Monday, August 14, 2006

Monkeys with Car Keys

I have three brains: lower, middle, and upper. They guide my actions, either singly or in combinations. We would like to think that many of the things we do are the result of deliberate, careful, and rational thinking on our part. Ha! The lower and middle brains take precedence over the upper brain almost all the time. Don't believe me?

Sex sells. Put a pretty face, some nice boobs, and pert a butt near a brand name and its sold. It even works with male physiques. There's an abercrombie & fitch billboard ad in Houston that has a male model posing without a shirt on. No clothing is visible.

Watch (American) football and notice the ads between time-outs. Beer, big trucks, beef, etc. All those masculine manly things. They are targeting guys who like football. They know what else the guy who likes football likes. I wonder if the guys who like football are made to like the stuff in the ads, simply by having them associated with the game, or if it's just that guys who like football are naturally going to like the stuff in the ads. It is because they are naturally going to like those things. Why?

The lower brain. Football is violent and competitive, with big, beefy guys jumping on each other and slapping each others bums. Very masculine, lemme assure you. Guys who like this stuff like big trucks, because it allows them to dominate the road, as their favourite football players like to dominate the field. They eat big, beefy meals to be able to compete with the other big, beefy males. They like seeing commercials for watery beer that have lots of scantily-clad females wiggling and groveling before men. Makes them feel large and in charge.

Notice how the burger on TV is mouth-watering in appearance, but the one in real life is flat, stale, greasy and putrid. What a shock it must be for some people. I wonder if they expected something like what was depicted in the ad. Same goes for the beer commercials.

This is not to say that people are only hungry and horny robots. Most people do have a legitimate thought every now and again. The problem is that the lower brains often override the good sense of the upper brain. That's why the ads work. It also works in political campaigns.

Bush wants us to think he's tough on terror. He's a tough guy who knows right from wrong, enemy from friend. Kerry was labeled a flip-flopper to show he was not a manly man. He was an anti-war protestor who spoke lucidly about a conflict he had experienced firsthand.

The fear-mongering didn't help.

I was involved with an "activist" organisation for a couple of days. We were organised beggars, going door-to-door informing people about some threat to the environment. We were to collect so much a week, and half of that would go to us, the other half to the organisation. Training meant learning how to get an emotional reaction out of people. Every attempt I made was done with facts, figures, and concerns I thought people should know. It didn't work. People wanted to be told that something going into landfills contained chromium, a substance that causes cancer. I walked around a few blocks with a trainer, and I saw him do it, time and time again. It worked. People got the impression that if they gave this stranger some money, they wouldn't get cancer.

I felt that was wrong at the time, but I didn't know why. Now I do. Bush and this activist group were using fear to manipulate people. Fear makes people stupid. There are several studies which prove this. The chemicals that induce fear, or that are the cause of the feeling of fear disrupt higher mental functions. When we get scared or angry, we lose our ability to reason.

Gorillas and chimps can be taught sign-language and can even read and form sentences with the help of computers. But when chimps get to adulthood, they can no longer be studied in that way. They become too unpredictable, too aggressive. Now let's do some evolution here and imagine that we could suddenly make chimps slightly smarter, gave them the ability to speak. They would be like hairy humans, which is kind of what we are - hairless chimps that can talk. We see the chimps doing their violent, aggressive thing and we laugh. Oh those silly monkeys, being all violent for no reason. At least us humans have reasons for violence.


The next time you're driving on the highway, and some H2 is going 85 and riding your tail before he manages to pass you with a sneer on his face, just remember that in his angered, beef-brained state, he is much like a chimp. Yes, there are thousands of people driving SUVs that are glorified hairless chimps. This is not to say I'm not. We all are glorified hairless chimps. The only difference between a monkey with car keys and a human is how often one uses the upper brain instead of the lower and middle brains.

Oh yeah, and monkeys look cuter in fezzes.


Blogger Delta said...

Very interesting post. It seems that politicians and many others have realized for a long time that fear inhibits reason and they use it to their advantage. One of the reasons why many people are so susceptible is that, in politics for example, people don't usually think about politics in any meaningful way unless it's right before an election. Thus, they lack thoughts about the issues that have been worked out rationally in the absence of fear and all of their political thoughts are created in an atmosphere of fear, resulting in a very low-quality product.

Everyone is susceptible to the same fears. The difference between people might just be whether or not they have previously created rational beliefs to fall back on when the time comes.

We have a lot of environmental activists in the area where I live who try to get you to sign up for giving money to the organization. I wonder if they get 50% of it as well?

15 August, 2006 12:06  
Blogger Mookie said...

"unless it's right before an election"

And even then with sound bites and oversimplication.

"resulting in a very low-quality product."


"previously created rational beliefs to fall back on when the time comes."

Yes, I have found that these are the most necessary element. A good example is racism. If you teach kids early enough, with a rational approach, that there is no difference between people of differing melanin levels, they are far less likely to pick up the emotion-induced bigotry of others.

"get 50% of it as well?"

Probably. They are listed in the newspaper classifieds as "jobs for activists". There are almost always ads because it's tiresome, tedious labor. You have to be very poor and very committed to do it.

15 August, 2006 12:49  

Post a Comment

<< Home