Author Topic: Normalcy Bias: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet  (Read 24837 times)

Offline Laura

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From: "You Are Not So Smart" by David McRaney

Normalcy Bias

THE MISCONCEPTION: Your fight-or-flight instincts kick in and you panic when disaster strikes.

THE TRUTH: You often become abnormally calm and pretend everything is normal in a crisis.

 If you knew a horrific mile-wide force of nature was headed toward your home, what would you do? Would you call your loved ones? Would you head outside and look for the oncoming storm? Would you leap into a bathtub and cover yourself with a mattress?

 No matter what you encounter in life, your first analysis of any situation is to see it in the context of what is normal for you and then compare and contrast the new information against what you know usually happens. Because of this, you have a tendency to interpret strange and alarming situations as if they were just part of business as usual.

For three days in 1999, a series of horrific tornadoes scrubbed clean the Oklahoma countryside. Among them was a monster force of nature later called the Bridge Creek–Moore F5. The F5 part of the name comes from the Enhanced Fujita Scale. It goes from EF1 to EF5 and measures the intensity of a twister. Less than 1 percent of tornadoes ever reach the top level. At 4, cars go airborne and whole houses are leveled. To reach level 5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, a tornado’s winds must exceed 200 miles per hour. The winds in Bridge Creek–Moore reached 320.

Warnings were issued thirteen minutes in advance, yet many people did nothing as the monster approached. They milled around and hoped the killer would spare them. They didn’t attempt to run for safety. In the end, the beast destroyed 8,000 homes and killed 36 people. Many more would surely have perished if there had been no warning at all. For instance, a similar twister in 1925 killed 695.

So, given there was a warning, why did some people not heed the call to action and seek shelter from the colossus?

The tendency to flounder in the face of danger is well understood and expected among tornado chasers and meteorologists. Tales of those who choose to ride out hurricanes and tornado-spewing storm clouds are common. Weather experts and emergency management workers know you can become enveloped in a blanket of calm when terror enters your heart.

Psychologists refer to it as normalcy bias. First responders call it negative panic. This strange counterproductive tendency to forget self-preservation in the event of an emergency is often factored into fatality predictions in everything from ship sinkings to stadium evacuations.

Disaster movies get it all wrong. When you and others are warned of danger, you don’t evacuate immediately while screaming and flailing your arms.

In his book Big Weather, tornado chaser Mark Svenvold wrote about how contagious normalcy bias can be. He recalled how people often tried to convince him to chill out while fleeing from impending doom. He said even when tornado warnings were issued, people assumed it was someone else’s problem. Stake-holding peers, he said, would try to shame him into denial so they could remain calm. They didn’t want him deflating their attempts at feeling normal.

Normalcy bias flows into the brain no matter the scale of the problem. It will appear whether you have days and plenty of warning or are blindsided with only seconds between life and death.

Imagine you are in a Boeing 747 airplane as it touches down after a long flight. You hide a sigh of relief once the ground ceases to rush closer and you hear the landing gear chirp against the runway. You release the hand rests as the engines power down. You sense the bustle of four hundred people preparing to leave. The tedious process of taxiing to the terminal begins. You play back some of the moments on the giant plane, thinking how it was a pleasant flight with few bumps and nice people all around. You are already collecting your things and getting ready to remove your seat belt. You look out the window and try to make out something familiar in the fog. Without warning, shock waves of heat and pressure tear into your flesh. A terrible blast rattles your organs and tears at all corners of the plane. A noise like two trains colliding under your chin bursts eardrums up and down the aisles. An explosion tunnels through the spaces around you, filling every gap and crevice with streamers of flame surging down the aisles and over your head, under your feet. They recede just as quickly, leaving unbearable heat. Clumps of your hair crumple into ashes. Now all you hear is the crackle of fire.

 Imagine you are sitting on this plane now.

The top of the craft is gone and you can see the sky above you. Columns of flame are growing. Holes in the sides of the airliner lead to freedom.

How would you react?

You probably think you would leap to your feet and yell, “Let’s get the hell out of here!” If not this, then you might assume you would coil into a fetal position and freak out.

Statistically, neither of these is likely. What you would probably do is far weirder.

