parts.  Here is my punch line based on that.  The President seems to know what I am saying.  He has expressed part of it more than once and, in fact, I would say it is essentially his theme.  The little efforts here there and everywhere were a almost unnoticeable wedge into the old republican and other right wing memes and frames.  We did it here and on facebook and on the phone and face to face and in other places.  It all came together for enough people that we overcame the lunacy.

So to answer my own question in the title, I think the human mind is evolving.  I think as it evolves it is changing the context for that evolution.  Like climate change the feedback here makes the change nonlinear and accelerating.  Let's assume that is true and ride this wave as far as we are able.  Our kids and future generations will look back to this moment and thank us.  And I thank us!


The human mind

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 01:22:56 PM PST

  •  All of the above,same as it always was :) n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, tardis10

    (Problem solving is not the answer.)

    •  all words here are context dependent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The mind is indeed complex.  This is as true as it is untrue

      (Problem solving is not the answer.)

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 01:35:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Culture can evolve (3+ / 0-)

        without significant change to the genetics of the mind, and it can do so in either a positive or negative direction.  That said, I suspect there has been historical evolution of human minds but its scale is beyond our ready grasp.  As for survival of the fittest, culture puts that at a remove.

        If willingness to act in an altruistic manner in response to scientific evidence to secure the survival of our species overcomes our current destructive path, the altrustic group may not be dominant after a big upheaval.  Surely reducing our reproductive rate would be helpful to achieving our survival as a group.  That would mean the Catholic church (for example) is an organization that is contributing to the destruction of our species through its opposition to birth control.  Yet our US population is increasing fastest in groups favoring that religion.  Does that mean the church will become more dominant?  Only if the church hierarchy can continue to persuade its members to continue to ignore reason, and there are signs that control is cracking.

        If that happens it will be a sign that reasonable minds can overcome the brute force of population genetics.

        “I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.” –Blaise Pascal

        by dskoe on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 02:08:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Modern evolutionary theory downplays (3+ / 0-)

          genetics.  The epigenetic aspects of what RNA and DNA do are so complex and context dependent that we now see evolution as a systems idea.  That is the sense in which I was using the word.  It involves not only culture but environment and many many other interrelated factors.

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 02:15:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •   You need a couple less choices in your poll and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, AaronInSanDiego

    substitute them with a couple with more substance.
    What this election has shown is we have a system with which we have been using to gather knowledge and answer questions. Trivial questions like who was the second son on the show "My Three Son's". In the early 90's, that knowledge was not at your fingertips. It is now.
    But along with that knowledge is a search engine that is geared to feed you the information it has determined you like the most, using an algorithm designed to point you at their paying advertisers based on the email you read, the fact you spend time on Daily Kos and where and what you bought with that credit card using the stores "Elite Customer" rewards card.
    Have you noticed how hard it is to find non-paying sites with information that use to inundate you with so much to choose from, you went on a tangent because something caught your eye. When is the last time that happened? I'm sure it wasn't recently, because these search engines live or die based on their ability to narrow your focus.
    That's what happened to the other side, they were fed what they wanted to hear, not a buffet,, but a peel your own!

    "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

    by Cruzankenny on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 01:47:47 PM PST

  •  Human brains are variable. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, tardis10

    When the circumstances are right, the brain develops both cognitive and instinctive functions. However, because the brain requires a high energy input, stress to the organism either pre-natally or peri-natally tends to shut the cognitive off from the instinctive. Whether the connections can be made or re-established later is dubious.
    What seems clear is that individuals can function quite satisfactorily and reproduce instinctively.  Cognitive control over the organism is lagniappe. We don't need it for the species to survive.
    Letting the instinct-driven run rampant is probably a bad idea. Since they don't have internal controls, external controls are needed. The denizens of the Party of No aren't just negative; they also have to be told no.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 01:49:57 PM PST

    •  Brain research is expanding our knowledge (0+ / 0-)

      at a fantastic rate.  Most people's conepts of the brain are archaic at best.  We have a new book coming out that can get you partially up to date.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 02:44:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think Juan has the right idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    we may already have the next step up in human evolution walking here with us now, or soon anyway
    His thought mirrors yours as I understand them both.
    Homo Evolutis! we control the channel, the vertical, the horizontal'  we are the outer limits!
    If you haven't seen this you may find it informative and thought provoking, as I have.

    Thank you author. a most excellent break from politics

  •  The Human Mind Has 2 Centuries' Experience (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, AaronInSanDiego

    running large industrial societies.

    That mind is doing so using drives and brains evolved during hundreds of millennia of hunter-gathering, culture (including its concepts of rights and responsibilities) developed during millennia of life in small agricultural societies, and governing principles mostly selected when agriculture still dominated as small scale manufacturing and trade was first arising, a century before mass production and two before information processing.

    There's so much about our control systems that's under pressure and obviously capable of response in timeframes people can easily observe, that if you're including that in the concept of mind it's very plausible.

    Just this week we've seen rightwingers opening up to immigration solutions, Europeans observing the failure of their austerity with thoughts of changing course, and more.

    As to the biology, I think it's far more plausible that as we change the conceptions and focus of our control systems, we'll change the types of leaders we select to fit with those imperatives, from out of the great variety of minds and other leadership talents available to us.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:23:01 PM PST

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