On Violence

Pause a moment to bathe in the Fountain of Clue.

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In seeing the shares (for the image above), I noticed some interesting trends in the responses on other (Facebook) walls. First off is the assumption that being morally opposed to violence is the same as making an informed and rational decision about it.

Umm, not really. See the part of the brain that make moral judgments and emotional decisions isn’t the same part that does your logical thinking. Starting with the fact that it’s faster than the slower, ‘logical’ parts. Add in that MRIs show activities in these parts BEFORE the logical parts kick in. So in essence, we’ve made an emotional, predetermined decision and THEN we rationalize it. (But only when called upon to do so. Otherwise we’re just fine with out judgmental opinions and beliefs). Often our ~cough cough~ reasons for our opinions/beliefs are about as weak as a kitten after an epileptic seizure — but DAMNIT we know we’re right!

This is why I very specifically used the words ‘morally opposed.’ Because I was talking about beliefs instead of actual knowledge. But in these days where people who have beliefs are considered second class citizens, the authority for beliefs aren’t in some imaginary friend in the sky, but based on rational thought, science, studies and enlightenment. Such as being morally opposed to violence because… you know, it’s wrong. And if you don’t agree then it means you’re a violent knuckle dragging, abusive, retard who needs to have your rights stripped away and while we’re at it go sit in the corner and feel ashamed for being so wrong. Let your betters decide what to do with you and your life.

Now I’m obviously going over the top with that last, but I did it for a reason. That is one of the ways to spot a belief system masquerading as ‘rational thought’ is how fast it becomes a verbal attack or ad hominem (you’re argument is wrong because you’re a ___[fill in the blank]). Weak reasons for supporting a position are covered by instead attacking.

Another common strategy is how quickly a small issue doesn’t just become a sticking point, but an excuse to dismiss the whole concept. Interestingly enough, the two points that I saw most were ‘it’s been my experience’ and ‘most.’ Instead of me using the rhetorical and over-inflated ‘ALL’ and ‘everyone who…’ charges I left a little more conditional. But by not making it an absolute the negative reaction from many people is aimed that the fact that I DIDN’T make it an absolute.

Wait, what?

This actually makes sense if you look at it from the perspective of ‘If I am verbally and emotionally violent — read abusive — about this idea, I’ll kind of be fitting the profile.’ So instead, try to show why it is wrong by nitpicking at him not making it an absolute statement.

Yeah, and methinks the lady doth protest too much.”

Shared with the author’s permission. Emphasis mine.