di Maximilien Girardin
Poor poor raccoon hair-dressed Donald who does not stop shouting out “FAKE NEWS” and everybody jumps in, on the trendy wave and judges or condemns his voicing, based on each, his or hers personal selective blindness or biases.
The Washington Post was so happy to point out to the world that since dear Donald is in Office, he managed just to pass the score of the 10.000 fake news errors…
‘High trees catch most wind’ is a saying in our Belgian flatlands swept by the North-sea breeze -wind – howling winds or hurricanes…that end up in… all in the reverse order and then go quiet again.
Now don’t get me wrong I don’t specially like to defend Trumpy or any other US President for that matter, but my contrarian mind and gut gets heavily tickled and reacts by curiosity and reasoning when a majority, whatever it is, starts to march all together in one direction with pompous sounds, bells and theatrics leading the massive parade…Our dearly regretted David Bowie would probably have called it ‘sound and vision’.
To quote Mark Twain with whom I adhere completely on this one: “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason”.
I tend to behave more like a protein or an amino acid in human blood an “amphotere-ian”, a word of clarification for those who’s biochemistry or physiology has gone missing in a long forlorn nebulous night of student’s youthfulness…
Amino acids or proteins for that matter are two faced (if you like theatrics) or Punks (if you are a end seventies or eighties music fan) and behave like that for as long as they can maintain their FORM.
In fact they are real contrarians if the environment tends to shift ph-wise towards acidic for instance, the proteins in that environment take an alkali stance, as such doing the reverse of what the environment does and the reverse…
As a consequence the favorite expression from many alternative therapists: “you are too acidic” takes another ultimate nonsense dimension in most cases…
Thus these contrarians not only go their own way Fleetwood Mac style, but systematically go the opposite way of the majority....as such acting as two faced Bastards or Punks in a formal trendy society that looks more and more like a parade to my eye at least.
Most important is by acting that way they are extremely potent and active as correctors – balance maintainers – homeostasis inductors…. Health and resilience in a biological system is often kept by the contrarians!!!! If your blood has a stable Ph of about 7, 4 it is not only the work of the systems and organs reactions combined, it is because the proteins in your blood behave sturdily as punks standing their ground by systematically taking the opposite stance of their environment.
As such contrarians have an important function they maintain the stability or steadiness and resilience of the whole system; any healthy system needs a good dose of contrarians, that is maybe the most important reason why fascist regimes, eliminates them as first targets.
Have you ever wondered why any of the fascist or dictatorial regimes of the world and in history (Space and Time) have that all in common: try to control or even eliminate elements like artists, critical journalists, teachers, free spirits and other outliers…?
Because those are the categories that often host and raise the contrarians, and the contrarians are bad bad bad in Donald’s tweet style speech, for any totalitarian regime because the regime likes nice parades for the masses: it induces Groupthink and and its peculiar dynamics, the Punks and contrarians always march in the wrong direction hindering as such a parade that potentially makes us all march into the same happy extremism , whatever the dark beast is called: nationalism, socialism, ecologism, veganism, modernism, islamism, communism, patriotism, naturism or whatever bloody …ism you could imagine.
Wikipedia short of Groupthink:
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.
Groupthink requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the “ingroup” produces an “illusion of invulnerability” (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the “ingroup” significantly overrates its own abilities in decision-making and significantly underrates the abilities of its opponents (the “outgroup“). Furthermore, groupthink can produce dehumanizing actions against the “outgroup”.
Antecedent factors such as group cohesiveness, faulty group structure, and situational context (e.g., community panic) play into the likelihood of whether or not groupthink will impact the decision-making process.
Groupthink is a construct of social psychology but has an extensive reach and influences literature in the fields ofcommunication studies, political science, management, and organizational theory, as well as important aspects of deviant religious cult behaviour.
and its symptoms:
To make groupthink testable, Irving Janis devised eight symptoms indicative of groupthink.
Type I: Overestimations of the group — its power and morality
- Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
- Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.
Type II: Closed-mindedness
- Rationalizing warnings that might challenge the group’s assumptions.
- Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, impotent, or stupid.
Type III: Pressures toward uniformity
- Self-censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
- Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
- Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of “disloyalty”
- Mindguards— self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.
So far for Wiki….
Now when we take whatever ‘stance’ we want, when observing a phenomenon, doing our very best to be as correct – objective – neutral – undogmatic and open as possible… we are always biased…BUGGER OFF!
Contrarians have their limited impact but it may be potent as our old African adage says:
“If you think a mosquito is a powerless creature, spend a night with one in your hut…”
Homo Sapiens is extremely biased. It is sadly enough how our brain is wired, and the way it is wired has a story which combines evolution – development – culture…
Let us look at a few of the stances and try it from a phenomenological viewpoint:
What says the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy about that one?
Phenomenology is commonly understood in either of two ways: as a disciplinary field in philosophy, or as a movement in the history of philosophy.
