How totalism works

Resultado de imagem para Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Gamma-Rapho/Getty

Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Gamma-Rapho/Getty

The brainwashing methods of isolation, engulfment and fear can lead anyone to a cult. I should know – I was in one

by Alexandra Stein was formerly an associate lecturer in social psychology at Birkbeck, University of London. She now teaches at the Mary Ward Centre. Her research focuses on the social psychology of ideological extremism. Her latest book is Terror, Love and Brainwashing: Attachment in Cults and Totalitarian Systems(2016).

I began my formal research in 1999, eight years after battling my way out of a secret, so-called Marxist-Leninist group whose leader controlled my life in its most intimate details. He determined what I wore: a version of the advice in John Molloy’s bestseller Dress for Success (1975), featuring tailored blue suits and floppy red silk bowties. More significantly, he decided when I could marry, and whether I might have children. The leader’s decrees were passed down via memos typed on beige notepaper and hand-delivered to me by my ‘contact’. Because I was a low-ranked member, the leader remained unknown to me.

I joined this Minneapolis-based group, called The Organization (The O) believing I was to contribute to their stated goal of social justice, a value instilled in me by my family. However, what I actually did revolved around, first, being a factory machinist tending numerical control lathes and, then, grunt work in the group’s wholegrain bakery (we did at least make good bread) and, finally, writing business computer programs. The fact that these tasks seemed oddly disconnected from any strategy for social change did not escape my notice. I regularly questioned (until I learned not to) how all this was leading to justice for the poor and the powerless. A stern ‘struggle with the practice’ was the only answer I ever received, and back to my labours I would go, like Boxer the horse in George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1945), hardworking but still unenlightened as to the ultimate goal.

As I ‘developed’ over the years (as our groupspeak put it) it was revealed to me that ‘struggling with the practice’ would help us transform ourselves so as to be ready to contribute to some brave new world where we would finally fight for liberation of the oppressed. Meanwhile, we foot soldiers were so exhausted by the double shifts we worked year in and year out, the endless criticisms and self-criticisms, the leadership’s frowning upon any joy and spontaneity, that we no longer had the energy nor wit to keep asking questions.

However, despite – or perhaps because of – this dull and exhausting routine, in 1991 I did eventually make my exit along with two other disaffected comrades. Together we formed what I now call an ‘island of resistance’. We were able to gradually break the code of secrecy that silenced doubts about the group and its leader. With each other as validation, we began to articulate the real, dismal and frightening story of life in The O, which had as its unlikely recruiting grounds the 1970s food co-ops of the US Midwest.

After a dramatic exit, I wrote the memoir Inside Out (2002). The book was an effort to understand how I, an independent, curious and intelligent 26-year-old, could have been captured and held by such a group for so long. It was a cautionary tale for those not yet tempted by such a fate to beware of isolating groups with persuasive ideologies and threatening bass notes.

By then, I had learned about the brainwashing of prisoners of war and others in Mao’s China and North Korea in the 1950s; I had read the psychohistorian Robert Jay Lifton’s Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism (1961) and the psychologist Margaret Singer’s Cults in Our Midst (1996).  Singer described six conditions of cultic control among which were control of the environment; a system of rewards and punishments; creating a sense of powerlessness, fear and dependency; and reforming the follower’s behaviour and attitudes, all within a closed system of logic. Lifton emphasised that thought reform took place when human communication was controlled. Added to this, I found John Lofland’s Doomsday Cult (1966), his unrivalled undercover study of an early cell of the Unification Church – the Moonies – which outlined seven steps to total conversion centred around the isolation of the follower from everyone except other cult members. All these scholars agreed that the essence of the process was to isolate victims from their prior connections and destabilise their identity, then consolidate a new, submissive identity within a rigidly bound new network. This was achieved by alternating a regime of threats with conditional approval.

As I continued to recover from the trauma of my cult involvement, I came across the British psychologist John Bowlby’s attachment theory. This states that both children and adults will usually seek closeness to perceived safe others when stressed (even if only symbolically in the case of adults) in order to gain protection from threat. I saw this as potentially useful in helping to understand how people become trapped in cultic relationships…

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https://aeon.co/essays/how-cult-leaders-brainwash-followers-for-total-control

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Facebook Wants to Determine Users’ Emotions by Taking Secret Photos

Facebook

Facebook has just filed a patent for a system that will allow the network to photograph you without your permission – and according to some experts, they have every legal right to.

