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The Neurobiology of Mass Delusion April 1, 2009

Filed under: Environmental Wellness,Healthy Mind — aprasek @ 2:57 pm

I have a hard time listening to individuals try to rationalize why pollution is not a problem. Or why cancer has nothing to do with the chemicals we continue to release into our air, spray on our land and dump into our waters.

I’m a very peaceful person, but when I see someone throw trash out of their car or onto the ground when they’re walking down the street… well, I have a real desire to punch them in the throat. Seriously. Is the garbage can really that far?

Ahhhh… breathe… 1… 2… 3… Control the anger… 4… 5… 6…

Ok, back to my point.

Jason Bradford wrote an insightful article a few years ago that spoke to these frustrations. I especially loved the title, The Neurobiology of Mass Delusion. Consider Bradford’s argument:

So when wondering why so many people just “don’t get it,” (oil depletion, overshoot etc.) whether they are your local politician or great aunt, realize there is a physiological mechanism that may preclude having a rational discussion on certain topics. The truth can only be pushed so far before rebellion occurs, hence the phrase, “To kill the messenger.” Before many folks can learn and incorporate the lessons of ecology, most could use the services of a good shrink. Someone to call them on their bull and get them to face their faulty, contradictory, and destructive thought patterns.


I fear that the world has neither enough shrinks nor enough time to wait for the long process of psychotherapy to work. Furthermore, enshrined institutions embody dangerous mental models within their various charters, goals and mission statements. If anyone happens to have a crisis of confidence, these institutions work to re-assimilate the disenchanted, quietly dismiss them, or destroy their reputations. Of course these are the worst possible responses. As Jared Diamond explains in his book “Collapse,” history is replete with societies that failed to question their own assumptions and create new paradigms. Instead of making life possible in a changed environment, they are part of archeology’s trash heap.

Check out the full article. Comment back on your thoughts- I’m curious what others think about the neurobiological theory of pollution…


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