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13 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Bob,

I agree if you mean crony corporatist Establishment Republicans. I don't agree about Common Sense Republicans (the ones who started the original Tea Party).

Michael

Yes. I am referring to the Cronies.   What  Francisco called the Aristocracy of Pull in A.S. 

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You don’t get called bigot for criticizing Christians as Christians.  It’s politically correct to criticize Christian culture but not Jewish culture.  Bozhe moi.

Mark
ARIwatch.com

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Mark said:

You don’t get called bigot for criticizing Christians as Christians.  It’s politically correct to criticize Christian culture but not Jewish culture.  Bozhe moi.

Mark,

You might notice on OL that there's not all that mocking of Christians you see on other O-Land sites. 

That's on purpose. 

I can't respond for the rest of the world because I don't control that. I do control here and I simply don't want bigotry around me. I can't stand bigotry and I see no reason to pay money to have it next to me. Call it a selfish thing. 

Michael

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The thing I most despise about bigotry is that bigots always try to intimidate you with strong emotions and other persuasion tricks into choosing their false dichotomy over your own mind.

I am committed to the sanctity of independent thinking of each individual. This is on a sacred level with me.

Michael

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51 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Yes. I am referring to the Cronies.   What  Francisco called the Aristocracy of Pull in A.S. 

Bob,

Then you might notice that the difference between crony Establishment Republicans and crony Establishment Democrats is merely cosmetic when money and power and war are involved.

Give me a sincere progressive over a crony Establishment Republican any day. (But, politically, a sincere Trump supporter is best of all. :) ) This is one of the reasons I sometimes post videos of the progressive Jimmy Dore, even though I hold a diametrically opposite concept of his view of government. He's sincere and not about money and power and war. He wants to help people in his misguided fashion.

When I look at the crony elites, it's easy for me to think of a lot worse things than sincerely wanting to help folks.

Michael

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14 hours ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

More smoke. This has nothing to do with where you live. I would not live in a de facto ghetto with blacks. I would encourage them to get out of the ghetto if possible so they would not be the victims of black on black crime. They are welcome to be my neighbors. Now, why is there so much crime in black communities generally? It started with The Great Society and its displacement of the black man--and other men--as the father who provides and protects, his only function being the sire of his children whom he may not even know. Then it got worse--a lot worse.

The solid advance of the black family--and other poor ones--into the middle class was spiked. So was the increasing betterment of academic performance. The Federal Government did to the blacks what it had done to the American Indians and is now trying to do to everyone. I can just imagine Chinese-Americans in 30 years not wanting to live in white communities because of all the crime.

--Brant

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18 hours ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

 

I don't have a dog is this fight. Two years ago we retreated to an all-white rural county, built a house on a tactical hill, bought weapons, made friends with our neighbors, planted gardens and bought chickens. The forest is full of game. There are dairy farms, cattle ranches, fertile soil, firewood, clean fresh springs, clean fresh air, and a tradition of trust.

 

You have found Galt's Gulch.  More power to you....

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5 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

... I can just imagine Chinese-Americans in 30 years not wanting to live in white communities because of all the crime.

I can imagine law enforcement agencies not wanting to hire Chinese today:

Mentioning The Unmentionable About The Chinese “Model Minority”

MSM Ho-Hums Enemy Spies from Red China

Chinese FBI Agent Sentenced For Spying For China
 

 

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7 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

More smoke. This has nothing to do with where you live. I would not live in a de facto ghetto with blacks. I would encourage them to get out of the ghetto if possible so they would not be the victims of black on black crime. They are welcome to be my neighbors. Now, why is there so much crime in black communities generally? It started with The Great Society and its displacement of the black man--and other men--as the father who provides and protects, his only function being the sire of his children whom he may not even know. Then it got worse--a lot worse.

The solid advance of the black family--and other poor ones--into the middle class was spiked. So was the increasing betterment of academic performance. The Federal Government did to the blacks what it had done to the American Indians and is now trying to do to everyone. I can just imagine Chinese-Americans in 30 years not wanting to live in white communities because of all the crime.