Facebook has filed a patent for a system that would allow them to tailor user experience by analyzing users’ emotions. Using the front facing camera on a person’s laptop or smartphone, the platform would take temporary photos of the user to determine their emotional reaction to stories they see on on the social media site and adjust the content accordingly.

The social media platform would increase content that people respond positively to, and reduce the frequency of content they respond negatively to. Even though there is already technology in place to curate a user’s news feed by taking note of what pages are unfollowed and other factors, the new system would assist in automating the process.

A spokesperson for Facebook explained to the Independent that filing a patent doesn’t necessarily mean the technology will be rolled out. “We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patents should not be taken as an indication of future plans,” they said.

Though innovative, using “passive imaging data” places Facebook in a kind of public relations and ethics grey area. The company has already faced criticism for targeting ads to teenage users based on their comments and for producing ads for certain medical conditions allegedly using users’ search histories.

It was also revealed in 2014 that the site conducted an experiment to see if it could manipulate users’ emotions by adjusting the feed of 700,000 users, later admitting that Facebook “failed to communicate clearly why and how we did it.”

It’s hard to see the public reacting favorably to having their photos taken without their permission.

There has been some speculation about whether Facebook could face legal action because of the technology, but legal experts say the company’s established user regulations may prevent this.

University of Maryland law professor James Grimmelmann told the International Business Times, “I think it would be very difficult for someone to successfully sue Facebook over this … Some class-action lawyers may try in the hopes of negotiating a cash settlement, but the obstacle is the terms of service. Facebook’s terms of service say they can use data for research, and they don’t make any promises about giving you an unbiased news feed.”

In its Data Use Policy, Facebook reserves the right to use data for “for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.”

https://sputniknews.com/science/201706101054500176-facebook-patent-determines-users-emotions/

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THE INDIVIDUAL BEYOND THE COLLECTIVE CULTURE

By Jon Rappoport, Guest Waking Times

“The mind has no obligation to be a container.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)

ONE: The elite men who manipulate the masses do stand outside The Collective, but they’re not free. Their only power comes from diminishing the power of others.

They don’t know any other kind of power.

The idea that, within themselves, as individuals, they have creative fire is completely and utterly foreign to them.

TWO: Every major covert op has the same objective: “defeat the enemy and thereby gain more control.”

But control over what?

Beyond the usual answers, the root answer is: “control over the mind.”

Why? Because if perception and thought can be channeled, directed, reduced, and weakened, then it doesn’t matter what humans do to resist other types of control. They will always go down the wrong path. They will always operate within limited and bounded territory. They will always ignore their own authentic power.

I’m talking about power that exceeds the “normal” and “average” ability to influence the stream of cause and effect.

The “prison” of cause and effect is a concept that is floated as part of the basic covert op to convince people they are small, diminished, and at the mercy of larger forces.

But underneath it all, humans have the capacity to “jump the chain” and become, as it were, “first causes.”

And not in some minor way.

Unfortunately, the popular view of how this can be accomplished is often rooted in New Age notions: the instantaneous fix; the Disneyesque manifestation; the “surrender to the universe.”

These are psy-op versions of the real thing, floated as part of the overall covert op to engage the gullible among us.

“Jumping the chain” is actually a matter of reversing the op. In other words, instead of accepting the mural of reality that has been created for us, each person creates his own. And puts it into the world.

Without compromise.

The degree to which an individual believes this is impossible mirrors his acceptance of the basic covert op on planet Earth.

THREE: When people speak about “hope for all of us,” they rarely refer to the power of the individual.

That’s because they are blinded by the Group. They have no other option.

They’re looking through the lens of the collective.

They judge their work solely by the effect it has on others, and they judge themselves solely by the effect others have on them.

FOUR: When the individual sets a direction that is outside the consensus and the status quo, he himself is outside the consensus.

The degree of organization he creates, in order to achieve the goal, doesn’t have to be traditional, symmetrical, balanced. Organization should be a function of the actions that will achieve the goal. The actions should dictate the organization.

