Le site Bellaciao: coloré, multiple, ou le meilleur cotoie fort heureusement le pire, mélangé, bizarre, picabien et dadaîste, explorant toutes sortes de registres et de régimes rhétoriques, drole et polémiqueur, surréaliste: rencontre d'un parapluie et d'une machine à coudre sur une table de dissection, têtes de Lénine sur le clavier d'un piano Steinway ou Bosendorfer...
FR
ES
Senal en Vivo
VIDEO
RADIO
FRIENDS SITES
with Bellaciao
Bellaciao hosted by
To rebel is right, to disobey is a duty, to act is necessary !
Bellaciao  mobile version   |   Home  |   About us   |   Donation  |   Links  |   Contact  |   Search
Cheney Speaks to the Reptile Brain

by : Thom Hartmann
Friday August 20, 2004 - 05:10

by Thom Hartmann

"I am not unaware of the effect of the ridicule cast on this instrument of defence by those who wished for engines of offence." Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison referencing damage done to morale by jokes about the US Navy, May 21, 1813

It’s Willie Horton all over again. The Bush family is subjecting Americans to psychological operations, only the level of sophistication and deception is an order of magnitude higher than it was in 1988. And it could turn the election, if not used effectively in rebuttal.

Here’s how it works, and how Dick Cheney just used it masterfully:

We humans, being the product of a long evolutionary process, really have three brains. And, as the Bush psy-ops folks know, politicians who win campaigns do so because they speak to all three of those brains.

First there’s the most primitive of our brains, sometimes referred to as the "reptilian brain" because we share it in common with reptiles like alligators and komodo dragons. The reptile brain has a singular focus: survival. It doesn’t think in abstract terms, and doesn’t feel complex emotions. Instead, it’s responsible for fight-or-flight, hunger and fear, attack or run. It’s also non-verbal - you can stimulate it with the right words, but it operates purely at the level of visceral stimulus-response.

The second brain is one we share with the animals that came along after reptiles - mammals. The mammalian brain - sometimes referred to as the Limbic Brain because it extends around and off of the reptilian brain in a dog-leg shape that resembles a limb - handles complex emotions like love, indignation, compassion, envy, and hope. Anybody who’s worked with animals or had a pet knows that mammals share these emotions with humans, because we share this brain. While a snake can’t feel shame or enthusiasm, it’s completely natural for a dog or cat. And, like the reptile brain, the mammalian brain can also be stimulated indirectly by words, and is also non-verbal. It expresses itself exclusively in the form of feelings, although these are more often felt in the heart than the gut.

The third brain - the neocortex ("new" cortex) - is something we share with the higher apes, although ours is a bit more sophisticated. Resting over the limbic brain (which is, in turn, atop the reptilian brain), our neocortex is where we process abstract thought, words and symbols, logic and time.

When Dick Cheney recently took John Kerry’s comment about sensitivity in the war on terror out of context and spun it for his audiences, he was performing a psychologically masterful bit manipulation of all three brains.

Only ridicule with a subtext of fear has this power.

"America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive," Cheney said, firing first the thinking brain ("too many wars") and then the limbic brain ("for our wishes[/hopes/ideals]"). And then he went for the reptile brain: "...but not one of them was won by being sensitive."

The comment brought an instant response of laughter - an emotional and involuntary response, as Freud pointed out, that’s the result of the neocortex thinking it’s moving logically along in one direction (a discussion of too many wars) and then suddenly getting derailed ("but not one of them was won by being sensitive") from that thought. This sudden derailment - known among comedians as the "punch line" - causes the thinking brain to be momentarily confused and triggers a response known as laughter that comes involuntarily from the limbic mammalian brain. (This is why comedy almost always involves misdirection, like in the old Red Skelton classic, "I just flew in from Chicago...and, boy, are my arms tired!")

But then, in a brilliant coup de grâce, Cheney spoke directly to his listener’s reptilian brain, the part that most powerfully controls our behaviors because it constantly is vigilant to maintain our survival. "Those that threaten us and kill innocents around the world," he said, arousing the reptilian awareness of threat, "do not need to be treated more sensitively, they need to be destroyed."