In 1977, on an island in the Canaries called Tenerife, a series of mistakes led to two enormous 747 passenger planes colliding with each other as one attempted takeoff. A Pan Am aircraft with 496 people on board was taxiing along the runway in dense fog when a Dutch KLM flight with 248 inside asked to be cleared for takeoff on the same airstrip. The fog was so thick the KLM crew couldn’t see the other airplane, and both were invisible to the control tower. The crew misheard their instructions. Thinking they had just been given permission, they began to speed toward the other plane. Air traffic controllers tried to warn them, but radio interference garbled the messages. Too late, the captain of the KLM flight saw the other craft ahead of him. He pulled up hard, dragging the tail along the ground, but couldn’t take flight. He screamed as half of the KLM aircraft smashed into the Pan Am at 160 miles per hour. The KLM airplane bounced off the Pan Am jet, soared for five hundred feet, and then tumbled in a terrible jet fuel explosion. Everyone on board disintegrated. The fire was so intense it would burn until the next day.

Rescue crews spilled out onto the tarmac, but they didn’t drive out to the Pan Am flight. Instead, they rushed to the flaming wreckage of the KLM plane. For twenty minutes, in the chaos, firefighters and emergency personnel thought they were dealing with only one problem and believed the flames peeking out from the fog in the distance were just more wreckage. The survivors on board the Pan Am flight would not be rescued.

The engines were still running at full power because the pilot had attempted to turn at the last second, and the crew couldn’t switch them off because the wires had been severed. The crash sheared away most of the top half of the 747. People lay in pieces from the impact. Flames spread through the carnage. A massive fire began to take over the plane. Smoke filled the fuselage.

To live, people had to act quickly. They had to unbuckle, move through the chaos onto the intact wing, and then jump twenty feet onto wreckage.

Escape was possible, but not all of the survivors would attempt it.

Some bolted into action, unbuckled loved ones and strangers and pushed them out to safety. Others stayed put and were consumed. Soon after, the center fuel tank exploded, killing all but the seventy people who had made their way outside.

According to Amanda Ripley’s book, The Unthinkable, investigators later said the survivors of the initial impact had one minute before the fire took them. In that one minute, several dozen people who could have escaped failed to take action, failed to break free of paralysis.

Why did so many people flounder when seconds mattered?

Psychologist Daniel Johnson has rigorously studied this strange behavior. In his research he interviewed survivors of the Tenerife crash among many other disasters, including skyscraper fires and sinking ships, to better understand why some people flee when others do not. In Johnson’s interview with Paul and Floy Heck, both passengers on the Pan Am flight, they recalled not only their traveling companions sitting motionless as they hustled to find a way out, but dozens of others who also made no effort to stand as the Hecks raced past them.

In the first moments of the incident, right after the top of the plane was sliced open, Paul Heck looked over to his wife, Floy. She was motionless, frozen in place and unable to process what was happening. He screamed for her to follow him. They unbuckled, clasped hands, and he led her out of the plane as the smoke began to billow. Floy later realized she possibly could have saved those sitting in a stupor just by yelling for them to join her, but she too was in a daze, with no thoughts of escape as she blindly followed her husband.

Years later, Floy Heck was interviewed by the Orange County Register. She told the reporter she remembered looking back just before leaping out of a gash in the wall. She saw her friend still in the seat next to where they had been sitting with her hands folded in her lap, her eyes glassed over. Her friend did not survive the fire.

In any perilous event, like a sinking ship or a towering inferno, a shooting rampage or a tornado, there is a chance you will become so overwhelmed by the perilous overflow of ambiguous information that you will do nothing at all. You will float away and leave a senseless statue in your place. You may even lie down. If no one comes to your aid, you will die.

John Leach, a psychologist at the University of Lancaster, also studies freezing under stress. He says about 75 percent of people find it impossible to reason during a catastrophic event or impending doom. On the edges, the 15 or so percent on either side of the bell curve react either with unimpaired, heightened awareness or blubbering, confused panic.

According to Johnson and Leach, the sort of people who survive are the sort of people who prepare for the worst and practice ahead of time. They’ve done the research, or built the shelter, or run the drills. They look for the exits and imagine what they will do. They were in a fire as a child or survived a typhoon. These people don’t deliberate during calamity because they’ve already done the deliberation the other people around them are just now going through.

Normalcy bias is stalling during a crisis and pretending everything will continue to be as fine and predictable as it was before. Those who defeat it act when others don’t. They move when others are considering whether or not they should.

As Johnson points out, the brain must go through a procedure before the body acts—cognition, perception, comprehension, decision, implementation, and then movement. There’s no way to overclock this, but you can practice until these steps individually are no longer complex, and thus no longer take up valuable brain computation cycles.

Johnson likens it to playing an instrument. If you’ve never played a C chord on a guitar, you have to think your way through it and awkwardly press down on the strings until you make a clumsy twang. With a few minutes of practice, you can strum without as much deliberation and create a more pleasant sound.

