Thursday, September 06, 2012

Silly Season

"Here we are again," K said as she took the familiar turn off to the airport.  At least it's not a red-eye this time.  Two weeks home.  Very nice.  I'll be home for a day or two at a time until late October.

Busy is good.

The political silly season is on, and it is a showcase for tribal, monkey-brained limbic-system thinking.  Very little neocortex activity is involved.  If their side says it, it is evil and reprehensible; if our side says the exact same thing it is wise or the only option or...

This has been hard.  I predicted a while ago that as the two major parties in the U.S. become even more similar, the rhetoric would have to get more heated.  If there are no substantial differences you must emphasize the cosmetic ones to keep the tribal lines clear, after all.

I have a lot of very intelligent friends who I both admire and disagree with.  If I ever agree with you on everything, the world doesn't need us both.  But this election season has been ugly.

I've seen very intelligent, compassionate people indulge in something that they themselves would call bigoted hate-speech if the nouns were simply changed.  Hate speech is not defined by the target, but by the manner.

I have read a best-selling author and a good man say that anyone not on his side (not the people who disagree with him, any individual who is not a member of his party) is 'stupid' and 'allergic to truth'.

One, possibly more insightful, did not want to discuss a subject because she did not want any facts shaking her beliefs.

And I have seen fine men of integrity spread lies...and no matter how much they want to believe the things they say are true, they weren't even subtle lies.

So here's some advice from the Conflict Communication model. It might be easier to grasp if you've taken the whole class.
If your monkey/tribal brain is working your human/thinking brain is not.
If you are feeling emotion, you are not thinking.  That part of your brain is turned off.
If it is about who did or said it and not what was said, you are in your tribal brain.
If you label anyone, it is a tactic to put that person  in another tribe specifically so that you don't have to listen to the content.

And one piece of advice not out of ConCom: People who disagree with you are rarely stupid.  If you cannot effectively, compassionately and convincingly argue the other side's point of view, you are the one in your tribal brain.  You are the stupid one.

Stay in the debate, but use your brain.

9 comments:

Kai Jones said...

What has helped me think instead of feel is asking myself "How is that true from that person's perspective?"

Charles James said...

Miller's Law: "In order to understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of." - Dr. George Miller, Psychologist.

Wayne said...

I do my best to keep my monkey under control this time of year. Little bugger manages to sneak out from time to time. That is when I take a deep breath and step away for a bit.

Nomad said...

Well said, Rory!

Jake said...

Well said. I hate this time of year.

Hell, I just hate politics, but it's more in your face right now.

Don Weiss said...

Just a note on the last paragraph of the post - maybe it should be if you can't passionately 'debate' and change someone's mind....
In my opinion, arguments are when two people are already convinced they are right - debates mean each side is rational and presenting facts in order to convince the other person. arguments = monkey mind thinking, debates = higher order thinking.

Trevor Montroy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Whoa. I'm a monkey.
Thank you, Rory. I'm *so* glad I come here. :D

Anonymous said...

As Heracletus said a long time ago " The opposites are the same" .They are coming from the same source and they have the same purpose which is to put you in a non-thinking state of mind ( see monkey brain) where everything is predictable ( social behavior) and can manipulate you accordingly. After 2 years of ConCom i would say Classic Predator stuff!!!! Thanks Rory!!!

Bruno Pezzia