Friday, 19 July 2013

Dishonesty reduces applied intelligence: re-wires the brain

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Surveying the modern intellectual scene, the world of public discourse among the educational elites, I conclude that dishonesty does not only reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of thinking - but it actually reduces applied intelligence - probably by re-wiring the brain.

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What I am suggesting is that, although the fundamental efficiency of neural processing is an hereditary characteristic which is robust to environmental differences and changes (short of something like destructive brain pathology - encephalitis, neurotoxin, head injury, dementia etc) - habitual dishonesty (such as is mainstream among the modern intellectual elite) will generate brain changes, and a long-lasting (although probably, eventually, reversible) pathology in applied intelligence - such that what ought to be simple and obvious inferential reasoning becomes impossible.

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I mean impossible.

Habitual dishonesty (most notable political correctness) is a form of learning; and learning strengthens some brain pathways and brain connections; while allowing other pathways and connections to wither and (perhaps eventually) perish.

Therefore, even on those rare occasions when a typical modern intellectual tries to be honest and to think straight - they cannot do it, because their reasoning processes have been sabotaged by their own repeated habits of dishonesty - their attempts at honest thoughts will be inhibited, and instead channelled down the usual lying pathways...

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Thus, in modern intellectual life, honesty is punished and dishonesty is rewarded; honest brain pathways decay, dishonest brain pathways enlarge.

After years and years of conditioning in dishonesty, the typical modern intellectual (whether journalist, scientist, lawyer, teacher, doctor or whatever) becomes physically unable to think straight.

Thus the lack of common sense of the 'Clever Sillies' who rule modern societies, and who are driving them into suicide and self-destruction; may, in practice, be intractable - short of mass repentance and long-term rehabilitation and retraining of neural pathways and connections.

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Reference: Clever Sillies - http://medicalhypotheses.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/clever-sillies-why-high-iq-lack-common.html

13 comments:

  1. This is a fascinating idea.

    I find it interesting to consider other examples outside politics and political correctness. It is a commonplace truism of self-help that people often tell fibs about their own feelings and attitudes because they feel shame or guilt about aspects of themselves. So for instance, the boy who is shamed for acting aggressively learns to suppress aggressive words and actions. If you are correct, over time, he begins to believe his own lies (and omissions of action) through the neural wiring you describe. Eventually, he is no longer capable of knowing his own feelings and desires, although they are still present. This is what we mean when we say someone "is not in touch with his desires."

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  2. @J - This is why - if you want to change your own behaviour - this must involve repentance and repudiation; and then the process of establishing new patterns of wiring can gradually begin.

    But habitually dishonest people simply cannot *suddenly* start being honest!

    It never happens - does it?

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  3. I conclude that dishonesty does not only reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of thinking - but it actually reduces applied intelligence - probably by re-wiring the brain.

    I am certain you are correct as this is highly plausible.

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  4. This posting is not really speculative - it is just standard undergraduate psychology of learning, but joining the dots in a slightly unfamiliar way.

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  5. I disagree with you on a lot of things. But you might find this paper interesting.

    http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~redlawsk/papers/Tipping%20Point%20doi=10.1111_j.1467-9221.2010.00772.pdf

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  6. I have this quote from Theodore Dalrymple on my wall--

    Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

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    1. This explains why I didn't order new phones from Verizon last night. I couldn't stand all the lies. The "upgrade fee" which is really just for deceiving people on price. The idea that I need to "register my computer" when it's just that they want to put their browser-specific cookies on the computer. I got sick of the lying and decided I'll stay with our current phones for a while yet.

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  7. In fact I've seen this in simpler terms with animals affected by their owners more than a few times. A dishonest, two-faced person's family dog that becomes repressed (I observe it wants to be friendly but is scared of benign contact with outsiders and conflicted) and ends up biting another families child, and is destroyed. A parrot that hates men but comes to me when it is injured (I'm male). A horse etc...

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  8. This explains the mindset of "The True Believer" who CANNOT change their mind, even in the face of flawless, overwhelming logic showing the error(s) in their thinking. "Brainwashing" at its' worst! SCARY!!!!

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  9. It's related to mood affiliation.

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  10. Hmm, fascinating idea. I have a friend who says that some people seem to have a perverse relationship with the truth. This seems similar. I am very interested in aesthetics and I am wondering if this might apply there. There seems to be a rule against talking about aesthetic quality, at least in the mainstream media. Writers seem simply incapable of saying that such and such a piece of music is better or worse than another. Same idea?

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  11. @BT - According to the way neuroscientists discuss learning, any habitual behaviour will tend to change brain circuitry to facilitate some pathways and inhibit others - so, yes!

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  12. If the premise is correct, then talk show host Michael Savage would be correct in saying "Liberalism is a mental disorder."

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