Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Deceit & Deception: Chomsky and Trivers at Seed Salon

Follow the link in the title above to a fascinating discussion by Professors Robert Trivers and Noam Chomsky at the online magazine, Seed. They discuss from their separate disciplines and backgrounds research in animals and its application to understanding government and national actions like the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They talk of the U.S. policy-makers cherry-picking the data to justify their invasion of Iraq, and discuss how conscious or unconscious it may have been. Group-think dynamics where an entire organization builds up a false image in order to justify a pre-determined action, to individual actions like a person moving from considering marrying a person to dating the person. At the dating stage, they point out, the individual does not want to hear, cannot hear, negative things about the beloved. At the earlier stage, before the decision was made, the individual is still operating rationally and weighing the pros and cons. But once the decsion is made, everything negative is blocked out by an internal, psychological "firewall." Interesting to think about national actions, and how we perceive ourselves versus other groups, but also interesting to apply to personal considerations.

One thing they talk about is individual suppression of fear signs in order to look more self-confident. They also discuss what happens if the deceiver is found out!

The gorilla beating his chest is courtesy of http://www.animalworldspecialimages.com/Mountain%20Gorillas1.html

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