Thursday, October 23, 2008

Are Republicans Hijackers?

Embedded in the DNA of American culture is the notion that the activities of external life - doing, fixing, accumulating, competing, accomplishing etc. - trumps the activities of internal life - reflecting, thinking, becoming, evolving, etc. In addition, Americans tend to value obedience, conformity and simplistic thinking over depth of knowledge, dissent, and critical thinking. This type of atmosphere, where reflection, self-awareness, and intellectualism are disposable and, in some circles, seen as a sign of weakness, providing fertile ground for the agenda of despotism as it creates the perfect "hijackee" (emotional).

What is emotional hijack? Supposedly, in stressful or threatening circumstances, emotion "hijacks" our rational thought processes. The signals we receive in a "threatening" situation bypasses our "thinking brain" (cortex), and sends the signal straight to the amygdala, which is the most primitive part of our brain and functions primarily to react in a defensive and self-protective manner.

So, what does all of this have to do with politics or Republicans? Studies have shown that people retain information better when that information is accompanied by emotion; therefore, there is no better time to inform habits of thought than when the brain is seized by sorrow, fear, anger, or hate. This is the time to convince "Joe the Plumber" that his interests align perfectly with big moneyed interests.

Republicans excel at emotionally "hijacking" the American public, either as the catalyst for combustion or ready to jump in and exploit the "threatening" situation to their benefit. This is when the GOP intentionally diverts America's attention away from the actual source of the problem and targets a scapegoat - a group or program (gay, poor, African Americans, Welfare, New Deal etc.) - who, not only are innocent of wrongdoing, but are victims of the disruptive or upsetting conditions, as well. Republicans are notoriously good at paving the way to hell so that we, the people look forward to the trip, so much so, that we actively participate in our own undoing as the politically elite cash in.

So, are Republicans hijackers? It depends. Obviously, if the Republicans orchestrate an event for the sole purpose of exploiting its citizenry, the label hijacker applies. However, if Republicans did not plan the threatening event, which is more than likely the case, rather they readily pounced on the first calamity to exploit it to further their agenda, the label does not apply, because their ability to take advantage of a negative event requires our permission to do so.

Having said all that, emotional "hijacking" does not account for the complex, intricate relationship that exists between thinking and emotion in human beings. Thinking underlies our emotions and emotions propel our thinking and it is up to us to control both in such a way that we consider the good of the greatest number of people involved, otherwise, it is likely that political leaders will succeed when employing manipulative techniques to get us to act against self interest.

Ironically, if we indulge in intellectual laziness, and show no interest in evolving our thinking beyond that of a 2-year old, where everything is about me, me, me, our myopic, self-centered thought patterns will prevent us from seeing the whole picture, making us the perfect candidate for politicians who will do their very best to make us accomplices in efforts to disenfranchise ourselves.

We can prevent the greedy, power-hungry political elite from emotionally hijacking us by differentiating ourselves from them. We can do this by consciously transforming our egocentric, self-serving thinking, unconcerned with the rights of others, to a more self-aware, non-egocentric, comprehensive way of employing one's mind. Then, and only then, can we impose intelligence on our emotions and challenge the destructive dynamics that the politically elite create to remain in power and enables all 1% of them to earn more than the bottom 50% and own more than the bottom 90% of our population combined.

1 comments:

Anonymous,  16:18  

Hmmm. Never thought of it that way, but it's true. Look at 9/11. Look at how they took advantage of American citizens and how much 9/11 heled them accomplish.

Great Blog!

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