--Brant

I was offered a job in Baltimore, declined it. I think you're mistaken to compare the Trail of Tears and Plains Indian Wars with HUD and Food Stamps, but (shrug) we can agree that generally speaking whatever Government does is a bad idea. For a deeper discussion, we need to consider well-known data on race and IQ, specifically in the context of Rosenbaum, Blumenthal, and Cousin Leonard, who were part of a genetic heritage known for higher intelligence than Asians and nitwit Prussians like me.

I'm not sure if you've seen my article on Individualism [in Laissez Faire Law] or "The Meaning of Liberty" in my little Constitution book (you have a copy) where I said: "Individualism is not a creed, but a fact of life... racism is dense. In any family, group, nation, or faith, each member is an individual." Those weren't empty words, nor do I think anything differently today.

In this 2001 video, I explained repeatedly and specifically that happiness is personal to each individual.

 

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3 hours ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

For a deeper discussion, we need to consider well-known data on race and IQ...

Wolf,

I've looked at that data. There's no neuroscience to be found about IQ, at least I have never found any. And IQ has turned out to be quite a flawed standard of measurement when you get down to genetics.

See the passage below from The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human by V. S. Ramachandran, pp. 169-170 (my bold). btw - This book was first published in 2010 and Ramachandran is one of my neuroscience heroes. (This guy will turn your world upside down if you read him. He investigates the weird stuff like synesthesia, different oddball brain syndromes, sudden savant talents from stokes, phantom limbs, etc. He's one of the world's top neuroscientists.)

The context of the passage below is a discussion on the many different components of language processing in the brain (words, images, syntax, time, movement, etc.), what different brain regions and neural networks are involved with each component, how each component evolved differently from the other components, and what each component was originally evolved for. Basically, the brain cobbled together a bunch of brain items that evolved individually for other activities--it "borrowed" them, so to speak--and this is how humans gradually created spoken and written languages.

Quote

These are important and obviously difficult issues, and it's unfortunate that the popular press often oversimplifies them by just asking questions like, Is language mainly innate or mainly acquired? Or similarly, Is IQ determined mainly by one's genes or mainly by one's environment? When two processes interact linearly, in ways that can be tracked with arithmetic, such questions can be meaningful. You can ask, for instance, "How much of our profits came from investments and how much from sales?" But if the relationships are complex and nonlinear—as they are for any mental attribute, be it language, IQ, or creativity—the question should be not, Which contributes more? but rather, How do they interact to create the final product? Asking whether language is mainly nurture is as silly as asking whether the saltiness of table salt comes mainly from chlorine or mainly from sodium. 

The late biologist Peter Medawar provides a compelling analogy to illustrate the fallacy. An inherited disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU) is caused by a rarely occurring abnormal gene that results in a failure to metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine in the body. As the amino acid starts accumulating in the child's brain, he becomes profoundly retarded. The cure is simple. If you diagnose it early enough, all you do is withhold phenylalanine containing foods from the diet and the child grows up with an entirely normal IQ. 

Now imagine two boundary conditions. Assume there is a planet where the gene is uncommon and phenylalanine is everywhere, like oxygen or water, and is indispensable for life. On this planet, retardation caused by PKU, and therefore variance in IQ in the population, would be entirely attributable to the PKU gene. Here you would be justified in saying that retardation was a genetic disorder or that IQ was inherited. Now consider another planet in which the converse is true: Everyone has the PKU gene but phenylalanine is rare. 

On this planet you would say that PKU is an environmental disorder caused by a poison called phenylalanine, and most of the variance in IQ is caused by the environment. This example shows that when the interaction between two variables is labyrinthine it is meaningless to ascribe percentage values to the contribution made by either. And if this is true for just one gene interacting with one environmental variable, the argument must hold with even greater force for something as complex and multifactorial as human intelligence, since genes interact not only with the environment but with each other. 

Ironically, the IQ evangelists (such as Arthur Jensen, William Shockley, Richard Herrnstein, and Charles Murray) use the heritability of IQ itself (sometimes called "general intelligence" or "little g") to argue that intelligence is a single measurable trait. This would be roughly analogous to saying that general health is one thing just because life span has a strong heritable component that can be expressed as a single number—age! No medical student who believed in "general health" as a monolithic entity would get very far in medical school or be allowed to become a physician—and rightly so—and yet whole careers in psychology and political movements have been built on the equally absurd belief in single measurable general intelligence. Their contributions have little more than shock value.

