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Tue, 29 Nov 2022
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MindMatters: The New Unclean: How Our Psychology Was Hijacked to Make Us See Each Other as the Enemy

needle points
Are the vaccine hesitant really deserving of being called irresponsible conspiracy-minded nationalists who are ignorant of science - or other denigrating and pejorative mainstream media characterizations? Is it possible that many who are wary of, or outright resistant to, getting the jab - actually have some very legitimate reasons for thinking and feeling in the ways that they do? Is there, in fact, a whole set of values and 'moral tastebuds' that a rather large part of the left-leaning population and political class are being dismissive of out of hand, and out of all proportion? And what facets of human psychology are at hand when others are seen as potential vectors of disease? In short, why are some vaccine hesitant, and why are others so keen to demonize them?

This week on MindMatters we look at an in-depth examination of these issues as they're explored in Norman Doidge's seminal essay "Needle Points". No stranger to the study of how people think, and why, Doidge, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and author of The Brain That Changes Itself and The Brain's Way of Healing, examines the foundations of vaccine-hesitancy, and why, far from being "fringe" or "paranoid", they have a legitimacy that simply cannot, and shouldn't be, ignored by anyone taking a position on this highly contentious subject matter. He also discusses the "behavioral immune system" and what it can teach us about what is going on. Doidge so successfully outlines his needle points in his work that colleague Jordan Peterson encouraged him to produce a video narrating the text which may be watched here.

A PDF of the essay may be obtained here.

Running Time: 01:39:43

Download: MP3 — 137 MB


Dogs grieve the death of a loved one too

cute dog
The death of a dog is devastating for any owner, but if you have multiple pups, a new study suggests the loss is just as hard for them.

Researchers have revealed that dogs show key signs of grief after the death of another dog in the same household.

This includes an increase in attention seeking, eating less and whining, according to the team from the University of Milan.

While grief has previously been reported in other animals including birds and elephants, this is the first time it has been confirmed in dogs.
Key signs of grief in dogs

The study found that the dogs displayed many key signs of grief, including:
  • More attention seeking (67%)
  • Playing less (57%)
  • Less active (46%)
  • More fearful (35%)
  • More sleep (35%)
  • Eating less (32%)
  • More barking and whining (30%)

Eye 2

Are Psychopaths Attracted to Other Psychopaths?

© Sydney Shaffer Getty Images
In 2005, Scott Peterson was convicted of the murder of his wife Laci and her unborn child. During the first hour on death row, he received a marriage proposal, and within a day the warden's office was inundated with over 30 phone calls from women asking for his mailing address as well as letters from women professing their love for him.

This is not an isolated incident, and there is even a clinical term for it: Hybristophilia. On sites such as PrisonPenPals.com, WriteaPrisioner.com, ConvinctMailbag.com, and Meet-an-Inmate.com, there are thousands of dating ads from "prisoners who are waiting to hear from you!" Kyon in New York writes "Send a picture of yourself so I may be able to see the beautiful rose in your friendship garden." Joel in Wisconsin writes, "My favorite subject is revisionist history." Eugene from Oregon-- who is sentenced to jail for life-- writes, "I have a very good sense of humor." And there are plenty of women who respond.

What is the source of the attraction to dangerous people? There is no shortage of speculation, ranging from a drive to feel like a rebel, to a drive to become a celebrity or increase one's popularity, to a drive for a more exciting and adventurous life, to self-esteem issues typically resulting from past abuse, to the drive to be a caretaker, to the drive to control and have power over a person which can result from dating a person who needs you more than you need them.

Comment: See also:

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MindMatters: Schizo-autistic Philosophy, Ponerology and the Deranged View of Humanity

Many of our most basic assumptions about life, values and reality itself come to us from the thinking and writing of some of our best known philosophers. But what if some of those leading figures were only ever capable of understanding reality with what Andrew M. Lobaczewski called a schizoidally impoverished worldview, or what Ian McGilchirst calls a left-hemisphere-dominant mode of cognition? How would we even know? What may be some of the signs to look for? And what are the implications for a largely unsuspecting society that eats, breathes and lives in such a psychological environment?

Today on MindMatters we discus the "schizo-autistic" worldview - hyper-rational, cynical, detached, technocratic - its flaws, and how it has dominated the intellectual life of humanity for at least the past 200 years. From Descartes and Kant to Freud, Marx and Ryle, this style of thinking has its uses, but can never provide an adequate picture of reality and how to act within it. If that isn't enough to burst your bubble of illusions, we also discuss Machiavelli and what he may actually have achieved in bringing to light the true intentions, workings and dynamics of the political class.

Running Time: 01:22:39

Download: MP3 — 114 MB


The Nice Revolution, Canada's (second) populist movement?

truck protest convoy ottawa
© AP / Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press
Protesters walk past trucks parked in downtown Ottawa. February 2, 2022.
In recent years, there has been the Velvet Revolution, the Orange Revolution, the Cedar Revolution, and even the Singing Revolution.1 Leave it to Canadians to create the Nice Revolution. As though driven to live up to their national stereotype, the Canadians who have gathered in Ottawa to protest their government's draconian COVID measures have displayed a massive outbreak of niceness, kindness and hugs. As some of the signs say, it has been the winter of love. Yes, this is what a populist insurgency looks like in today's Canada.