FIVE: Freedom means the individual can change his mind at any moment. It also means that, if he doesn’t change his mind, and instead follows a straight path, he is going to have to keep referring back to the original vision that gave birth to the enterprise he’s engaged in. He’s going to have to keep inspiring himself in that way. Otherwise, his energy will stagnate. He will become less important than “the pattern.”

SIX: Storyline, when applied to a person’s life, makes no sense unless he is inventing it. Otherwise, the only forward motion is like something a machine would produce as it grinds ahead.

SEVEN: Many people are slaves of pattern. They believe if they do A, they must then do B, and then C. They see no other options. It makes sense to them to follow pattern and only pattern. But the pattern doesn’t necessarily lead to a desired outcome.

EIGHT: If “things as they are” has any life at all, it comes from anticipating that imagination is going to transform it.

NINE: So-called Enlightenment isn’t a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It’s the ongoing result of the individual freely creating new realities.

About the Author

Jon Rappoport is the author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX,…

This article (The Individual Beyond the Collective Culture) was originally created and published by Jon Rappaport’s Blog and is re-posted here with permission.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/06/01/individual-beyond-collective-culture/

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3 QUESTIONS YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO ASK ABOUT LIFE IN A SICK SOCIETY

by Sigmund Fraud, Staff Writer Waking Times

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~J. Krishnamurti

Society is directed by a never-ending mainstream narrative which is always evolving, and always reaching new dramatic peaks in sensationalism and hype. They fill your mind with topics they select, they keep your attention on these topics, and they invite and encourage you to argue amongst each other about these topics. In this way our collective attention is permanently commandeered, preventing us from diving too deeply into matters which have more than a superficial impact on day-today life.

Free-thinking is the ability and willingness to explore of ideas and areas of the mind which are yet undiscovered or are off-limits. It is a vanishing art that is deliberately being stamped out by a control system which demands conformity, acquiescence and obedience of body, mind, and spirit.

For your consideration, here are three questions you’re not supposed to ask about life in our profoundly sick society.

1. Who owns the money supply, and the world’s debt?

Pretty much the entire world is in financial debt, an insidious form of slavery which enables the exploitation of human beings and of all things in nature. It’s maddening when you think about it. The United States alone supposedly owes some $20 trillion, while the world at large owes a shocking $215 trillion?

But to whom, precisely?

Money is just a medium of exchange which facilitates transactions between people. In and of itself it has no intrinsic value as we could just as easily use sea shells instead of dollar bills and still be able to get things done. But today’s money is the property of private third-parties who rent it out to national governments, who then use the labor of their citizens as collateral against these loans. This is a highly refined form of slavery, which has already put future unborn generations of human beings in debt.

But who, exactly does the human race owe? Who are our debt-slave masters?

2. Who owns your body?

Ownership means having the explicit right to use, control and dispose of something in the manner of your choosing. The one thing you are born with that you take with you to your death is your own body, but do you own it? If not you, then who does own your body?

If this question were already settled in our society then there wouldn’t be ever-increasing pressure on those who choose to refuse vaccines. Children battling cancer and other serious illnesses wouldn’t be forced to take chemo and radiation under penalty of law and under threat of being taken from their parents. Water wouldn’t be fluoridated without our consent. Natural medicines wouldn’t be outlawed under threat of fines and prison time.

We are rapidly approaching a time when people will be required by law to take psychotropic medications as citizens were in Aldous Huxley’s dystopian classic, Brave New World.

Do you own your body, or does it belong to the state?

3.  Why is the exploration of consciousness restricted and illegal?

The most effective prisons are not material, but are constructed inside the mind. Perception, opinion and understanding are all dynamic concepts, not at all static. These can all change in the blink of an eye just because a new idea or experience resonates with you in a special way. Our evolution depends on our ability to expand the frontiers of what’s possible, and when the mind is held in confinement by an entrenched system and powerful cultural paradigm, progress, even happiness, is stunted.

In this societal trap you are given free rein to debase your consciousness and your spirit with alcohol, dangerous drugs, pharmaceuticals, television, pornography, theatrical violence, and then some, yet many natural medicines which elevate consciousness and provide a window into the soul are illegal.