Also, another word blows all of this IQ and race stuff out of the water: neuroplasticity. The mind changes the brain and creates new neural activities, pathways and networks just by thinking about them. (The saying is: "neurons that fire together wire together.") It's not only neurologically possible for an individual to raise his or her IQ through neuroplasticity or even physical interventions like strokes or drugs, these days it's done all the time.

Racial differences in IQ are more cultural and educational than anything else. The data you refer to is historical for the specific people being measured at a specific time and place, not for any biological race as a whole.

This does not mean there are no biological brain differences between races (or sexes or any other groups with collective social implications). For example, autism is vastly more present in males than females. But the differences are extremely isolated exceptions (like autism is an exception), not generalized attributes defining the group (like IQ is alleged to be in much of the data you mentioned).

Michael

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2 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Wolf,

I've looked at that data. There's no neuroscience to be found about IQ, at least I have never found any. And IQ has turned out to be quite a flawed standard of measurement when you get down to genetics.

See the passage below from The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human by V. S. Ramachandran, pp. 169-170 (my bold). btw - This book was first published in 2010 and Ramachandran is one of my neuroscience heroes. (This guy will turn your world upside down if you read him. He investigates the weird stuff like synesthesia, different oddball brain syndromes, sudden savant talents from stokes, phantom limbs, etc. He's one of the world's top neuroscientists.)

The context of the passage below is a discussion on the many different components of language processing in the brain (words, images, syntax, time, movement, etc.), what different brain regions and neural networks are involved with each component, how each component evolved differently from the other components, and what each component was originally evolved for. Basically, the brain cobbled together a bunch of brain items that evolved individually for other activities--it "borrowed" them, so to speak--and this is how humans gradually created spoken and written languages.

Also, another word blows all of this IQ and race stuff out of the water: neuroplasticity. The mind changes the brain and creates new neural activities, pathways and networks just by thinking about them. (The saying is: "neurons that fire together wire together.") It's not only neurologically possible for an individual to raise his or her IQ through neuroplasticity or even physical interventions like strokes or drugs, these days it's done all the time.

Racial differences in IQ are more cultural and educational than anything else. The data you refer to is historical for the specific people being measured at a specific time and place, not for the biological race as a whole.

This does not mean there are no biological brain differences between races (or sexes or any other groups with collective social implications). For example, autism is vastly more present in males than females. But the differences are extremely isolated exceptions (like autism is an exception), not generalized attributes defining the group (like IQ is alleged to be in much of the data you mentioned).

Michael

Racial differences in IQ are cultural. There are cultures opposed to thinking. They breed potential geniuses?

Not being snarky. Baffled.

It seems to me that news management, entertainment, publishing, and investment banking are intelligent, deliberate villainy dominated by a specific cultural group. Lots of empirical evidence, historical and contemporary. The same cultural group pioneered the development of nuclear weapons, communism, anarchism, sovereign debt, and situation comedy. They consider themselves to be God's Chosen People and they inter-marry. Plain fact. On the positive side, the same cultural group gave us Objectivism, monetarism, and praxeology -- broadly in favor of free markets, widely ridiculed and smeared by cultural icons like Paul Krugman and Anatole Kaletsky. It's difficult to see how Ben Bernanke favored free markets. With few exceptions this cultural group has achieved more than any other, and they are predominantly united in attacking and vilifying Donald Trump. That's the whole "fake news" strategy, a constant barrage, all channels (except Fox).

Quote

A major new study out of Harvard University has revealed the true extent of the mainstream media’s bias against Donald Trump. Academics at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy analyzed coverage from Trump’s first 100 days in office across 10 major TV and print outlets.

20170519_bias1.jpg

more charts and discussion http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-19/harvard-study-reveals-huge-extent-anti-trump-media-bias

Bottom line:

I appreciate your perspective on neuroscience, stroke, and drugs. I am in favor of the third, expect the second any day, and don't have sufficient IQ to grapple with science or math. My wife often snorts in disdain that I can't do simple trig. However, I am not so dense as to expect great geniuses to emerge from Brixton or Compton.

