For a long time it has concerned me that I might be insane. I don’t really believe that I am insane. However, I have felt, occasionally, that the state of reality observed by and propounded upon by folks as diverse as Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, pick a name from the political right, is so distinctly different from my own, either they are nuts or I am.

It concerns me that they, to the man and woman, are rich and I am not. To paraphrase the old saying, “If I’m so damn sane, why ain’t I rich?”

Well, could it be they are sane and I am not? Is there some weird parallel universe thing going on that allows us both to be sane?

This conundrum has been, and until today remained, a great mystery. Today, the puzzle has been solved. Ironically, the puzzle has been solved by research scientist working in that sink of insanity, Stanford University, home of the Hoover Institute, the world’s leading lunatic repository.

A fellow by the name of Kevin Dunbar makes his career by studying the way scientists study things. As such he has been studying the results of experimentation in a wide and diverse range of scientific disciplines. He has been trying to determine how hard-eyed dedicated men and women of science, persons dedicated to truth above all else, deal with failure/anomalies in the resulting data. Wired.com reported in an article entitled Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up that, simply put, most of these scientist don’t deal with it. They don’t accept defeat or willingly recognize their assumptions are wrong. It turns out, Dr. Dunbar discovered, that scientists, just like everybody else, don’t like it when facts interfere with preconceived notions.

Of course, none of us enjoys being confused by the facts, no matter what the matter to hand. That is only human. Discovering scientists, world-class scientists at that, are just as human, in this regard, as all the rest of us, comes as a surprise. A scientist, theoretically, must have his or her entire allegiance to truth, no matter how ugly, no matter how inconvenient, no matter how maddening the truth. Unfortunately, it turns out, scientists do not do this. This is an allegiance that is hard to maintain, so, as often as not, they don’t.

I, first among all persons, understand this seeming paradox. Years ago, I promulgated Copeland’s Theory of Visceral Reality, an underreported, underanalyzed, underappreciated, and misunderstood work of genius. I encourage you to take the time to review the link to this seminal work of foundational human knowledge. However, rather than repeat it all here, allow me to merely point out that this theory divides all we, as humans, know into four categories. These are: things we know, things we believe, things about which we have theories and things we do not know.

Each and every problem confronting mankind results from our stubborn insistence on confusing the things we believe with things that are actually known. There are, in fact, very few things humans actually know. There are relatively few things that we realize we do not know, far fewer that actually exist in nature. (Though I do not know that, I only theorize that is so.) There are way more things we believe that we cannot prove and do not, for certain, really know than we can ever bring ourselves to admit. (And, that is a fact!)

Dr. Dunbar’s observations and experimental research results may not prove Copeland’s Theory of Visceral Reality but they sure support it in all its particulars. Even so, it is not the purpose of this article to toot my own horn (though it does make a pleasant and melodious sound) so much as  to celebrate the explanation of why Bill O’Reilly and I can coexist in a single universe and neither of us be certifiable. (I am not ready to go quite so far as it relates to Limbaugh and, certainly, not Beck, both of whom, in all probability, are certifiable.)

The sorry truth is, like the students in Dunbar’s experiments, Bill simply does not believe the facts that confront him. (Or, to be fair, maybe I do not believe the facts that confront me. However, having analyzed this question in some detail, I am pretty sure it is Bill, not me, who looks at reality and blinks.) Bill sees the obvious chaos that has resulted from the American Exceptualism foreign policy pursued by the Bush administration and does not remember his cheerleading or that it was all Bush/Cheney’s doing. No, Bill blames it on Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Jimmy Carter and Barbra Streisand. Bill looks at a wide range of domestic issues and determines that if the government would simply do nothing everything would get better. In short, Bill is divorced from reality.

Yet, according to Dr. Dunbar’s research, people like Bill may not be the nut cases you and I might assume. No, he, the Birthers, Sarah Palin and all the rest are merely reacting normally to facts that violate their preconceived notions by ignoring them. They are choosing beliefs over knowns and will, according to Copeland’s Theory of Visceral Reality, continue to do so until it is no longer possible to do so.

Though he did not and, possibly, would not say so, the far right, like Dr. Dunbar’s scientific community of research subjects, are willfully and savagely ignorant and damn proud of it. (Of course, in the interest of balance, it could be I who am willfully and savagely ignorant and damn proud of it. But, it isn’t. It is they. At least, it is theoretically.)

Being a scientist, Dr. Dunbar has developed a biological explanation for this failure to accept obvious facts. He tells us that the human brain has an “oh sh**t” mechanism he called the anterior cingulated cortex, ACC. The ACC is located in the central part of the brain. When we are confronted with something that defies our preconceived expectations a “squirt” of blood is injected into this area of the brain. This fires up the ACC. As the ACC is associated with our recognition of errors/mistakes this “squirt” informs us what we are seeing is wrong.

For the Becks, Limbaughs and O’Reillys of the world this “squirt” must happen many times more in an hour than the nocturnal emissions of adolescent boys in a month. It must constitute a sort of cranial ejaculate that, I have to presume, is pleasurable on some level or they would stop.

The second mental defense against reality identified by Dr. Dunbar is used to “edit” reality. This region of the brain is called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, DLPFC. The DLFFC is located in the front of the brain and acts to suppress unwanted representations. It literally edits out thoughts that are inconsistent with what we believe to be the truth.

