I am not a professional educator nor do I have any special training in child developement. I would, therefore, gladly welcome any thoughts from those with more experience than me. I believe children should be taught as early as possible, that everyone has a Big Brain and a Little Brain. The Little Brain tells us what we like and don’t like. The Big Brain helps us get the things we want. Whenever the child asks “Why?” regarding adults doing stupid things, the answer can then be “They are thinking with their Little Brains, not their Big Brains.” For those of a religious persuasion, the Big Brain tells us what to do to REALLY please God. In essence there is a battle between the Big Brain and the Little Brain.

At later ages, terms such as: Alligator Brain and People Brain, Reptilian Brain and Mammalian Brain, Cortex and Sub-cortex can be introduced. In each case, the former being responsible for emotions, black-and-white thinking, dichotomous thinking etc, while the latter is responsible for problem-solving and achieving goals. Again, there is a dynamic between the two that is important, and a lot of problems are caused or exacerbated by using the former in lieu of the latter.

Planting the seed as early as possible that this is an important distinction will increase the likelihood that children will recognize when DT is usurping problem solving. They will be less prone to bullying and being bullied. Perhaps bullies will even be called “Alligator Brains.” Growing up they will be less susceptible to manipulation by advertisers, politicians, and those hoping to radicalize them. When pondering a new idea the questions “What is the goal here? Will this idea help achieve that goal?” will come before “Do I LIKE this idea or not?” “How does this idea make me feel?” Finally, individuals taught early to recognize the distinction between Big Brain and Little Brain might be less likely to resort to violence, especially gun violence later in life.



Several points in the speech made by the president point out the problem of small-mindedness. He made several references to “ending the mindset that got us into [the Iraq] war.” This mindset is a dichotomous mindset that rejects problem-solving in favor of small-mindedness.

He said “Wars are anything but simple.” And yet wars are typically promoted be simple-mindedness.

He said “Worry less about being labeled weak (an example of DT) and worry more about getting it right (problem solving)”

He referred to “Knee-jerk partisanship” which is a clear example of dichotomous thinking.

He spoke of “The gradual evolution of human institutions” and “Promoting human progress” DT is the greatest barrier to human progress and human evolution.

He advised “Shutting out the noise.” DT is the source of that noise.

Most importantly He pointed out that “Those who chant “Death to America” have a common cause with the Republican caucus.” This is a fundamental human problem. If only he could go one step further and point out that DT is that common cause. DT is the glue that unifies the small-minded.

If we lived in a world where the word “dichotomous” was in regular use and the process by which DT stifles problem-solving was generally recognized, most of the points the president made would be considered obvious. Many of the various specific problems he pointed out would be seen as manifestations of a single more fundamental problem.