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2 hours ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

 

It seems to me that news management, entertainment, publishing, and investment banking are intelligent, deliberate villainy dominated by a specific cultural group. Lots of empirical evidence, historical and contemporary. The same cultural group pioneered the development of nuclear weapons, communism, anarchism, sovereign debt, and situation comedy. They consider themselves to be God's Chosen People and they inter-marry. Plain fact. On the positive side, the same cultural group gave us Objectivism, monetarism, and praxeology -- broadly in favor of free markets, widely ridiculed and smeared by cultural icons like Paul Krugman and Anatole Kaletsky. It's difficult to see how Ben Bernanke favored free markets. With few exceptions this cultural group has achieved more than any other, and they are predominantly united in attacking and vilifying Donald Trump. That's the whole "fake news" strategy, a constant barrage, all channels (except Fox).

I am asking this  to make sure I understand you.  Are you referring to Jews? 

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8 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Basically, the brain cobbled together a bunch of brain items that evolved individually for other activities--it "borrowed" them, so to speak--and this is how humans gradually created spoken and written languages.l

Written, not spoken. I don't have the reference but in the late 19th C. it was found that sans language people developed a new one in one or two generations. (Not addressing pre-historic language development, but the throat is made for speaking.)

--Brant

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Of course he meant the Jews.

--Brant

us Anglos are the innocents of history--no?

collectivism marches on! (here there everywhere)

Hitler gets off the hook?

drain the brains!

personally I think idiocy and stupidity and cowardice have done more harm than genius or intimations of genius (Lenin was a Jew?)

billions of people fucked up by 6 or 7 Jews? (10 or 12?)

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6 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

Of course he meant the Jews.

--Brant

us Anglos are the innocents of history--no?

collectivism marches on!

here there everywhere

Hitler gets off the hook?

No one "gets off the hook".  Innocently or knowingly we all bear the burden of consequence.  Some of us set wrong things in motion  and some of us are in the wrong place at the wrong time  and suffer unjustly.  All causes have effects.  

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1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

Hitler gets off the hook?

Well, that's the great problem. My cultural group (I wish I didn't have to talk like a damn idiot, but those are the terms of reference) has nothing to recommend it historically or in the modern world, aside from engineering excellence and maudlin self-reflexive emotion. Terrible combination. There is a Russian proverb about Germans: "a good fellow maybe, but it's better to hang him." We sacked Rome. Destroyed the modern industrial world twice and, as you noted, vilified and attempted to wipe out the genius culture. German contribution to thought? Hegel, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Stirner, Wittgenstein, Schrödinger -- the Seven Dwarfs of philosophy.

I fought it all my life. Ran from it. I wish it were otherwise, but I followed Murnau, Pabst, Lubitsch, von Stroheim, Dieterle, Lang, and DeMille.

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Michael wrote about V. S. Ramachandran: (This guy will turn your world upside down if you read him. He investigates the weird stuff like synesthesia, different oddball brain syndromes, sudden savant talents from stokes, phantom limbs, etc. He's one of the world's top neuroscientists.) end quote

Savant talents? Is there a pill for that? If there were, the manufacturer would rival Amazon dot com for yearly income. I imagine a lot of people would volunteer to be test subjects just as they volunteer to be colonists to Mars.

Synesthesia. I am reading a David Balducci book titled, “The Fix,” about FBI Agent Decker who sees colors to “explain emotional situations” he can no longer comprehend after a severe head injury playing pro football. If he investigates a murder, he sees blue. He visited a terminally ill woman in hospice and she and the room were blue. When he went back for a second interrogation the room was a brighter blue and she died an hour after he left. It was nothing mystical; just his brain telling him she hasn’t got long to go based on the evidence.

Peter  

From Wikipedia . . . . Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway . . . . In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme-color synesthesia or color-graphemic synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored.In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be "farther away" than 1990), or may appear as a three-dimensional map (clockwise or counterclockwise). Synesthetic associations can occur in any combination and any number of senses or cognitive pathways. end quote

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On 5/20/2017 at 1:13 AM, Wolf DeVoon said:

Not being snarky. Baffled.

Wolf,

This exact bafflement is what led me to studying story on a deeper level than fiction rules for writing or book reviews.

We have developed conceptual intelligence through storytelling since story, more than any other activity, engages the maximum number of parts of the brain and neural circuits in tandem--and triggers a wide range of differing neurochemicals (which prompt behavior, make things stick in memory, etc.).