To be clear, normalcy bias isn’t freezing at the first signs of danger like a rabbit who confronts a snake, which is a real behavior humans can succumb to. To suddenly stop moving and hope for the best is called fear bradycardia, and it is an automatic and involuntarily instinct. This is sometimes referred to as tonic immobility. Animals like gazelles will become motionless if they sense a predator is nearby in the hopes of tricking its motion-tracking abilities by blending into the background. Some animals go so far as to feign death in what is called thanatosis.

In 2005, researchers at the University of Rio de Janeiro were able to induce fear bradycardia in humans just by showing subjects photos of injured people. The participants’ heart rates plummeted and their muscles stiffened immediately. To be sure, this sort of behavior happens in a disaster, but we are talking about something different with normalcy bias.

Much of your behavior is an attempt to lower anxiety. You know you aren’t in any danger when everything is safe and expected. Normalcy bias is self-soothing through believing everything is just fine. If you can still engage in your normal habits, still see the world as if nothing bad is happening, then your anxiety stays put.

Normalcy bias is a state of mind out of which you are attempting to make everything OK by believing it still is.

Normalcy bias is refusing to believe terrible events will include you even though you have every reason to think otherwise.

The first thing you are likely to feel in the event of a disaster is the supreme need to feel safe and secure. When it becomes clear this is impossible, you drift into a daydream where it is.

Survivors of 9/11 say they remember gathering belongings before leaving offices and cubicles. They put on coats and called loved ones. They shut down their computers and had conversations. Even in their descent, most moved at a leisurely pace—no screaming or running. There was no need for anyone to say “Remain calm everyone,” because they weren’t freaking out. They were begging the world to return to normal by engaging in acts of normalcy.

To reduce the anxiety of impending doom, you first cling to what you know. You then mine others for information. You strike up dialogs with coworkers, friends, and family. You become glued to the television and the radio. You gather with others to trade what you know so far. Some believe this is what happened as the Bridge Creek–Moore F5 tornado approached, which caused some people not to seek shelter.

All the tools of pattern recognition, all the routines you’ve become accustomed to are rendered useless in a horrific event. The emergency situation is too novel and ambiguous. You have a tendency to freeze not because panic has overwhelmed you but because normalcy has disappeared. Ripley calls this moment when you freeze “reflexive incredulity.” As your brain attempts to disseminate the data, your deepest desire is for everyone around you to assure you the bad thing isn’t real. You wait for this to happen past the point when it becomes obvious it will not. The holding pattern of normalcy bias continues until the ship lurches or the building shifts. You may remain placid until the tornado throws a car through your house or the hurricane snaps the power lines.

If everyone else is milling around waiting for information, you will too.

Those who are deeply concerned with evacuation procedures—first responders, architects, stadium personnel, the travel industry—are aware of normalcy bias, and write about it in manuals and trade journals. In a 1985 paper published in the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, sociologists Shunji Mikami and Ken’Ichi Ikeda at the University of Tokyo identified the steps you are likely to go through in a disaster. They said you have a tendency to first interpret the situation within the context of what you are familiar with and to greatly underestimate the severity. This is the moment, when seconds count, that normalcy bias costs lives. A predictable order of behaviors, they said, will then unfold.

You will seek information from those you trust first and then move on to those nearby.

Next, you’ll try to contact your family if possible, and then you’ll begin to prepare to evacuate or seek shelter.

Finally, after all of this, you’ll move.

Mikami and Ikeda say you are more likely to dawdle if you fail to understand the seriousness of the situation and have never been exposed to advice about what to do or been in a similar circumstance. Even worse, you stall longer if you fall back on the old compare-and-contrast tendencies where you try to convince yourself the encroaching peril is not much different than what you are used to—normalcy bias.

They use a 1982 flood in Nagasaki as an example. Light flooding occurred there every year, and the residents assumed the heavy rainfall was part of a familiar routine. Soon, though, they realized the waters were getting higher and doing so faster than in years past. At 4:55 P.M., the government issued a flood warning. Still, some waited to see just how peculiar the flooding would be, how out of the ordinary. Only 13 percent of residents had evacuated by 9 P.M. In the end, 265 were killed.

When Hurricane Katrina bore down on my home in Mississippi, I remember going to the grocery store for food, water, and supplies and being shocked by the number of people who had only a few loaves of bread and couple of bottles of soda in their carts. I remember their frustration as they waited in line behind me with all my bottled water and canned goods. I told them, “Sorry, but you can never be too prepared.”