“This is the way freedom is hijacked—not all at once, out in the open, but stealthily, little by little, behind closed doors, and with our own agreement. How will we be able to resist when so many of us have already willingly handed over the keys to our own consciousness to the state and accepted without protest that it is OK to be told what we may and may not do, what we may and may not explore, even what we may and may not experience, with this most precious, sapient, unique, and individual part of ourselves?

If we are willing to accept that then we can be persuaded to accept anything.” ~Graham Hancock

 

About the Author

Sigmund Fraud is a survivor of modern psychiatry and a dedicated mental activist. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com where he indulges in the possibility of a massive shift towards a more psychologically aware future for humankind. Follow Sigmund on Facebook here.

This article (3 Questions You’re Not Supposed to Ask About Life in a Sick Society) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Sigmund Fraud and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/05/29/3-questions-youre-not-supposed-ask-life-sick-society/

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MANIPULATING THE MASS MIND & ATTENTION

by Fred Dodson, New Dawn ,Waking Times

In my 30 years as a self-improvement coach, the most important insight is that where you put your attention is where your energy goes. If you find that hard to believe, try this: Walk through a crowd. Put your attention on the people. Then walk through the same crowd again and put your attention on the gaps between the people. More of them will now make way. Try it. It never fails. Here’s another experiment: Stand at the corner of any city street and look upwards for a while. You will notice people around you also look upwards. They want to know what you are looking at, and for that brief period you determined the direction of their attention.

If I tell a group of people to think of a red car, there is a great likelihood that all of them will do it. And if I tell them not to think of a red car… they will also think of a red car! They could have chosen to think of a blue mountain instead. From that you realise how easy it is to steer mass attention.

Rarely will anyone form their own thought or choose different than what they are told. In fact, if you do not make decisions and intentions, someone else will do it for you. You know this from your own life: If your spouse asks you where you want to go for dinner and you don’t really have any specific preference, then they will decide where to go. The same applies on a mass-scale.

Due to a general weakness of will and awareness, most people have their reality decided for them, with merely the illusion of choice given – such as being able to choose whether you will pay your taxes by credit card or bank wire.

In school, children do not learn how to think but what to think. They do not learn how to steer attention but instead various things they are supposed to steer attention to.

It is humbling to realise that most people on the planet do not practice focusing, guiding, re-directing, shifting, retrieving and un-sticking their own attention. Thus the life-experience of most of us is determined by external agendas as given by mass media, schools, our parents and countless other sources that have very little to do with our innermost heart’s truth.

We are lucky that at least some of the direction we get from outside is benign. We are lucky if we have parents who say, “You are highly talented, intelligent and beautiful,” thus directing our attention in the right direction. Have you ever heard a newscaster tell you, “You are safe, talented, intelligent, beautiful, empowered and able”? Not hardly. You’ll hear you are the victim of horrible circumstances that you can do nothing about.

Through directing attention, you become a mini-reality-creator. But the mass media is the grand sorcerer of reality manipulation as it directs the attention of millions. It’s not generally understood to what bizarre extent the news media actively participate in the creation of our reality. It is thought they only “report” what is “happening,” but that’s not the case.

The following are different levels of mass-reality-creation by the news media, sorted by the degree of manipulation:

Level 1: Filtering

When I create a movie for my work, I usually choose an outdoor location. I make sure to set up the camera in nature so the scenery looks really good. By choosing what to point the camera at, I am excluding everything I don’t want viewers to see, anything that does not fit my agenda.

I recently filmed breathtaking natural scenery… or at least that’s what it looked like in the final result. I excluded an adjacent parking place, trashcans, roaming dogs, public signs, ugly houses and anything else that disturbed the illusion of me being in paradise. Any filmmaker understands to which extent the filmmaker distorts reality.

From the millions of events that happen every day, the reporter filters which ones to report. This is a normal process. I do it for my own website by presenting only information relevant to its overall topic. People do it on Facebook by presenting themselves in a certain way and excluding pictures that might put them in a bad light.

News media, however, tend to apply several filters. The first one is the filter of negative bias. Why? Because at Earth’s current level of consciousness, fear, drama and hatred still capture more interest than peace, prosperity and harmony. Desperate to sell ad slots on their news program and their declining newspapers, most reports are filtered by how much upheaval and action they contain. In addition, televised news media follows the creed, “if there is no footage (video), it doesn’t matter.” When I was younger I worked for a well-known news station where I was told exactly that. I tried to get the editor to cover important angles of a story, but if there was no footage of it, it was as if it didn’t exist…

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http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/05/26/manipulating-mass-mind-attention/

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What is human capital?