 

Story and neurochemicals

Here's a video Paul Zak did on how stories release cortisol and oxytocin in the audience's brain by focusing it on a distressful and empathic situation. Most people get choked up with this story. Paul Zak made these findings in his lab and deepened them through DARPA funding. (Yup, DARPA wants weapons-grade stories. :) )

Those are two of the main neurochemicals. Oxytocin is especially important for tearjerkers. There are other neurochemicals that get released with story, though, especially dopamine and serotonin. Ever hear of an adrenaline rush from watching a movie? 

 

Story as conceptual referent

On another point, when you get down to it, philosophy is nothing but stories at root. I remarked once to Chris Sciabarra that every single conceptual referent we have--for any and all concepts--is essentially a story about something that exists and it kind of stopped him in his tracks to reflect. He encouraged me to write about this.

 

Framing stories (core stories)

Now add this to what I call framing neurons and neural networks. There are probably some technical terms for them that I will come across (or even coin, maybe, since I believe in explaining this stuff in common language as much as possible, especially seeing how evil people use this knowledge covertly to manipulate others). The main characteristic of a frame is that it is predominantly static. It stays put while many different details can flow around it.

For example, a concept--as Rand came up with it--is a frame (like a file folder) whereas the conceptual referents are varied and open-ended (contents).

Another example. We physically have neurons in the hippocampus (and elsewhere in the brain) that frame our perception of space. Have you ever had the sensation of leaving one room and entering another, then forgetting what you were going to do in the other? That's because each room has corresponding neural frames that come with a whole lot of cognitive, emotional and sensory associations. If what you were going to do was not as important as the unfinished business you left while you were in the other room the last few times you were there, this unfinished business (through habits and emotional promptings) will come into your awareness and crowd out your immediate goal as soon as you enter the room. We only have the ability to hold about four things in our conscious awareness at any given moment, so when a new item enters, at least one of the items has to go back to being processed by the unconscious.

Now another point. When a neural pathway, especially a framing pathway, is developed through sheer repetition, a protective coating forms around it called myelination. (Think plastic coating around a copper wire.) This prompts a high degree of instant automation. The thicker the neural pathway, the richer the automation will be, the more myelination it will receive, and the more it will feel like an absolute. 

I could go on and on about this stuff, but that's enough for the main point I want to make. 

 

More on core stories

The intelligent people you talk about who are evil have been telling the same core story to themselves for so long, it has become a framing neural pathway and network. They accept that frame as a not-to-be-questioned lens through which they filter everything they come in contact with. And they get plenty of focused repetition, approval from others and other positive feedbacks from the people around them telling and living the same core story. 

Just think if your core story involves a feeling that you, and those like you, are superior to those who are not like you. Over time, that no longer becomes a judgment in your mind. Instead, it becomes a metaphysical fact. Whether it is a metaphysical fact or not is irrelevant. You believe it. It is based so much on the certainty that your core story, your frame, gives you that it becomes part of the frame.

It is very easy to change the details within someone's frame, but wickedly hard to change the frame itself. Making a neural frame is not so much fact-based, but story based. To oversimplify, the reason for this is that facts are processed in some parts of the brain and the frame itself is processed in another. 

 

Changing frames

Can we change the frame? Of course we can, but it has to come with a strong emotional experience, a new core story, etc. Religious conversions work well because they have this. So do attacks that trigger wrath and makes you want revenge. (Apropos, Islam has a wickedly effective tool for creating certainty and reinforcing the frame: prayer five times a day. This creates physical framing neural pathways and networks through sheer repetition.)

People with a high degree of intelligence eventually make a life-level choice on the deepest parts within them: they seek wisdom, love, creativity, etc., or they seek power. After that frame is set, a power-seeker can pursue love, wisdom, etc., but those things no longer belong to the frame. They become changeable details within it. A person with a core power frame will seek these things mostly to help him reinforce his frame. And he will equally seek the destruction of those who oppose him. He can be rational, too. He will use as much of his conceptual volition as he can muster to make things, manipulate people, etc., to reinforce his frame. 

The way to get evil people to want to stop is to get a new core story into their heads. And even then, you never destroy a neural pathway (network) after it is myelinated. You replace it with another that you have to build up as the old one atrophies and dissolves. (This is why relapses are so common with addicts and they are told to avoid old environments.)