To reinforce this message to his listener’s most primitive instincts, Cheney continued to invoke the word "sensitive" a half-dozen more times, always wrapping it in surprise and survival.

Not only is this among the most sophisticated of psychological warfare operations, in this case it was also one of the most immoral, since Cheney was quoting Kerry out of context and, thus, basing his entire premise upon what was essentially a lie.

But the deed was done, because all three brains had been touched.

No matter how much the Kerry campaign tried to argue to the thinking neocortex that his words meant we should be sensitive to the needs and values of our allies and not sensitive to our enemies, his response never reached the limbic or reptilian brains of his or Cheney’s listeners. Kerry’s response - "It’s sad they can only be negative" - was one that only reached the thinking neocortex. It didn’t provoke a laugh, driving it into the limbic brain, and it didn’t address Bush/Cheney failures to keep Americans safe, the main issue of the reptilian brain.

The simple reality is that issues framed in intellect will never trump issues framed in emotions. And to have maximum power, those emotions must include the limbic brain feelings of hope and idealism as well as the reptilian brain instincts for survival and safety.

Of course, issues must make sense to the thinking brain, but if presented in a way that misses the other two of our brains, they will never motivate people to walk into a polling place and pull a lever or mark a ballot.

Interestingly, the most powerful tool to hit all three brains simultaneously is good-natured ridicule, because there is no possible way to respond to it. Ridicule touches the thinking neocortex by referencing an issue, but also touches the limbic and reptilian brains, where our most lasting impressions are stored and feelings are anchored.

The only possible response to ridicule is logic, which only touches a third of our brains and thus always fails to undo the ridicule’s emotional impact.

Even God is not immune, as Mark Twain wrote: "No God and no religion can survive ridicule. No political church, no nobility, no royalty or other fraud, can face ridicule in a fair field, and live." History demonstrates well the truth Czech author Milan Kundera wrote: "Mockery is a rust that corrodes all it touches."

In 1948, one of the most well-publicized moments of the campaign between Truman and Dewey was just after Dewey had given a speech calling for "national unity" and Truman supporter and superstar Tallulah Bankhead went on national radio to ask, "Will all the candidates who are for disunity please stand?" She then dug the knife in deeper (all the way to the reptilian brain), implying Dewey wasn’t really up to handling the post-WWII survival issues America faced, by adding, "The next thing we know he’ll be endorsing matrimony, the metal zipper, and the dial telephone."

More recently, Reagan’s famous, "There you go again," even though inaccurate, blasted through all three minds of the national audience watching his debate with Jimmy Carter, reducing Carter to a caricature of himself. Michael Dukakis was defeated by the Bush campaign portraying him as Rocky the Flying Squirrel in a tank, and by images of a black murderer Dukakis had never even heard of shown in Bush campaign commercials. Four years later, Dana Carvey’s parodies of George H.W. Bush helped diminish Bush the Elder to an ineffectual buffoon in viewer’s minds. And Dubya is doing it again with the "intelligence" ad when, after a clip of Kerry saying he wants to revamp our national intelligence systems, the voiceover announcer sarcastically intones, "Oh, really?"

Hitting all three brains with put-down humor is both relatively easy and can be devastating. When mixed with positive "vision" messages, it can be unstoppable.

John Edwards, for example, has crafted a message that speaks simultaneously to a voter’s intellect (neocortex), heart (limbic brain), and survival needs (reptilian brain) with his "two Americas" frame. If his ticket is to win, John Kerry must do the same with every single issue in this campaign, while at the same time using "light hearted humor" (dripping sarcasm, like Teresa’s "they want four more years of hell," is dangerous) to highlight Bush’s failures and incompetence.

And if ever there was a candidate whose flip-flopping, fear-mongering, military desertion, and incompetence was ripe for ridicule it’s George W. Bush. (A reality not lost by websites like www.whitehouse.org.) Handled correctly, an advertising campaign that lightly ridicules Bush while clearly and accurately pointing out his failings could be devastating.

