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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why They HATE Hearing the Truth About 9/11

Why do so many people throw their hands over their ears and let out a scream of horror when confronted with the evidence that 9/11 was an inside job?

Laura Knight-Jadczyk, last night's radio show guest, cited research showing that when people are given negative information about their leaders, the brain's emotional circuits override the cognitive ones; a blast of bad neurochemicals triggers a negative emotional state, which is only relieved by positive emotions when the person figures out a way - no matter how irrational - to discount the information.

In other words, when we offer someone evidence that 9/11 was an inside job, neural "punishment areas" are turned on, and the person experiences serious distress. But as soon as that person comes up with a reason to discount or ignore the evidence they have just been shown - even if the reason is transparently bogus - they experience a flood of pleasurable chemicals from the brain's dopamine reward circuits.  Barbara Oakley cites psychologist Drew Weston's experiments: "Once a way was found to ignore information that could not be rationally discounted, the neural punishment areas turned off, and the participant received a blast of activation in the circuits involving rewards - akin to the high an addict receives when getting his fix."

Summing up his research, Westen writes: "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones...emotionally biased reasoning leads to the 'stamping in' or reinforcement of a defensive belief, associating the participant's 'revisionist' account of the data with positive emotion or relief and elimination of distress. The result is that partisan beliefs are calcified, and the person can learn very little from new data."

That would explain why so many have learned so little from the new data from Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Pilots for 9/11 Truth, and Neils Harrit and colleagues.

So what's the hardworking 9/11 truth activist to do?

First, recognize that scientific geeks like Jim Hoffman who think that their own opinions about what actually happened on 9/11 are gospel that will save the world, while anyone who disagrees with even 5% of their opinions is an evil disinformation operative, are barking up the wrong tree. Even if Hoffman is right in all of his opinions (including his bizarre belief that Flight 77 hit the Pentagon), and even if he had strong evidence to back up those opinions (which in the case of the Pentagon he doesn't), simply being right is not only not enough, but downright irrelevant to the task at hand.

As a practical matter, communication about such a highly charged topic as 9/11 truth is about emotion, not fact. It is a given that the facts show that 9/11 was an inside job. Transmitting those facts - unless you're talking to a Vulcan - is mainly an emotional endeavor.

Our goal should be to bypass the brain's punishment circuitry and instead give people a reward for looking at the facts about 9/11...or at least defuse some of the bad emotions and level the emotional playing field so they can think rationally.

Personally I think one of the best ways to short-circuit the negative emotions, and bring forth some positive ones, is through humor. And 9/11 has left us in the most darkly comic situation imaginable.

In Ionesco's hilarious absurdist masterpiece Rhinoceros, the hero seems to be the only person in the café who cares that a rhinoceros is rampaging around, knocking over tables and threatening to trample the customers to death. It's a metaphor for the French non-reaction to the Nazi occupation...and perhaps for the American non-reaction to the ZioNazi coup d'état of September 11th 2001. It's so painfully absurd that it's...almost...funny! But hey, at least it only hurts when I laugh.

Helping people see the absurd humor in their situation can be a life-saver...and a truth-saver.

Talking about 9/11 with someone like Mike Pintek of KDKA-Pittsburgh, whose emotional circuits force him to rabidly deny that there is a rhinoceros in the room, yields humour noir of the highest order. (Listen to my hilarious Pintek interview.)

Winning the "Most Obnoxious Thing on the Internet" award from Matt Taibbi - for telling the simple truth - is also the stuff of absurdist comedy.

And the fact that the "Ground Zero Mosque" is actually closer to World Trade Center Building 7 than to Ground Zero is pretty funny if you stop to think about it.

If we're going to take on the painful task of spreading an inconvenient but necessary truth, we might as well enjoy ourselves.

Or, as the saying goes: If you tell the truth, better make it funny - or they'll kill you.

6 comments:

  1. The quotes are from Barbara Oakley's "Evil Genes." Thanks to Laura Knight-Jadczyk for bringing this to my attention.

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  2. Nice job, Kevin, at shining more light on issues that I have written and spoken about for years, including on your radio program. You sum it up well when you wrote:
    "As a practical matter, communication about such a highly charged topic as 9/11 truth is about emotion, not fact."
    Even those of us that consider ourselves to be primarily rational thinkers are not immune to the brain chemical releases you also explain.
    I also agree with you that humor is one of the ways around these chemical/psychological barriers, although I would add two points of caution.
    One is that issues as tragic as 9/11 require extra sensitivity when using humor.
    The second is that when communicating in a dry media like writing, where there is no benefit of inflection and tone of voice - let alone body language, it becomes especially important to be sure the reader is fully aware that you are intending comedy. Major miscommunications can come from forms of humor, such as satire, when it is mistakenly taken as serious. For that reason, I suggest use of emoticons :-) and other abbreviations (s), (smile) that make it clear you are intending to be humorous.

    Finally, I want to invite anyone reading this thread that is interested in the topic to read my article on this subject, titled "The Truth is Not Enough", published in the final issue of Global Outlook magazine and also at 911Truth.org at this link:

    http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20090506155958670

    Thanks again, Kevin, for this article and the program and research that it came from.
    Thanks especially to your guest Laura Knight-Jadczy, and all others contributing to the psychological understandings of the issues intrinsic to 9/11 and our message of 9/11 truth.

    Ken

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  3. Besides humour, civil information activism has an effect on people by using respect as a key to opening doors.

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  4. Kevin,

    Only someone as confident in the material as you are can twist this dark subject into humor. I applaud you and urge everyone to become confident enough about this matter that the truth also sets you free.

    Geo Ripley

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  5. Kevin- Appreciate your research. You should send posts to http://mediamatters.org. This is one of the premier liberal disinfo sites that mocks 9-11 truth. They claim to be open but will not post any dissenting views.

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  6. But you can be sure their politcally- correct editors read them.

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