Friday, March 09, 2012

Putting Underwear on Feet and Other Tricks of the Brain

On Facebook, a friend of mine posted the picture below, which I really did like.

And I commented about how I didn't understand how social conservatives could not see the contradiction when they rail against excessive morality in Muslim countries while also railing against excessive immorality in our own country.  I mean, it seems like a pretty straight forward connection here, so it boggled my mind that these people couldn't see the contradiction.  Instead, they link liberals to inequality in the middle-east, somehow oblivious to the fact that we're even further to the left on these issues than they are.

But as is my style, I started typing until I had my solution, which I've reposted below.

I'm thinking this really comes down to a basic calculation of My Position = Good, Opponent's Position = Bad; and that's it. When they're reciting their position against immorality in America or against morality in Muslimland, they're not really thinking about what they're saying. They're just repeating what they're told, which they store in the "These Are Bad Things" slot in their brains. Which is why they link liberalism to immorality in America and morality in Muslimland, because liberals are *also* in the "These Are Bad Things" slot. It's like everything that's stored there is obviously linked, or it wouldn't be there.

And it's like the difference between someone who dumps all their socks in the sock drawer and wears whatever they pull out first, as opposed to someone who carefully sorts through their socks and only uses the socks that match their outfit. And if someone sneaks underwear into their sock drawer, they'll go ahead and put underwear on their feet and not understand why that's a problem. After all, it wouldn't be in the sock drawer if it weren't a sock. And you can explain until you're blue in the face that underwear doesn't go on feet, and they'll look at you like you're crazy because they know they pulled it out of the sock drawer and so it's got to be a sock.

Because that really is how our brains work. We store things in specific areas in our brains and pull them out when we need them. And the only question is how well our brain space is organized, and if we're effective at keeping the crap out rather than deluding ourselves by filling it with garbage that sounds good but doesn't really fit. And that's what happens when we trust people to tell us the truth more than we trust ourselves. Fortunately for me, there's something wrong with my brain, which is why I don't trust anyone and don't store anything into my brain until I've had time to think about it. Sure, it slows me down, but it helps prevent me from making mistakes.

And so I guess I just got the answer to the thing I said I couldn't understand before.

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