Their response? “I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal.”

I often wonder what those people did for the two weeks we were without electricity and the roads were impassable.

Normalcy bias is a proclivity you can’t be rid of. Everyday life seems prosaic and mundane because you are wired to see it as such. If you weren’t, you would never be able to handle the information overload. Think of moving into a new apartment or home, or buying a new car or cell  phone. At first, you notice everything and spend hours adjusting settings or arranging furniture. After a while, you get used to the normalcy and let things go. You may even forget certain aspects of your new home until a visitor points them out to you and you rediscover them. You acclimate to your surroundings so you can notice when things go awry; otherwise life would be all noise and no signal.

Sometimes though, this habit of creating background static and then ignoring it gets in the way. Sometimes you see static when you shouldn’t and yearn for normalcy when it cannot be found. Hurricanes and floods, for example, can be too big, slow, and abstract to startle you into action. You truly can’t see them coming.

The solution, according to Mikami, Ikeda, and other experts, is repetition on the part of those who can help, those who can see the danger better than you. If enough warnings are given and enough instructions are broadcast, then those things become the new normal, and you will spring into action.

Normalcy bias can be scaled up to larger events as well. Global climate change, peak oil, obesity epidemics, and stock market crashes are good examples of larger, more complex events in which people fail to act because it is difficult to imagine just how abnormal life could become if the predictions are true.

Regular media over-hyping and panic-building over issues like Y2K, swine flu, SARS, and the like help fuel normalcy bias on a global scale. Pundits on both sides of politics warn of crises that can be averted only by voting one way or the other. With so much crying wolf, it can be difficult to determine in the frenzied information landscape when to be alarmed, when it really is not a drill.

The first instinct is to gauge how out of the norm the situation truly is and act only when the problem crosses a threshold past which it becomes impossible to ignore. Of course, this is often after it is too late to act. 
« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 06:21:57 PM by Laura »
He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despair, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Agamemnon, Aeschylus

Offline thorbiorn

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 06:29:05 PM »
Quote
The solution, according to Mikami, Ikeda, and other experts, is repetition on the part of those who can help, those who can see the danger better than you.
Thank you Laura for this piece. I read it the six times. It is still to be seen if that is enough.   

On a practical note, I do tend to feel like fainting on seeing too much blood or videos of people being operated on. I guess  I should try to watch a few more to get over this problem so I can help others if need be, or so that I am not stunned into inaction by such events .

Part of being ready is being prepared, so I should try to find out where to get some canisters for extra water supplies, it may not be of much value eventually, but it would be an exercise in acting, which could set the scene for being able to respond in time.

A: ... the universe is merely a school.  And, a school is there for all to learn. That is why everything exists. There is no other reason.  - Cassiopaean transcripts 950902

Offline c.a.

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 08:50:38 PM »
Interesting that today there was power failure, in the neighborhood.  Being in the daytime in good weather, my thoughts were that it was problem related to a sudden maintenance issue. 

In this area 50 years ago, people here did not have a gas line connection.  Maybe ten years before that there was no water from a tap.  This is why so many homes here are parked next to running streams, and rivers.  Back in the 1930's there were very few with electricity connection's, as light bulbs were more of a novelty too many of the homes with exception of the in town municipality's.   They were all dependant on the local resource's for the well being.  Food, heating, and building shelter materail's are abundant as this area inhabits the boundary's of a national forest. 

Beyond these boundary's of the forest, live a hardy group that are living off the grid. They live a life style like those that lived here one hundred  years ago.  Total independence, more than likely passed from generations to generations many century's ago.

Today's loss of power was the fourth time i had went without a utility for short period of time.  The first time was a lack of natural gas for about 12 days, leaving no way to bath, or the ability to heat water, and limited ways to cook food.  i also could not heat the home as the unit came with a gas fired water boiler on demand unit.  Do have a fire place, but it at best is more for ascetic's, as much of the heat goes up and out the chimney.

The another time i lost electricity was for about six hours into the evening.  i had come to see the limitations to being connected to the grid, and have over the last year, and a half been preparing, and pursuing the necessary supplies, to address this these short comings of being dependent on gas, power, and water.

I have taken visual clues from the locals, as a "guide".  Everyone here has enough seasoned fire wood to last a long time into the cold winter mouths, and beyond.  Split, and seasoned ready to go.  i am in the process to build  that resource up as well.  i have also had to make alteration's, and preparations to bring other inadequacies up to par to be prepared for the worst case scenario. Given the location, changing economic outlook, current physical ability, and to the possible and probable sudden changing weather issues facing this location, and the planet as well.

