Can politicians talk to Americans like adults?
I would claim that all adults are significantly more sophisticated in all ways from children. However, in the matter of intellectual sophistication American adults do not differ enough from children to assure that our species will not self destruct within the next several generations. The American adult, because s/he was taught what to think rather than how to think, has not yet become sophisticated enough to manage our high tech culture.
Can our brain survive this high tech modern world? I doubt that our present generation of adults has the sophistication required to even comprehend the question. Why is this the case? It is the case because our brains have not been able to move from its primitive level to the modern level.
“Our political system sometimes produces such skewed results that it’s difficult not to blame bloviating politicians. But maybe the deeper problem lies in our brains.
Evidence is accumulating that the human brain systematically misjudges certain kinds of risks. In effect, evolution has programmed us to be alert for snakes and enemies with clubs, but we aren’t well prepared to respond to dangers that require forethought.”
The “human brain systematically misjudges certain kinds of risks”. We go berserk looking for a stick to beat a snake to death. We sleep without disturbance while stock piling thousands of nuclear weapons. Our brain has evolved to be instantly alerted by enemies with sticks or snakes in the grass but we give little regard to any situation that is a long range gigantic threat to our well being.
Unfortunately when science informs us of the danger that our carbon emissions will destroy the planet as we now know it “only the small part of the brain that focuses on the future — a portion of the prefrontal cortex — will glimmer”.
“We humans do strange things, perhaps because vestiges of our ancient brain still guide us in the modern world, notes Paul Slovic, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon and author of a book on how our minds assess risks.”
“That’s why people are incensed about flag burning, or about what kind of sex people have in private, even though that doesn’t really affect the rest of us,” Professor Gilbert said. “Yet where we have a real threat to our well-being, like global warming, it doesn’t ring alarm bells.”
Quotes from NYTimes article When Our Brains Short-Circuitby Nicholas Kristof