Ayn Rand was onto something by creating a story structure around reason. Without story, without strong emotions, without lavish doses of neurochemicals squirting on learning and contemplating her ideas, without her sheer repetition, her ideas would not have stood a chance against ancient cultural framing stories that prioritized obedience and so on.

I think she became bitterly frustrated and baffled about why her efforts didn't take quickly in the culture and why she was so viciously opposed. People don't take kindly to someone trying to change their core story frame. And you don't kill a set frame or eject it like you can a detail that becomes irrelevant or contradictory to the frame. You can replace the old frame by constantly reinforcing a new one as the old one weakens and dries up, but this takes time and effort. You don't win an argument and you're done.

 

Random thoughts

Bigotry is an extremely strong frame. It does all the right things in the brain (story, neurochemicals, neural pathways and networks, etc.) to make it feel like absolute fact. Notice how emotional people manage to get when talking about bigotry.

On a parallel point, I constantly see an irony with class warfare victimization stories. These are generally stories about the oppression and destruction of an individual victim. When done right, these stories are strong enough to challenge a bigotry frame and create a new one, even in the minds of oppressors and bigots. Note, with class warfare stories, an individual victim becomes a metaphor for a collective and the brain is all too happy to unconsciously process metaphors as stand-ins for facts and categories. (Was it Stalin who said that an individual death is a tragedy, but a million deaths is a statistic?)

Now here's the irony. The people promoting a class warfare victimization story incorporate a different core story without even realizing it--a conquest story. And they, as individuals, are the conqueror. They begin to become individual bigots against a collective oppressor. And that's where they stare into the abyss so much that the abyss stares back at them and transforms them into itself (to riff off Nietzsche).

I'm not sure this is clear and I've rambled a bit, but I'm out of time.

This general direction is where I am headed and I know it is the right course intellectually. We cannot simply deduce reality from principles. We have to look deep at reality and change our frames if there is a contradiction. (Rand called this checking one's premises.)

What's worse, as most funding for neuroscience and modern psychology comes from the government, guess what many of the most popular neuroscientists are mucking around in? Prison reform, promoting climate change, class warfare, etc. One day I might put together a list of things to avoid or challenge for those who study these authors.

People who love freedom and individual happiness on earth must get involved and learn this stuff or the power-frame-people will win hands down. They are doing a massive amount of research on human behavior and human transformation with repeatable results.

"Guess what they want to do with those results?" asks the lamb to the wolves...

Michael

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8 hours ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

Well, that's the great problem. My cultural group (I wish I didn't have to talk like a damn idiot, but those are the terms of reference) has nothing to recommend it historically or in the modern world, aside from engineering excellence and maudlin self-reflexive emotion. Terrible combination. There is a Russian proverb about Germans: "a good fellow maybe, but it's better to hang him." We sacked Rome. Destroyed the modern industrial world twice and, as you noted, vilified and attempted to wipe out the genius culture. German contribution to thought? Hegel, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Stirner, Wittgenstein, Schrödinger -- the Seven Dwarfs of philosophy.

I fought it all my life. Ran from it. I wish it were otherwise, but I followed Murnau, Pabst, Lubitsch, von Stroheim, Dieterle, Lang, and DeMille.

We?

That's the problem. The problem of "we" (and "them").

Not individualism.

--Brant

it's not that there is no "we" only that it lacks moral significance which you try to impute

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23 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Wolf,

This exact bafflement is what led me to studying story on a deeper level than fiction rules for writing or book reviews.

We have developed conceptual intelligence through storytelling since story, more than any other activity, engages the maximum number of parts of the brain and neural circuits in tandem--and triggers a wide range of differing neurochemicals (which prompt behavior, make things stick in memory, etc.).

 

Story and neurochemicals

Here's a video Paul Zak did on how stories release cortisol and oxytocin in the audience's brain by focusing it on a distressful and empathic situation. Most people get choked up with this story. Paul Zak made these findings in his lab and deepened them through DARPA funding. (Yup, DARPA wants weapons-grade stories. :) )

Those are two of the main neurochemicals. Oxytocin is especially important for tearjerkers. There are other neurochemicals that get released with story, though, especially dopamine and serotonin. Ever hear of an adrenaline rush from watching a movie? 