Resultado de imagem para Workers leaving Pennsylvania shipyards, Beaumont, Texas in 1943. Photo by John Vachon/Library of Congress

Workers leaving Pennsylvania shipyards, Beaumont, Texas in 1943. Photo by John Vachon/Library of Congress

Human capital theory was invented as an ideological weapon in the Cold War. Now it is helping to Uberise the world of work

Peter Fleming is professor of business and society at Cass Business School at City, University of London. His latest book is The Death of Homo Economicus (forthcoming, 2017).

Chicago, 1960. The United States is bogged down in a long, expensive and dangerous Cold War with the Soviet Union. Inside the Economics Building at the University of Chicago, two academics are engaged in a private, intense conversation. Theodore ‘Teddy’ Schultz is tall and lanky. Raised on a South Dakota farm and pulled out of school by his father, he’d still managed to scale the heady heights of academia, first as chairman of the Economics Department in 1944 and then as president of the American Economic Association in 1960. Schultz has strong connections with the Ford Foundation, an important front for CIA programmes during the Cold War.

His younger sparring partner is Milton Friedman who in 1946 joined what became known as the ‘Chicago school’. Although Friedman was of diminutive stature, measuring only 1.52 metres tall, he already enjoyed a fierce reputation as a verbal opponent. Friedman will flirt with the CIA in due course too, training Chilean economists in the art of neoliberal ‘shock therapy’. His know-how came in handy after the US-sponsored overthrow/death of Chile’s Marxist president Salvador Allende in 1973. Richard Nixon said he wanted to hear the Chilean economy scream.

As the two men faced each other in that dark, oak-panelled office, they had a big problem on their hands. University economists were being recast in a new light by US state authorities; no longer bumbling professors (sporting a pipe and tweed jacket) but the creators of ideational weapons, just as important as the intercontinental ballistic missiles being readied at Vandenberg airbase in California. Members of the Chicago school were confident they could make a significant contribution in the struggle.

But how exactly?

Schultz shifts nervously in his leather-bound chair. Economic growth has to be the answer, he avers. Friedman nods in agreement, but quietly frowns as Schultz makes his case. In Moscow, Nikita Khrushchev has just announced that ‘growth of industrial and agricultural production is the battering ram with which we shall smash the capitalist system’. This brazen provocation caused a stir when it was read to the US Joint Economic Committee of Congress in 1959.

Friedman is stony silent – a rarity that Schultz seizes upon to extend his point. There’s a very pragmatic aspect to his plan, too. Not only is growth a ‘hot topic’ following the Khrushchev speech, but a number of powerful technocrats in the US government are increasingly sympathetic to Schultz’s views, especially the Council of Economic Advisers. They’ve been instructed by the Oval Office to devise a growth strategy that will eclipse the USSR and leave it for dead.

Although Schultz holds staunch neoclassical assumptions about growth and development, he learnt from his earlier studies of agricultural productivity that increased public spending on education was absolutely vital to the nation’s growth agenda. It will not only give the US a scientific edge in the space race but also enrich the country’s wider skill reserves, making it more productive and thus beating the Soviets at their own ‘growth game’.

Friedman abruptly interjects. Yes, he intones, the question of economic growth is vital. But public spending is not the way forward. It’s easy to picture Friedman browbeating his weary chairman once again about the evils of ‘big government’ and central planning. The Soviet enemy instead needs to be confronted on strictly US terms, where individual freedom and capitalist enterprise come to the fore. Government is the problem, not the solution. Friedman’s ideal hero is the self-made entrepreneur. He often cited a joke from the vaudeville humourist Will Rogers to cut down his government-friendly critics: just be thankful you don’t get the government you actually pay for!

Here, Friedman is echoing the views of the Austrian free-market zealot F A Hayek, who had joined the University of Chicago in 1950. While exiled in London back in the 1940s, Hayek had written the rabid anti-communist tract, The Road to Serfdom. A condensed version was published by Reader’s Digest and made its author famous. Hayek’s near-fanatical belief in capitalist individualism and all things anti-USSR undoubtedly swayed the terms of the debate that Schultz and Friedman were presently having.

