Friday, November 03, 2006


Dr. Sanity has been remiss of late in not doing her usual fly-overs in the Psychosphere! So, today we will do a few touch and go's and see what's buzzing in all my favorite mental health blogs.

We begin with ShrinkWrapped , who has a superb piece that discusses Arabs and Democracy and asks the question of whether Iraq is capable at this time of managing a democracy:
In both Germany and Japan during WWII we were facing enemies in which their cultural tendency to support their racial superiority and aggression toward the other were major elements of their national character. WWII killed a significant portion of the most fanatic supporters of such beliefs. Young men were, after all, the major carriers of the memes and you could argue that the post-war progression to democracy of Germany and Japan depended on the elimination of a large portion of this cohort. In a single generation, major cultural change took place in both societies.

In our modern way of "kinder and gentler" warfare, we have largely spared the young men of Islam who carry the cultural/religious memes of violence and intolerance of others, intolerance and fear of women's sexuality, and of religious rather than racial superiority. These young men didn't return home and become members of the Rotary Club. All they knew was aggression, channeled outward, and they naturally did what they do best. It is highly doubtful that these young men can ever be engaged in the political process.

Dr. Helen has some provacative thoughts on "Misandric TV" ; and Assistant Village Idiot has a fascinating post on the neurobiology of insight and misattribution that I meant to link to a few days ago:
All three studies suggest that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is specifically involved in lack of insight. The DLPFC and the cingulate gyrus are important parts of working memory, and the decreased volume in those areas suggests that working memory is strongly related to insight and awareness.

This is amazing stuff, and if memory is related to insight, it suggests some interesing ideas. For example, on a socio-political level such a connection could explain why controlling the historical narrative--a nation's "memory"--could lead to rampant psychological denial and projection (I know, it's a stretch, but that's the way I think).

In "John Kerry and the Mufti", Siggy compares the senator from Massachusetts with the misogynistic Australian mufti who suggested that women are nothing more than "uncovered meat." Both men seem to regularly stick their foot in their mouth; and both have a marked tendency to blame Bush for their own sad behavior.

I won't even begin to try to pick out one of Gagdad Bob's posts at One Cosmos--all of them are thought provoking and brilliant. Head over to his blog and just scroll down. Your brain will thank you.

GM's Corner discusses the hubris of Democrats in Connecticut; while Neo-neocon tackles the issue of fear in this post , followed up by this one.
I think one reason this "fraidy cat" accusation is such a persistent charge towards me is the pre-eminence of feelings among liberals and the Left. So, when looking for a reason for something as puzzling as my terrible apostasy, it's easy to ascribe it to feelings (especially a feeling they can be condescending about, such as fear), rather than reason or cognition.

Anyone who actually reads my "A mind is a difficult thing to change" series (links on the right sidebar, folks) should understand that I've thought long and hard before reaching my conclusions. You may not agree with them, but the path was a mainly cognitive one--mixed with some emotion, as almost all cognitions are. But the main emotion was not fear.

As I'm getting low on fuel on this flyover, I'm heading back to base at Dr. Sanity now. Be sure and check out all the blogs above--you'll gain a bit of knowledge and insight, no matter whether you agree with them or not. Enjoy!

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