The three, and four intrusions, help me to see my limitations.  It help to become aware to proved a little clarity to what could become major problems, if not addressed while things are some what calm at the moment.  Kind of like the grass hopper, and the ant story maybe some of you were told as children by parents, whom had weathered hard times.

I think that if you want to test your preparedness, try shutting down all utility's for a day in good weather, and then in bad to see the weak seam within the fabric of the illusion.

Thanks Laura, again for the heads up to prepare to leave nothing to chance.

Things i that collected to deal with possible problems.

1 Fire wood, split, and kindling. Flint,and steel.
2 Water filtration, and purification.
3 Candles bees wax, but in a pinch anthing is better than nothing.
4 Food stocks enough to trade, barter, and give away.
5 Winter clothing long underware and the such.  U can take off when its hot, but if you don't have when it cold, it is hell to pay.
6 Small pot belly stove to cook and keep warm.  Installed correctly.
7 Buckets to haul water from the streams,  looking for a large agriculture water holder for sanitation purposes.
8 Reading material, things like first aid manuals and the such.
9 Up grade first aid kits.
10 Vitamins supplies.
11 Pastic bags, all sizes, and thickness, beaucoup.
12 Soap to wash clothing by hand, bio degradable.  They still do that here, but rare.
13 And on and on and on.

I hope this not off topic.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2011, 01:37:04 PM by c.a. »
C's Groups of people represent energy portals in cosmic rather than global terms. Light warriors are "connectors"
on a cosmic level. Transducers of energy of transitions of your sector of space and time rather like capacitors.  Now, all of you have value far beyond your own understanding to this point. It would be wise to remember this and be cautious. Go from this point with joy in the knowledge and ...defend it. Session: 020731

"He marched endlessly, ate simple foods, slept outside, and endured every hardship. In this way, he strengthened his body against illness".
Julius Caesar 7-12 3-15

Offline transientP

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2011, 09:14:41 PM »
thorbiorn,

Quote
On a practical note, I do tend to feel like fainting on seeing too much blood or videos of people being operated on. I guess  I should try to watch a few more to get over this problem so I can help others if need be, or so that I am not stunned into inaction by such events .

have you considered participating in a first aid course ?
over the years i've had to attend a couple that were mandatory.
it's amazing how much calmer you can become when you remember training or a certain instruction and start helping out without having time to be shocked or grossed out too much.
i do recommend it. especially if you are currently put off to a great extent by the sight of blood or injury. if nothing, you will be calmer in crisis situations for it.

thank you Laura for posting this.
this book is looking more and more like a must-buy-and-read.
“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” - Yoda

Offline Laura

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2011, 09:26:15 PM »

thank you Laura for posting this.
this book is looking more and more like a must-buy-and-read.

It is, if only for the sake of knowing the quirks of your genetics in terms of your brain. 

There are, of course, several deeply flawed studies that he cites and I'll post them along with some comments in coming days.  (I've still got a lot of sessions to get up).
He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despair, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Agamemnon, Aeschylus

Offline thorbiorn

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2011, 11:24:50 AM »

have you considered participating in a first aid course ?
over the years i've had to attend a couple that were mandatory.
it's amazing how much calmer you can become when you remember training or a certain instruction and start helping out without having time to be shocked or grossed out too much.

Thank you transientP, to take a first aid course is a good idea. In fact I am scheduled to participate in one within two to three months, so now I have extra reason to pay a lot of attention to it.
A: ... the universe is merely a school.  And, a school is there for all to learn. That is why everything exists. There is no other reason.  - Cassiopaean transcripts 950902

Offline Finduilas495

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2011, 12:24:56 PM »

thank you Laura for posting this.
this book is looking more and more like a must-buy-and-read.

It is, if only for the sake of knowing the quirks of your genetics in terms of your brain. 

There are, of course, several deeply flawed studies that he cites and I'll post them along with some comments in coming days.  (I've still got a lot of sessions to get up).

I'm at chapter 8 now and do think it's worth every penny :)

The normalcy bias chapter is indeed very interesting, I even remember a conversation I had with a friend when we were teenagers during which she told me she found it creepy her brother was so interested in UFO's, she didn't want to know about this sort of thing because she wanted to be normal. I replied that my Grandpa was into these subjects too and that I shared her view.

