December 7, 2016

Primates With Lethal Weapons

Being an animal, it is difficult to keep in mind that our perceptions are limited by virtue of the fact that we are primates. Take for example William Palliam of West Virginia. It is reported that this white man aged 62 shot an unarmed 15 year old black boy after bumping into him at a store. When taken into custody he was quoted as saying: " The way I look at it, that's another piece of trash off the street". I think it is safe to say that this primate has absolutely no clue of how his own bestial impulses have been shaped by the racist environment into which he was born. Consequently he feels justified in acting out his aggression towards black people even to the extent of murdering a child. 

Simply take a look at your own mistakes to see that we humans are not always the logical and moral creatures we like to pretend. You need not be surprised. We now know that Homo sapiens has a reptilian and a mammalian brain firing alongside a cerebral cortex. And, this fact makes for some interesting and fallible information-processing. Thankfully 
Daniel Kahneman, in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow,  sheds more light on this.

Kahneman, to make the cognitive science accessible, has conceptualized human information- processing in terms of two systems. System One is fast and intuitive; and, System Two is slower, more calculated and logical. Kahneman's review of the research demonstrates how the faults and biases of our intuitive system have a pervasive impact on our System 2 thinking; that is, our logic. But, how many of Earth's 7 billion humans are aware of this "bestial" influence? And, I also got to wonder how many of these unconscious have access to a lethal weapon like deluded William Palliam of the USA.  No wonder there exists what they call "murder" cities. Yikes.

Faithfully yours,

Sheila Banks

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