30 October 2006

Not in His Right Mind

First, two quotes of note, both spoken in regards to the Iraq invasion and occupation.
"Anyone who is not conflicted in their judgment is not thinking seriously."
- Representative Jim Leach, Republican from Iowa.
"I don't know how you operate unless you continually challenge your own assumptions."
- Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser to both Ford and George H.W. Bush

Brain research indicates that the right brain and left brain have different roles in the complex process of formulating and defending world views. The right brain is the revolutionary, continually challenging the current worldview as new data streams in. Obviously, a person cannot reformulate worldviews as rapidly as he receives new data - the process is too time-consuming and potentially too disruptive. Plus, a worldview that didn't last longer than it took data to stream in would be useless. By contrast, the left-brain defends the existing worldview from new data. At its most extreme, a stroke victim unable to move her arm may insist that she is, indeed, pointing with it. When the brain has been hijacked by the left brain, it is unable to change the worldview no matter how poorly matched that is to reality.

The simple truth is, our minds are much smaller than the world and inevitably our worldviews are limited. Given a lack of omniscience, worldviews need to be regularly tweaked and occasionally shifted. The only option to allowing on-going changes to one’s worldview is to ignore or distort reality.

So what is one to make of Bush's insistence on staying the course in Iraq, even as events have repeatedly unfolded as contrary to his original theories? It is quite simple and fairly intuitive. Bush is not in his right mind.

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