Looking around me and seeing what's going on led to the conclusion that normalcy wasn't an option though, at some point it just got too much to shove under the rug, and I decided I might as well face the fact the world wasn't as cozy as I thought and be prepared.

I almost died at a sailing accident as a teenager (got into a storm where the force increased from five to nine in a matter of seconds), and that taught me to accept the fact that bad things can happen to me, and next time I might not be so lucky.

Having all the ways to deceive yourself while striving for objectivity pointed out like this book does is an eye opener for sure.

thorbiorn,

Quote
On a practical note, I do tend to feel like fainting on seeing too much blood or videos of people being operated on. I guess  I should try to watch a few more to get over this problem so I can help others if need be, or so that I am not stunned into inaction by such events .

have you considered participating in a first aid course ?
over the years i've had to attend a couple that were mandatory.
it's amazing how much calmer you can become when you remember training or a certain instruction and start helping out without having time to be shocked or grossed out too much.
i do recommend it. especially if you are currently put off to a great extent by the sight of blood or injury. if nothing, you will be calmer in crisis situations for it.

thank you Laura for posting this.
this book is looking more and more like a must-buy-and-read.

Thank you for bringing this up, this is something I have tended to avoid so far as well. I did a first aid course at 18, but that was a long time ago and I don't remember a thing. Here, when you witness an accident and the ambulance isn't there yet, you are supposed to provide first aid, and I'd be afraid of doing more harm than good... Guess it's time to stop procrastinating again, it's really interesting how the mind works, because I feel a lot of inner resistance to the thought of taking this course.
For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King (The Land of Shadow)

Offline Tigersoap

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2011, 03:09:41 PM »
There are, of course, several deeply flawed studies that he cites and I'll post them along with some comments in coming days.  (I've still got a lot of sessions to get up).
I am reading the book and it's great so far.
Although like you said he seems to suffer himself from certain bias, for example when he cites that the relationship between autism et vaccination isn't true in chapter 5.
Drawing conclusions from a cluster of facts isn't necessarily an only construct of our brains.
He forgets about what he wrote on the topic of not taking in new informations and sticking to what you already know himself :)
Looking forward to your comments !




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Offline Don Genaro

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2011, 04:55:22 PM »
There are, of course, several deeply flawed studies that he cites and I'll post them along with some comments in coming days.  (I've still got a lot of sessions to get up).
I am reading the book and it's great so far.
Although like you said he seems to suffer himself from certain bias, for example when he cites that the relationship between autism et vaccination isn't true in chapter 5.
Drawing conclusions from a cluster of facts isn't necessarily an only construct of our brains.
He forgets about what he wrote on the topic of not taking in new informations and sticking to what you already know himself :)
Looking forward to your comments !

Ha ha, Don Genaro "likes" this. I just read Laura's comment and the very same vaccine/autism comment came to mind. I'm about halfway through the book and had bookmarked this part to come back and comment on it when I got the time. The book is indeed fascinating and I think can be very helpful to make one aware of the pitfalls of thinking and self-observation. But he does indeed say quite a number of things that show he is a victim of the very phenomena he describes. The autism one was the one which stood out most for me. But then how could it be otherwise? He's human too. I guess it's just disturbing to read all these great observations from somebody and yet to see how unaware they are on so many other subjects- or how he commits the same errors of thinking. I'm currently reading the wave volumes 5 and 6 and he seems to go against a lot of what is said in these books. According to this author, all the strange coincidences and messages that Laura observed would be simply explained by several of the studies he cites in the book e.g. the wish to see something (I'm sure Laura will do a better job of pointing out the flaws! Anyway, I'm glad I'm reading this part of the wave at the moment because it's making me look at things from two different perspectives. In a timely way, I was reading about the two dictionaries in the wave today and it seems to me that while he has many accurate observations, he's working with the juvenile dictionary
I hope this makes sense. FWIW here's the relevant section of the wave which I have been reading concurrently: http://www.cassiopaea.com/cassiopaea/adventures111.htm  (I'm several chapters on from this but an awful lot of it seems relevant. Bear in mind if you want to read this that it's recommended that you read the previous book first!

Another example- I just opened the book to see if there was anything I might like to add and I opened the chapter 23 "Groupthink".

Quote
The Misconception: Problems are easier to solve when a group of people get together to discuss solutions.
The Truth: The desire to reach consensus and avoid confrontation hinders progress.
That could be read as a complete contradiction of the C's recommendation to network and share information! I guess it just boils down to which dictionary you're using  ;)
 
"There is a saying, "You can't go home again." It is not true. While you cannot crawl back into the uterus again, you can return to the soul home. It is not only possible, it is requisite."