The Bush campaign makes extensive use - as conservatives have for decades (remember Newt’s "word list") - of NLP, framing, and other sophisticated psychological techniques to take control of issues and influence the electorate. They’ve been known and used in advertising for a half century, and were first used in a big way in politics in the campaigns of Reagan and Bush the Elder.

If the Kerry campaign doesn’t quickly figure out how to use ridicule to make these sorts of essential framing and piercing issues work properly, we may be in for a replay of the Bush/Dukakis meltdown. Which would terrify our reptilian brains, sadden our limbic brains, and short-circuit our neocortexes.

Thom Hartmann (www.thomhartmann.com), a former psychotherapist, NLP Trainer, advertising agency CEO, and guest psychology faculty member at Goddard College, has provided training and consulting to a wide variety of groups and agencies. The Project Censored award-winning, best-selling author of 7 books on psychology and 5 books on democracy (among others), he does a nationally syndicated daily progressive radio talk show. His new book "The Edison Gene" contains a detailed explanation of how our brains are formed, and his most recent books on democracy are "Unequal Protection," "We The People," and "What Would Jefferson Do?"

http://www.commondreams.org/views04...



Leave a comment
Print this article





PEOPLE OF COLOR: THE NFL DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOU
Tuesday 17 - 23:07
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
TRUMP, JONES, THE NFL, AND THE NEW MCCARTHYISM
Tuesday 10 - 23:14
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Catalonia referendum: 90% voted for independence, say officials (video)
Monday 2 - 09:55
Catalonia referendum: ’Spanish authorities are the criminals’ (video)
Monday 2 - 09:47
If I was truly evil
Tuesday 12 - 14:22
Yves Bouvier Faces Swiss Tax Investigation
Saturday 9 - 03:27
by lishk
The Polisario front suspected of double-play around humanitarian aid hijacking
Friday 8 - 21:44
by NathanT
The Polisario front suspected of double-play around humanitarian aid hijacking
Friday 8 - 21:37
by Nathan Taylor
AMERICA’S JUDASES
Sunday 27 - 20:02
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
What happend to Soraya and Hussein Khashoggi?
Friday 25 - 20:38
by Perseus
The falling Max Ehrich
Thursday 17 - 19:40
by celbbetty
DAMN THE NFL
Wednesday 16 - 01:44
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Overplaying your hand
Thursday 10 - 12:36
Gujarat Flood 2017 Devastation- Inevitable or Orchestrated in Dhanera ?
Thursday 3 - 06:19
by Dwarika Nath Rath
Multiple citizenship & Zionist subversion of America, Australia, India, Humanity
Wednesday 2 - 03:10
by Dr Gideon Polya
I’M AN IDIOT AND I VOTE
Thursday 27 - 23:23
by David R. Hoffman
The Top Ten Art Scandals That Have Rocked the World
Tuesday 18 - 15:48
by Curtis Judge
John Pilger slams Mainstream silence re Apartheid Israel crimes: Free Palestine
Thursday 13 - 02:43
by Dr Gideon Polya
RUSSIAN MAFIA – NOW IN DUBAI?
Monday 3 - 14:52
by James Dolay
THE NFL IS RACIST
Saturday 1 - 00:31
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Australian Finkel Review has dirty energy for 50 years & ignores 25 key issues
Monday 19 - 03:37
by Dr Gideon Polya
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: JUSTICE FOR PHILANDO CASTILE
Sunday 18 - 01:03
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Find out what is true and false about climate change - Kenneth Pouchet
Friday 16 - 17:43
by Kenneth Pouchet
Freedom For Me, But Not You
Wednesday 31 - 02:17
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Post-Apartheid, non-racist, One State, democratic Palestine can happen tomorrow
Tuesday 30 - 08:21
by Dr Gideon Polya
A Review of Gilad Atzmon’s new book, “Being In Time: The Post-Political Manifes
Wednesday 17 - 21:23
by June Terpstra
Avoiding Another War in North Korea
Sunday 14 - 18:27
by William John Cox
Judah Ben Hur for President 2020
Saturday 13 - 16:15
by William Morgan
ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT FOR DONALD J. TRUMP
Saturday 13 - 02:33
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
As War Party shadow boxes, its agenda surges unopposed
Friday 12 - 14:28
by Daniel Patrick Welch
Yves Bouvier caught in a real estate bankruptcy
Thursday 11 - 20:19
by Pierre Gove
Book: This Is How The State Fucks Your Mind
Tuesday 9 - 19:16
by OAF
ISRAEL’S 1967 ATTACK ON INTELLIGENCE SHIP U.S.S. LIBERTY - THE ONLY MYSTERY
Thursday 20 - 20:06
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Denmark eaten down to the bone, what’s next?
Wednesday 19 - 16:22
by Henrik Petersen
A Financial Toll Tax: Transform, Not Reform, the U.S. Tax System
Monday 17 - 22:55
by William John Cox
COMPLETE DEGRADATION OF A SELF-STYLED GREAT NATION
Saturday 8 - 16:35
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
ATTACKING PEOPLE WITH FLEETS OF MISSILES BEFORE YOU HAVE ANY FACTS
Friday 7 - 20:34
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Syrian rebels used Sarin nerve gas, not Assad’s regime: U.N. official
Thursday 6 - 23:09
by Shaun Waterman
TRUMP’S FRIGHTENING TURNAROUND ON SYRIA – A STRONG SIGNAL ABOUT WHO REALLY RUNS
Thursday 6 - 17:22
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
AMERICA’S POLITICS WITHOUT MEANING - THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COUNTRY
Thursday 30 - 17:37
by JOHN CHUCKMAN