 

Story as conceptual referent

On another point, when you get down to it, philosophy is nothing but stories at root. I remarked once to Chris Sciabarra that every single conceptual referent we have--for any and all concepts--is essentially a story about something that exists and it kind of stopped him in his tracks to reflect. He encouraged me to write about this.

 

Framing stories (core stories)

Now add this to what I call framing neurons and neural networks. There are probably some technical terms for them that I will come across (or even coin, maybe, since I believe in explaining this stuff in common language as much as possible, especially seeing how evil people use this knowledge covertly to manipulate others). The main characteristic of a frame is that it is predominantly static. It stays put while many different details can flow around it.

For example, a concept--as Rand came up with it--is a frame (like a file folder) whereas the conceptual referents are varied and open-ended (contents).

Another example. We physically have neurons in the hippocampus (and elsewhere in the brain) that frame our perception of space. Have you ever had the sensation of leaving one room and entering another, then forgetting what you were going to do in the other? That's because each room has corresponding neural frames that come with a whole lot of cognitive, emotional and sensory associations. If what you were going to do was not as important as the unfinished business you left while you were in the other room the last few times you were there, this unfinished business (through habits and emotional promptings) will come into your awareness and crowd out your immediate goal as soon as you enter the room. We only have the ability to hold about four things in our conscious awareness at any given moment, so when a new item enters, at least one of the items has to go back to being processed by the unconscious.

Now another point. When a neural pathway, especially a framing pathway, is developed through sheer repetition, a protective coating forms around it called myelination. (Think plastic coating around a copper wire.) This prompts a high degree of instant automation. The thicker the neural pathway, the richer the automation will be, the more myelination it will receive, and the more it will feel like an absolute. 

I could go on and on about this stuff, but that's enough for the main point I want to make. 

 

More on core stories

The intelligent people you talk about who are evil have been telling the same core story to themselves for so long, it has become a framing neural pathway and network. They accept that frame as a not-to-be-questioned lens through which they filter everything they come in contact with. And they get plenty of focused repetition, approval from others and other positive feedbacks from the people around them telling and living the same core story. 

Just think if your core story involves a feeling that you, and those like you, are superior to those who are not like you. Over time, that no longer becomes a judgment in your mind. Instead, it becomes a metaphysical fact. Whether it is a metaphysical fact or not is irrelevant. You believe it. It is based so much on the certainty that your core story, your frame, gives you that it becomes part of the frame.

It is very easy to change the details within someone's frame, but wickedly hard to change the frame itself. Making a neural frame is not so much fact-based, but story based. To oversimplify, the reason for this is that facts are processed in some parts of the brain and the frame itself is processed in another. 

 

Changing frames

Can we change the frame? Of course we can, but it has to come with a strong emotional experience, a new core story, etc. Religious conversions work well because they have this. So do attacks that trigger wrath and makes you want revenge. (Apropos, Islam has a wickedly effective tool for creating certainty and reinforcing the frame: prayer five times a day. This creates physical framing neural pathways and networks through sheer repetition.)

People with a high degree of intelligence eventually make a life-level choice on the deepest parts within them: they seek wisdom, love, creativity, etc., or they seek power. After that frame is set, a power-seeker can pursue love, wisdom, etc., but those things no longer belong to the frame. They become changeable details within it. A person with a core power frame will seek these things mostly to help him reinforce his frame. And he will equally seek the destruction of those who oppose him. He can be rational, too. He will use as much of his conceptual volition as he can muster to make things, manipulate people, etc., to reinforce his frame. 

The way to get evil people to want to stop is to get a new core story into their heads. And even then, you never destroy a neural pathway (network) after it is myelinated. You replace it with another that you have to build up as the old one atrophies and dissolves. (This is why relapses are so common with addicts and they are told to avoid old environments.)

Ayn Rand was onto something by creating a story structure around reason. Without story, without strong emotions, without lavish doses of neurochemicals squirting on learning and contemplating her ideas, without her sheer repetition, her ideas would not have stood a chance against ancient cultural framing stories that prioritized obedience and so on.