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, "Sealskin, Soulskin" from Women Who Run With the Wolves

Offline Laura

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2011, 05:11:18 PM »

The book is indeed fascinating and I think can be very helpful to make one aware of the pitfalls of thinking and self-observation.
 

Exactly.  If you know what the genetic body tends to do, you are better able to spot your programs. 

But he does indeed say quite a number of things that show he is a victim of the very phenomena he describes.

Yup.

The autism one was the one which stood out most for me. But then how could it be otherwise? He's human too. I guess it's just disturbing to read all these great observations from somebody and yet to see how unaware they are on so many other subjects- or how he commits the same errors of thinking.

It's true for all of us.  We all have one blind spot or another that we need to become aware of.

I'm currently reading the wave volumes 5 and 6 and he seems to go against a lot of what is said in these books. According to this author, all the strange coincidences and messages that Laura observed would be simply explained by several of the studies he cites in the book e.g. the wish to see something (I'm sure Laura will do a better job of pointing out the flaws!

Yes, those particular studies are so flawed it's hard to know where to begin.  He has a REALLY loose use of probability theory going on there!  He starts out with the Lincoln/Kennedy assassination syncrhonicities, then goes right on with his study that supposedly explains it all away, but absolutely does NOT.  It's almost pathetic to read that one and watch his little Malthusian/Darwinian mind trying to brush that one under the rug!



Another example- I just opened the book to see if there was anything I might like to add and I opened the chapter 23 "Groupthink".

Quote
The Misconception: Problems are easier to solve when a group of people get together to discuss solutions.
The Truth: The desire to reach consensus and avoid confrontation hinders progress.
That could be read as a complete contradiction of the C's recommendation to network and share information! I guess it just boils down to which dictionary you're using  ;)

Well, it's probably true that "groupthink" is useless when the people have not been working on themselves, are not striving for objectivity, are not gathering and utilizing knowledge to increase their awareness.  It's also particularly useless when the group in question is not aware of psychopathy and do not take precautions against it infecting their thinking!
He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despair, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Agamemnon, Aeschylus

Offline transientP

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2011, 05:17:51 PM »
Quote
Well, it's probably true that "groupthink" is useless when the people have not been working on themselves, are not striving for objectivity, are not gathering and utilizing knowledge to increase their awareness.  It's also particularly useless when the group in question is not aware of psychopathy and do not take precautions against it infecting their thinking!

Laura,
this is what i was just thinking.
it's not just networking, it's HOW the networking is happening and WHAT and HOW MUCH the people involved in the networking know.

psychos also 'network', i.e. the world stage.
but we can all see the results of that kind of group networking.

IMO, networking is a tool. just like a knife. one person could use it as an assault weapon, while another uses it solely to spread butter on a steak or make food for the underprivileged.
“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” - Yoda

Offline Don Genaro

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2011, 05:36:47 PM »


Well, it's probably true that "groupthink" is useless when the people have not been working on themselves, are not striving for objectivity, are not gathering and utilizing knowledge to increase their awareness.  It's also particularly useless when the group in question is not aware of psychopathy and do not take precautions against it infecting their thinking!

Exactly which really drove home the idea of the juvenile vs adult dictionary for me. In spite of all its flaws it's really a gem of a book to get you "thinkin' about thinkin'!" At the same time, over the last couple of days I've been having a discussion on my facebook page which arose from a comment made by a friend on the famous "proof of global warming polar bear picture" which I posted on my page. My friend, (who is not the same "pathological thinker" who used to comment on my posts) genuinely didn't get the whole climategate denial thing. Now I'm pretty sure he's sincere and he was genuinely looking for an explanation. The thing is, I could really feel my authoritarian program kicking in- this guy is very intelligent, was an excellent debater in school and is quite well up to date on current affairs (affears). I, on the other hand have no titles and have only really been reading for the last year and a half so I guess I'm somewhat up to date on real history, politics etc. but still way behind on "official history". At least, reading Raney's book as this discussion has been going on has enabled me to be aware of my own thought processes and reactions and I was also more aware of those of my friend. That in spite of the fact that he knows lots more about the "real world".  There is indeed lots more in this book and although I'm flying through it I think it merits another read and some note-taking!
"There is a saying, "You can't go home again." It is not true. While you cannot crawl back into the uterus again, you can return to the soul home. It is not only possible, it is requisite."