home | webmaster



Follow-up of the site's activity
RSS Bellaciao En


rss FR / rss IT / rss ES



Bellaciao hosted by DRI

It is the responsibility of the intellectual to speak the truth and to expose lies. Noam Chomsky
Facebook Twitter Google+
DAZIBAO
I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name
Thursday 10 March
©Olivier Jobard/Myop I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name THE RIGHT TO ASYLUM IS A RIGHT In the phrase « right to asylum », every word matters. Under the law, every person who is persecuted because of his or her political opinions or because of his or her identity, every person that is endangered by violence, war or misery has a RIGHT to seek asylum in another country The aim of this petition is to collect (...)
read more...
Neo-Nazis and far-right protesters in Ukraine 3 live-stream
Friday 24 January
2 comments
The far-right in Ukraine are acting as the vanguard of a protest movement that is being reported as pro-democracy. The situation on the ground is not as simple as pro-EU and trade versus pro-Putin and Russian hegemony in the region. When US Senator John McCain dined with Ukraine’s opposition leaders in December, he shared a table and later a stage with the leader of the extreme far-right Svoboda party Oleh Tyahnybok. This is Oleh Tyahnybok, he has claimed a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" (...)
read more...
Hugo Chavez is dead (video live)
Wednesday 6 March
by : Collective BELLACIAO
1 comment
President Hugo Chavez companeros venezueliano died after a long battle with cancer.
read more...
International initiative to stop the war in Syria Yes to democracy, no to foreign intervention!
Thursday 13 December
Your support here: http://www.peaceinsyria.org/support.php We, the undersigned, who are part of an international civil society increasingly worried about the awful bloodshed of the Syrian people, are supporting a political initiative based on the results of a fact-finding mission which some of our colleagues undertook to Beirut and Damascus in September 2012. This initiative consists in calling for a delegation of highranking personalities and public figures to go to Syria in order to (...)
read more...
THE KU KLUX KLAN ONCE AGAIN CONTROLS INDIANA
Monday 12 November
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
7 comments
At first glance, the results of America’s 2012 election appear to be a triumph for social, racial, and economic justice and progress in the United States: California voters passed a proposition requiring the rich to shoulder their fair share of the tax burden; Two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized the recreational use of marijuana, while Massachusetts approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes; Washington and two other states, Maine and Maryland, legalized same-sex (...)
read more...
I’VE DECIDED TO "WASTE" MY VOTE
Sunday 28 October
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
In a 2004 episode of Comedy Central’s animated series South Park, an election was held to determine whether the new mascot for the town’s elementary school would be a “giant douche” or a “turd sandwich.” Confronted with these two equally unpalatable choices, one child, Stan Marsh, refused to vote at all, which resulted in his ostracization and subsequent banishment from the town. Although this satirical vulgarity was intended as a commentary on the two (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART IV
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART III If there is one major inconsistency in life, it is that young people who know little more than family, friends and school are suddenly, at the age of eighteen, supposed to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, because of their limited life experiences, the illusions they have about certain occupations do not always comport to the realities. I discovered this the first time I went to college. About a year into my studies, I (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART III
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART IV Disillusioned with the machinations of so-called “traditional” colleges, I became an adjunct instructor at several “for-profit” colleges. Thanks largely to the power and pervasiveness of the Internet, “for-profit” colleges (hereinafter for-profits) have become a growing phenomenon in America. They have also been the subject of much political debate and the focus of a Frontline special entitled College Inc. Unlike traditional (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART II