I think she became bitterly frustrated and baffled about why her efforts didn't take quickly in the culture and why she was so viciously opposed. People don't take kindly to someone trying to change their core story frame. And you don't kill a set frame or eject it like you can a detail that becomes irrelevant or contradictory to the frame. You can replace the old frame by constantly reinforcing a new one as the old one weakens and dries up, but this takes time and effort. You don't win an argument and you're done.

 

Random thoughts

Bigotry is an extremely strong frame. It does all the right things in the brain (story, neurochemicals, neural pathways and networks, etc.) to make it feel like absolute fact. Notice how emotional people manage to get when talking about bigotry.

On a parallel point, I constantly see an irony with class warfare victimization stories. These are generally stories about the oppression and destruction of an individual victim. When done right, these stories are strong enough to challenge a bigotry frame and create a new one, even in the minds of oppressors and bigots. Note, with class warfare stories, an individual victim becomes a metaphor for a collective and the brain is all too happy to unconsciously process metaphors as stand-ins for facts and categories. (Was it Stalin who said that an individual death is a tragedy, but a million deaths is a statistic?)

Now here's the irony. The people promoting a class warfare victimization story incorporate a different core story without even realizing it--a conquest story. And they, as individuals, are the conqueror. They begin to become individual bigots against a collective oppressor. And that's where they stare into the abyss so much that the abyss stares back at them and transforms them into itself (to riff off Nietzsche).

I'm not sure this is clear and I've rambled a bit, but I'm out of time.

This general direction is where I am headed and I know it is the right course intellectually. We cannot simply deduce reality from principles. We have to look deep at reality and change our frames if there is a contradiction. (Rand called this checking one's premises.)

What's worse, as most funding for neuroscience and modern psychology comes from the government, guess what many of the most popular neuroscientists are mucking around in? Prison reform, promoting climate change, class warfare, etc. One day I might put together a list of things to avoid or challenge for those who study these authors.

People who love freedom and individual happiness on earth must get involved and learn this stuff or the power-frame-people will win hands down. They are doing a massive amount of research on human behavior and human transformation with repeatable results.

"Guess what they want to do with those results?" asks the lamb to the wolves...

Michael

What you think tends to be what you do. As Bidinotto said: criminal thinking results in criminal activity. Words to that effect if not a direct quote. Rend out or do not honor rationality then the (irrational) stories take over and dominate.

--Brant

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Good letter Michael. It saved a web search.

Michael wrote: We have developed conceptual intelligence through storytelling since story, more than any other activity, engages the maximum number of parts of the brain and neural circuits in tandem--and triggers a wide range of differing neurochemicals (which prompt behavior, make things stick in memory, etc.). end quote

Brain trigger. I just got a bulletin in the mail from Barnes and Noble the book sellers. One of the advertised book titles made me think, in a negative way, about the politics of the writer. Compare the following title to “Anthem,” “We The Living,” ‘The Fountainhead,” and “Atlas Shrugged.”

The title of the hyped book is, ‘Theft & Finding Diaries 1977-2002,” by David Sedaris. Have you ever seen anything so lame? The title reeks of liberal condescension as it tries to grab you by its edgy naughtiness. No. I won’t buy it. As a title, “Objectivist Newsletter,” Checking one's premises,” and “Intellectual Ammunition,” are better titles.

Michael wrote: Now another point. When a neural pathway, especially a framing pathway, is developed through sheer repetition, a protective coating forms around it called myelination. (Think plastic coating around a copper wire.) This prompts a high degree of instant automation. The thicker the neural pathway, the richer the automation will be, the more myelination it will receive, and the more it will feel like an absolute. end quote

That may be why I can still, reluctantly with clenched fists, ride a bike.

Michael wrote: Just think if your core story involves a feeling that you, and those like you, are superior to those who are not like you. Over time, that no longer becomes a judgment in your mind. Instead, it becomes a metaphysical fact. end quote

Were all those folks on that long list, that Wolf named as purveyors of fake news Jewish? My wife and I were watching an episode of that Einstein bio pic on TV and it showed how Jews DO FEEL superior, which antagonized the neo, soon to be dead, Nazis into “punishing” them. Sometimes a feeling of superiority is so ingrained (and learned) it is like me talking to a first grader. And I have known at least one Jew who seemed like that. joke. AR.

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