As you may imagine, a well developed DLPFC is an absolute necessity for anyone seeking employment at FOX News. Without a fully functional DLPFC I would think the average conservative talk show host would simply suffer full mental incapacity, and on a repeated basis. With an Olympic class DLPFC, as men such as Beck and Hannity, et. al., must enjoy, I doubt any foray into fantasy would be too much to sustain.

I believe that for people like the Birthers and Sarah Palin, the brain may well consist of a DLPFC comprising seventy-five percent of total volume. George W. Bush probably goes around eighty percent and, except for that cranial ejaculation mechanism, Cheney probably goes close to one hundred percent.

Well, thank you Dr. Dunbar. Now that I understand it, I feel better. The denizens of the far right aren’t crazy. They are cranially deformed. Now I can relax, sooner or later, Google, Apple or Blackberry will create an app for that.

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Mike Copeland

Mike Copeland

I am old enough to know better. I have a B. A. from Birmingham Southern College and a Master's in City Planning from Georgia Tech. I have worked in SC State government for over a decade leaving as the Deputy Executive Director of the State Budget and Control Board, the state's administrative agency. I have owned the Fontaine Company since 1984 and am the managing member of viscerality.com.llc a management, marketing and consulting company.

I am the author of several novels, some of which you may buy and read if you are of a mind to do so.

7 Comments
  1. Cliff Green

    How dare you run former Governor Sarah Palin’s photograph with a story about people being nuts! When she resigned as governor of Alaska, she said, “It is as throughout all Alaska that big wild good life teeming along the road that is north to the future.”
    Argue with that you commie faggots!

  2. Wow!! Thanks for clearing things up. I knew someone named Mike would have the answer.

    I have a co-worker who only watches Fox News and is driving me nuts. Can you come by and talk to her. She doesn’t believe me. It must be those brain spurt things.

  3. Austin McMurria

    Well, funny you mentioned DLPFC. Obviously you fail to realize the subliminal truth about Sarah Palin.

    She Unites us. To begin with let’s define the divisions that separate us. Howzaboot (see, Sarah’s sass is gittn tuh yuh, aye? Darn tootn!) The most obvious is Men vs. Women. Now within these groups we have open vs. closed minds. Count em – this makes four groups.

    Group 1. Closed Minded Men – Most are misogynists. The “perfect female proves them correct in thinking that women are dumb. Being closed minded, these men rarely listen, and tire quickly when an intelligent person expounds complicated thoughts, so they tune out. So does Sarah. She generally speaks in aphorisms for the short sighted, but pays homage to actual rational thought by mimicking it – that is, according to the closed minded, all articulation is blather, so why worry with accuracy, continuity, or even a completed thought – the real folks aint listnin anywho. So this group is hardcore in. They gottem a dumbass who can fool the non-misogynists cause she seems so smart due to her blather. Plus she is purty. Done deal!

    Group 2. Open Minded Men – Long alienated from both closed minded men and closed minded women, Sarah is for this group the ultimate Empath. She facilitates these open minded men to peer inside the misogynist. Unable to deny her fetching qualities, yet appalled by her Neanderthalism, these men experience the cognitive dissonance all closed minded folks live with constantly – the facts vs. what they damn well know better about. So, inescapably these men unconsciously fantasize ravishmentation and a darn well deserved hiding. All men united as conflicted woman lover/haters.

    Group 3 Closed Minded Women. Thas they’re girl. Nuff said. They never have had problems with misogynists, they think men are either a) perfect daddies or b) fodder for manipulative games. So, being closed minded, they shut down when thinking gets complicated. Just like Sarah.

    Group 4. Open Minded Women – Well this group don’t coalesce easily. But due to inordinately high on average self esteem, necessarily detest blind, loud, irrational, vicious, unthinking specimens of femininity. Hey, they’ve come a long way babey, and resent guilt by association. The resentment is hyperexacerbated by Sarah Palin’s girl next door attractiveness. She’s no Pam Anderson. She’s a bimbo men can introduce to Granny. The more pride this group has in being female, intelligent, human, toilet trained, etc. – the more resentment becomes obsessive and …Voillah – the closed minded male is each members psychic twin, so all groups stand united by psychic bond.

    So, north to i’ll ask her, jus think of freely unbounded Wagnerian zipless de fetering from all syntactic parameters! The new irrepressable era of discontiguity is up in here. Join hands. Say-Rah Say- Rah Say – Rahhhh (after all, Ra was the Sun God)

  4. Thanks a lot. Now I have to figure out if Keith Obermann is doing the same thing as Beck or is he so smart(which is what he would say)that he has figured all this out and is just making fun of sweet Sarah, and the rest of the liars. BTW my local cable company and Fox are in a contract squabble and FOX may be taken off the air on 1/1/10. I can’t decide how I would celebrate that.

  5. Austin? You’re awesome. George? Celebrate in any way that makes you happy. Just celebrate!

  6. Cliff Green

    Austin, I appreciate all your typing on this blog, but you have way over thought this. No matter how much lipstick you put on Sarah, she’s still an intellectual dog.

  7. Forget Sarah Palin. I want to talk about the fluoride in our water and microwaves which are government ways to control our minds. You can make a very good mind protector out of aluminum foil but when you wrap it around your head, you should cover the ears because the government will control you through your ear canals. Also, rays are coming at you right now through our computer screens.

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