The two academics pause to gather their thoughts. Then the concept of human capital is broached. Possibly by Schultz since it might help to find some common ground with his tiny counterpart. Unfortunately, it proved to be the older academic’s undoing in the debate.

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/how-the-cold-war-led-the-cia-to-promote-human-capital-theory

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Our world outsmarts us

Resultado de imagem para the laughter of the gods From Puck magazine 1909. Courtesy Library of Congress

From Puck magazine 1909. Courtesy Library of Congress

Social problems are fantastically complex, while human minds are severely under-engineered. Is democracy doomed?

by Robert Burton is a neurologist, author and the former associate director of the department of neurosciences at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center at Mt Zion. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, and Nautilus, among others. His latest book is A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves (2013).

When mulling over possible reasons for the alarming nastiness associated with the recent presidential election in the United States, I am reminded of my grade-school bully. Handsome, often charming, superbly athletic, the bully (let’s call him Mike) would frequently, usually without clear provocation, kick, punch and shove other classmates. Fortunately, for reasons not apparent at that time, he never bothered me.

Fast-forward 20 years. After his long-time girlfriend left him for another man, Mike stalked and stabbed to death the new boyfriend. Shortly following his murder conviction and incarceration, I ran into Mike’s father, who spontaneously blurted out: ‘Did you know that Mike had severe dyslexia?’

As soon as his father spoke, I recalled Mike’s great difficulty reading aloud in class. As he stumbled over simple words, the other kids fidgeted, snickered and rolled their eyes. In return, they got bullied. I can still sense my classmates’ fear of Mike even as I cringe at the knowledge that, in our collective ignorance, we were at least partially responsible for his outbursts. What if we had understood that Mike’s classroom performance was a neurological handicap and not a sign of general stupidity, laziness or whatever other pejoratives of cognition we threw at him? Would our acceptance of his disability have changed the arc of Mike’s life? Of ours?

Since running into his father, I’ve often wondered if Mike’s outbursts and bullying behaviour might offer an insight into the seeming association between anger, extremism and a widespread blatant disregard for solid facts and real expertise. I’m not dismissing obvious psychological explanations such as ideological and confirmatory biases and overriding self-interests, or suggesting that a particular human behaviour can be reduced to a single or specific cause. But Mike’s story suggests an additional, more basic dynamic. What if, as a species, the vast majority of us have a profoundly challenging collective difficulty with mathematics and science analogous to Mike’s dyslexia?

Whether contemplating the pros and cons of climate change; the role of evolution; the risks versus benefits of vaccines, cancer screening, proper nutrition, genetic engineering; trickle-down versus bottom-up economic policies; or how to improve local traffic, we must be comfortable with a variety of statistical and scientific methodologies, complex risk-reward and probability calculations – not to mention an intuitive grasp of the difference between fact, theory and opinion. Even moral decisions, such as whether or not to sacrifice one life to save five (as in the classic trolley-car experiment), boil down to often opaque calculations of the relative value of the individual versus the group.

If we are not up to the cognitive task, how might we be expected to respond? Will we graciously acknowledge our individual limits and readily admit that others might have more knowledge and better ideas? Will those uneasy with numbers and calculations appreciate and admire those who are? Or is it more likely that a painful-to-acknowledge sense of inadequacy will promote an intellectual defensiveness and resistance to ideas not intuitively obvious?

Imagine going to your family doctor for a routine physical exam. After running a number of screening tests, he informs you that one of the blood tests – for an initially asymptomatic but rapidly progressive and uniformly fatal neurological disease – came back positive. The doctor further explains that everyone with the disease tests positive (no false-negative rate), but that there is a 5 per cent false-positive rate (a positive test in people who never develop the disease). He then pats you on the shoulder and says: ‘I wouldn’t worry. It’s a rare disease that affects only one in 1,000 people.’

Before continuing, what’s your initial gut feeling as to the likelihood that you have the illness? Now take a moment and calculate the actual likelihood…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/the-complexity-of-social-problems-is-outsmarting-the-human-brain

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