Now, it hasn't always been quite like that. As it happens, I wrote my doctoral thesis (for all the good it did me) on the Canadian populist movement of the early 20th century. In large measure beginning as a spillover event from the U.S. populist insurgency of the late 19th century. That was a movement fueled by farmers, rather than truckers. And when I pick up the occasional signal from the trucker protest suggesting that it may not be enough to simply have the mandates repealed; that the political system which allowed these draconian measures to be initiated must be reformed; I reflect fondly upon the agrarian populist movement of a hundred years ago. A sterner bunch than those joyously dancing for freedom at Parliament Hill in recent weeks, they were laser focused on the need to reform the very core of Canadian governance to create a more grassroots democracy.2 How that farmers populist movement eventually failed is an interesting and instructive story, which I will explore in a future post. For today, though, I want to reflect upon the lessons I've learned of value to contemporary populism, seen through the lens of more recent study on the circulation of elites and the dangers of pathocracy.

Comment: For more insightful analysis from the author, see: Also check out SOTT radio's: MindMatters: The Managerial Revolution and the Circulation of the Elites

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MindMatters: R.G. Collingwood - The Forgotten Philosopher

Primarily known for his philosophy of history, British philosopher R.G. Collingwood's life was cut short in 1943 at the age of 53. As Ray Monk puts it, his replacement by Gilbert Ryle "changed the course of philosophy forever," and not in a good way. Collingwood's clear, expansive, and incisive style was replaced by the ratiocentric style of the analytic philosophers. But despite his lack of popularity today, Collingwood's works remain a source of profound insight and clear thought. From history and aesthetics, to metaphysics, religion, and political theory, Collingwood was one of the twentieth century's great thinkers, and today, to discuss his life and work (including his classic Autobiography), we are joined by the newest member of the MindMatters team, L.P. Koch.

Running Time: 01:24:22

Download: MP3 — 116 MB


Your best ally against injustice? Terry Pratchett

Terry Prachett
© Kevin Nixon/SFX Magazine/Future/Getty Images
Terry Prachett
Jack Monroe's use of the character Sam Vimes in a critique of cost-of-living statistics shows the enduring power of the author's fury and humour.

When the poverty campaigner and cookbook author Jack Monroe realised that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) was reporting a skewed and unfair version of the cost of living, they reached for Terry Pratchett, the brilliant author of comic fantasy whose books bristle with fury at the injustices of the world. Pratchett best expressed his anger through the character of Sam Vimes, the police chief who grew up on the breadline but, through a chain of unlikely events, finds himself among the monied elite, and one of the most powerful men in the city.*

In Men At Arms (1993), the second of Pratchett's novels to feature Vimes and the City Watch, the author gives his protagonist a searing monologue that he called the "Captain Sam Vimes Boots theory of socioeconomic unfairness". In full, it runs like this:
"Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet."


The 'Science' of Manipulation: researchers craft messages of guilt, shame to foster vaccine compliance

There's an entire field of research dedicated to developing messaging designed to persuade "vaccine-hesitant" individuals to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

None of the messaging examined by researchers involves conveying factual evidence that supports the claims — widely disseminated by Big Pharma, Big Media and public health agencies — that the vaccines are "safe" and "effective."

Researchers last month published the results of a clinical trial involving two survey experiments on how to manufacture consent for COVID vaccines.

The Yale-sponsored study, "Persuasive messaging to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake intentions," examined how different persuasive messages affected
  1. intentions to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,
  2. willingness to persuade friends and relatives to get the vaccine,
  3. fear of those who have not been vaccinated, and
  4. social judgment of people who choose not to vaccinate.

Comment: See also:

Magic Wand

All hell breaks loose when our senses go haywire

Jesus is a Malteser. You might say I'm a liar or accuse me of the most egregious heresy, but the fact remains that Jesus is a Malteser. This is because I have a neurological quirk known as synaesthesia, commonly described as a fusing of the senses. Its most common manifestation prompts people to see colour when they hear music. But my version is the rare lexical-gustatory kind, which means that I can taste words; and so Jesus is a Malteser, Sam is tinned tuna and Donald is a rubber duck bobbing around in vinegar.

This could seem nightmarish: life as a constant assault of rubber ducks and whiffy fish — a gustatory whack-a-mole — but it produces no intrusion. I consider it nothing other than a party trick, although it can also be useful as an aide-memoire. When starting a new job it has helped me remember colleagues' names: the nice lady on reception is a salty white pebble and the security chap is a packet of Cheese & Onion Ringos.

Comment: It remains to be seen just how accurate the author's conclusion is, and whether perhaps it's applicable to some, but not all, of the syndromes mentioned above: And check out SOTT radio's:


In Praise of Disobedience

line of people
© shutterstock
Here we are, all of us, almost two years on, still having to debate what appears to each of us to be incontrovertible. I suspect that most people made up their minds early on, and continue to pay attention only to the articles and news anchors who support their position. Therefore let me suggest that you take a look at a recent article, whichever side of the divide you are on.

Norman Doidge, a psychiatrist who has written beautiful books on neuroscience, recently published a scientifically serious and gently balanced introduction to the major Covid questions in the Tablet (complete version here). Highly recommended.

Doidge refers to the "behavioral immune system" and the "crystallization" that happens after a major dispute, as factors in the hardening divisions that are tearing apart our societies. The poet T.S. Eliot put it baldly: mankind cannot bear very much reality. We are not very well made for the continual work of revision and self-critique that could lead us to change our minds.

Yet change our minds we must, and we need tools to do so. If the jabs have not solved the problem, this would be a great time to have a frank, open discussion among the best educated professionals, with access to as much of the relevant data as possible. Instead, prominent scientists, doctors, and honestly curious laymen are being censored every day.