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, "Sealskin, Soulskin" from Women Who Run With the Wolves

Offline Laura

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2011, 05:50:24 PM »

Exactly which really drove home the idea of the juvenile vs adult dictionary for me. In spite of all its flaws it's really a gem of a book to get you "thinkin' about thinkin'!" At the same time, over the last couple of days I've been having a discussion on my facebook page which arose from a comment made by a friend on the famous "proof of global warming polar bear picture" which I posted on my page. My friend, (who is not the same "pathological thinker" who used to comment on my posts) genuinely didn't get the whole climategate denial thing. Now I'm pretty sure he's sincere and he was genuinely looking for an explanation. The thing is, I could really feel my authoritarian program kicking in- this guy is very intelligent, was an excellent debater in school and is quite well up to date on current affairs (affears). I, on the other hand have no titles and have only really been reading for the last year and a half so I guess I'm somewhat up to date on real history, politics etc. but still way behind on "official history". At least, reading Raney's book as this discussion has been going on has enabled me to be aware of my own thought processes and reactions and I was also more aware of those of my friend. That in spite of the fact that he knows lots more about the "real world".  There is indeed lots more in this book and although I'm flying through it I think it merits another read and some note-taking!

There are SO MANY things that can act on a person's thinking processes in ways that they cannot be aware of without some serious information input and self-examination.   It's like a fish living in polluted water; it doesn't KNOW that the water is polluted, that's all it has ever known. 

For example, have a look at this article:

Quote
Mental Illness: Early-Life Depression and Anxiety Changes Structure of Developing Brain

ScienceDaily
Tue, 15 Nov 2011 13:47 CST

New research identifies the brain chemicals and circuits involved in mental illnesses like schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety, giving potential new directions to their treatment. In addition, research with children shows that early-life depression and anxiety changes the structure of the developing brain.

The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2011, the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

One in 17 Americans suffer from a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder, making it one of the leading causes of disability. Yet science is only beginning to understand the underlying physical causes of these diseases.

New findings show:

    * Childhood anxiety and depression alter the way the amygdala connects to other regions of the brain. This finding may help explain how early life stress can lead to future emotional and behavioral issues (Shaozheng Qin, PhD, abstract 927.06).

    * In animal studies, a link between two factors associated with schizophrenia, prenatal infection and impaired function of a molecule important in memory (Melissa Burt, abstract 763.11).

    * Researchers have identified a brain chemical important to antidepressant response in mice. The findings may help in the design of therapies for major depression (Maha Elsayed, abstract 904.10).

    * The connections between two specific areas of the brain -- the prefrontal cortex and the dorsal raphe nucleus -- may contribute to depression. Stimulating these circuits in rats had an antidepressant effect (Melissa Warden, PhD, abstract 306.15).

    * An enzyme called STEP is elevated in the brains of people with schizophrenia. Mice lacking this chemical did not develop schizophrenia-like behaviors (Nikisha Carty, PhD, abstract 238.03 ).

"If we can fully understand the roots of mental illness in brain circuitry and systems, we may be able to develop better treatment targets for the millions suffering from these diseases," said press conference moderator Carol Tamminga, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern, who is an expert on schizophrenia.

This research was supported by national funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as private and philanthropic organizations.

Notice this in particular: "Childhood anxiety and depression alter the way the amygdala connects to other regions of the brain. This finding may help explain how early life stress can lead to future emotional and behavioral issue..."

That explains in two sentences what is wrong with most of the planet's population and most particularly those that live in countries with abusive educational systems such as France...

And when you are brought up this way, you don't know anything different!!!!

He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despair, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Agamemnon, Aeschylus

Offline seek10

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2011, 04:48:23 PM »
 there is a pretty good , attractive  advertisement  video for this book.
“In the life of warriors it was extremely natural to be sad for no overt reason. Whenever the boundaries of the known are broken, a mere glimpse of the eternity outside is enough to disrupt the coziness of our controlled awareness. The best way to get rid of melancholy is to make fun of it.”(carlos)

Offline Sow

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Re: Why Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2011, 04:50:31 PM »
Well, I'd like to have a better understanding with this thread:

I don't really hold to the statement that "Nobody is Doing Anything About the State of the Planet". As far as I can see, there are many actions here and there, mainly on small scales, but still quite a lot of people are doing something, giving a helping hand to altruistic projects, seeking truths (what about this forum?)...

Sure we need to get prepared to whatever comes and to know how our brain works. But is not trying to save oneself  mostly kind of a selfish point of view?

I don't know about any non-abusive educational systems.  But anywhere there are people who get beyond not knowing anything different...

Comments welcomed
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