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART III PART IV Several years ago, a young lady came into the college where I was teaching to inquire about a full-time instructor’s position in the sociology department. She was advised that only adjunct positions were available. Her response was, “No thanks. Once an adjunct, always an adjunct.” Her words still echo in my mind. Even as colleges and universities raise their tuition costs, they are relying more and more on adjunct instructors. Adjuncts are (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART I
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART II PART III PART IV When The Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution over two hundred years ago, Americans were blessed with many rights considered to be “fundamental.” One conspicuously missing, however, was the right to an education. This was not surprising given the tenor of the times. America was primarily an agrarian culture, and education, especially higher education, was viewed as a privilege reserved for the children of the rich and (...)
read more...
ONE SOLITARY LIFE, PART TWO
Monday 30 July
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
3 comments
If there is one universal question that haunts all human beings at some point in their lives, it is, “Why do we die?” Death, after all, is the great illogic. It ultimately claims all, the rich and the poor, the mighty and the small, the good and the evil. Death also has the capability to make most human pursuits—such as the quest for wealth, fame and power—vacuous and fleeting. Given this reality, I have often wondered why so many people are still willing to (...)
read more...
HOW MUCH CORRUPTION CAN DEMOCRACY ENDURE?
Thursday 28 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
6 comments
How much corruption can a “democracy” endure before it ceases to be a democracy? If five venal, mendacious, duplicitous, amoral, biased and (dare I say it) satanic Supreme Court “justices”—John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy—have their way, America will soon find out. In several previous articles for Pravda.Ru, I have consistently warned how the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision is one of the (...)
read more...
DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS, PART TWO
Tuesday 12 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
1 comment
Imagine, if you will, that the United States government passes a law banning advertisers from sponsoring commercials on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show or Rupert Murdoch’s Fox (Faux) “News” Network. On one hand, there would be two decided advantages to this ban: The National IQ would undoubtedly increase several percentage points, and manipulative pseudo-journalists would no longer be able to appeal to the basest instincts in human nature for ratings and profit while (...)
read more...
DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS
Thursday 7 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
4 comments
LIVE, from the State that brought you Senator Joseph McCarthy, Wisconsin voters now proudly present, fresh from his recall election victory, Governor Scott Walker! At first glance, it is almost unfathomable that anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have voted to retain Scott Walker as Wisconsin’s governor. This, after all, is a man who openly declared he is trying to destroy the rights of workers through a “divide and conquer” strategy; who received 61% of the (...)
read more...
PEOPLE WITHOUT SOULS
Tuesday 13 March
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
2 comments
A question I’ve frequently been asked since I began writing for Pravda.Ru in 2003 is, “Why did you become disillusioned with the practice of law?” This question is understandable, particularly since, in most people’s minds, being an attorney is synonymous with wealth and political power. I’ve always been reluctant to answer this question for fear it will discourage conscientious and ethical people from pursuing careers in the legal profession—a (...)
read more...