The discipline of phenomenology may be defined initially as the study of structures of experience, or consciousness. Literally, phenomenology is the study of “phenomena”: appearances of things, or things as they appear in our experience, or the ways we experience things, thus the meanings things have in our experience. Phenomenology studies conscious experience as experienced from the subjective or first person point of view. This field of philosophy is then to be distinguished from, and related to, the other main fields of philosophy: ontology (the study of being or what is), epistemology (the study of knowledge), logic (the study of valid reasoning), ethics (the study of right and wrong action), etc.(https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/)
The properties of humankind’s brain, culture, and cognition have co-evolved in a tight iterative loop; the main event in human evolution has occurred at the cognitive level, however, mediating change at the anatomical and cultural levels.
•“The social environment includes many factors that impinge on development, from bonding and competitive stress to the social facilitation of learning.
•These can affect brain functioning in many ways, but usually they have no direct influence on functional brain architecture.
• However, symbolizing cultures own a direct path into our brains and affect the way major parts of the executive brain become wired up during development. This is the key idea behind the notion of deep enculturation, that entails setting up the very complex hierarchies of cognitive demons (automatic programs) that ultimately establish the possibility of new forms of thought.
•Culture effectively wires up functional subsystems in the brain that would not otherwise exist.”
Quoted from: “A Mind So Rare: The Evolution of Human Consciousness” by Merlin Donald, pp 371. ISBN 0 393 04950 7.
As pictures say often more than 1000 words:
The mischaracterization is structural, and educational or cultural,
our measuring and interpretational machine is biased from the start;
and as it was not enough it gets worse in another dimension.
If we zoom in on the receptor parts of the informational system, beware this is for all of our senses objectivable or measurable by scientific method…
All our sensitive receptors known, are situated within our inner tissue or connective or mesenchymal tissue, in other words the only thing we sense is ourselves.
Yes indeed we can register many of the stimuli that the continuously changing environment throws at us, not sense them as such but sense the change the external stimulus produces within our system.
WE DON’T SENSE THE ENVIRONMENT SELF OR ITS CHANGES, BUT THE CHANGE HAPPENING WITHIN OURSELVES BECAUSE OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE
Thus all News is fake, it is always tainted by our personal biases, want it or not.
This is good and bad news.
The bad news is that whatever info our brain feeds us, should incite us to be careful at least or better handle it with extreme caution because we know it is biased or already passed through our personal coloring system before we even become aware of it.
Therefore trust no one, the least of all our own senses…
How can there be a silver lining on that dark cloud?
There is actually, as an osteopath you are incited to trust your senses because they are as well your measuring tool or assessment tool and working or intervention tool in the outside world, like on patients for instance.
Thus calibrating your tool is of utmost importance. Exaggeratedly one could say that your first years of practice should be focussed on that, focus on yourself (not the patient) your position, your hands or parts of your hands you use specifically to gather information, turn your attention inwards. The focus on the patient only comes in when your personal calibrating checklist is done. The machine is ready for the job now… Each and everyone of us has to focus and work hard to develop his own protocol, like a pilot’s Checklist, check your parameters over and over as to calibrate your instrument (body and senses) in a way that the bias (which is there) is reduced to its bare minimum and relatively stable or constant. From that moment on even with the bias the natural and or normal in the patient will reveal itself. Personally I practice osteopathy since 1985 and even today still first do my Checklist or calibration before touching the patient.
The same for auscultation, percussion and palpation.
This is in my opinion the one thing we have to be most disciplined about:
Make your personal checklist for calibrating your instrument and its subparts:
Empty the mind
Before starting to …
Back to Phenomenology: What we are involved in during assessment and treatment is a phenomenon, it is still biased but will be less if you interact with it as a what it is…a phenomenon. In my experience when things turn South, like Arctic South, it is when we start to think during the phenomenon, trying to explain, trying to understand… from that moment on we activate the dominant role of the brain and the tainting runs out of hand, the coloring in between the lines of our restricted knowledge and all cultural and educational biases… That is why I always admonish students you are an osteopath and in practice a phenomenologist, reason and think before or after the assessment and treatment but in the action don’t think just be. It does not reduce dramatically your biases but at least it makes that their inferences is minimal while the phenomenon goes its mysterious ways.
We have no idea what we are doing when we practice osteopathy or any manual therapy by the way…
•Move an innominate
–We are stirring 36 muscles,
–we are touching the skin – and changing the tension within the connective tissues,
–therefore the nervous system, when we influence the nervous system with a trillion or more interneurons
•can we honestly – really predict which ones will fire?”
–We change pressure somewhere in a 100.000 miles of blood vessels which all react more or less…
•Can we honestly foresee how the shifts happen?
The answer is we can’t, what we can do is try to make the phenomenon fit our biased boxes we have in our minds…but in my opinion that is not osteopathy.
Listen to the lyrics of the song by Kansas: “Dust in the wind”, if you understand the song’s meaning it will help you to accept more easily what phenomenology is about…get that bloody educational and cultural tainted Ego out of the way and the phenomenon can deploy its magnificence.
And please don’t understand the old doctor wrong or me for that matter, in order to get living pictures you must feed your mind with knowledge and images as close to the real thing as possible…intuition does not come by itself it is the result of hard work – blood – sweat and tears over the years.
An osteopath is a lifelong student…
But after this pleading of not thinking ? …. Still said with good reasons, an osteopath is a philosopher that reasons….but to reason you must have something to reason from…and that is anatomy with a big A…meaning anatomy in all its dimensions