A very insightful Twitter contact (@pallobberjot) recently raised the question of whether promoting the concept of BigBrain/LittleBrain will encourage the casting of dispersions on other. This is one of the few times someone has raised an issue relevant to what I like to call Step#2. It if far too complex an issue to address through Twitter.

Step#1 is recognizing the importance of the distinction and the struggle between problem-based/goal-oriented thinking and Black&White/Dualistic/Dichotomous thinking. Once the importance of this distinction is recognized, Step#2 is realizing that dichotomous thinking is not always bad. The key is to treat DT with suspicion and to require dichotomies be justified.

If my idea were to be widely adopted, the short run would likely see an increase in the use of “Little Brain” or “Alligator Brain” as pejoratives, especially among children. Avoiding the idea because of this concern would be like telling the Wright brothers to stop what they are doing because people are going to get hurt.

People do not need an excuse to insult each other. When it comes to some individuals (terrorists, mass murderers) pejoratives are generally acceptable. What I am proposing is a framework within which to justify pejoratives. In the world I envision, pejoratives would be justified for 2 general reasons. First, an individual with no goals or stupid goals. Second, an individual with reasonable goals who proposes or actually takes actions that are not consistent with achieving those goals. Dichotomous thinking is usually the reason for the latter.

People who join terrorists organizations for the excitement are examples of the first group while people who join terrorist organizations because they think they are promoting God’s Will on earth are examples of the latter.

We all have a Big Brain and a Little Brain so the pejorative should not be in the form of “You are stupid, you have a little brain.” It will eventually be “You are stupid because you are USING your little brain when you should be using your big brain.” “Your arguments/proposals/ideas are too dichotomous, for such a complex issue.”

We all know very intelligent, skilled, talented people who make stupid choices. Why? They are thinking with the little brain rather than the big brain. The reptilian brain has shut out the cortex. On the flip side, insulting someone solely on the basis of a limited intelligence would be seen as making dichotomous noise. To the degree we feel justified in judging anyone, it should be on the basis of how they use the brains they have, on HOW they think rather that WHAT they think.

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