Collective Intelligence: The Final Piece in the Gaslighting of America

Vintage gas mask and headphones
Trump as Mental Contaminate

Way back on 12 June 2016, I wrote about the Ol’ Pussy Grabber as a mental contaminate. Yesterday, 27 December 2017, I wrote about how the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s behavior is changing the social norms of the United States that we will soon be the United Fucking States of Fucking Stupid and consequently cease to exist in all but name. And, on 21 May 2016, I wrote about how Prejudiced Norm Theory explains how disparagement humor spreads discriminatory, hateful, hurtful behavior.

The Knowledge Illusion

Now, we can roll all three up into one big smorgasbord of we’re so fucked! But, our sammich of fucked up stupid needs a little mayo to hold it all together, and that friends and neighbors is the Communital Intelligence! In a nutshell, intelligence is less individual than it is a public commodity.

We don’t know as much as we think we know. There is a clever experiment that brings this home, and you can play along at home! Just follow these three easy steps, and what’s more, you can explain your experience with it in the comments!

Step 1: The crafty experimenters ask their hapless participant (that’s you) to rate on a scale of one to five with one being very little and five quite a lot how much they know about some common object like say how a zipper works.

Most people say that they know a lot about zipper works. They rely on the availability heuristic, I am very familiar with zippers in general. I use them every day. I know how they work!

Step 2: Then the scurrilous experimenter does the participant (that’s you) a dirty by asking them to write a short paragraph explaining how a zipper works (you can put yours in the comments, if you like). That’s when most people start writing something like, Well, uh, you grab the zipper by the little thingee there with one hand and pull the fabric tight with the other and then pull the zipper upward. It works by, you know, joining the two sides together. You see, it has, uh… these little teethy things that the zipper puts together and they don’t pull apart until, it is unzipped! You see  I don’t really know.

Step 3: Rate on a scale of one to five with one being not much and five being quite a lot how much you know about how zippers work. And, now the humbled humiliated participant (that’s you) gives a far more sober, less exuberant, much more realistic answer.

And, here’s the fun part: we can do this with most everyday objects and processes that fill our lives. We don’t have to know how our television works, or how digital storage of our electronic games work to be enslaved by them.

The Ah ha! Syndrome

BruegelSevenDeadlySins
Trump, the Election, & the 7 Sins of Memory

In fact, we don’t even remember as much as we think we do. While I know my way from work to school and certain stores so well, I can give detailed directions to anyone, but ask me a route that is more obscure and less frequently traveled, or where a store is in a mall, and I find that i can’t do quite as good a job. Mrs. Calico can. She never forgets a direction. She has a god-given and extremely irritating talent that way. But, I rely on my environment to supply me with cues about where the stores are and even then I’m lost.

We all have things like this. It is a kind of Ah ha! approach to remembering things. It is the Oh, yeah! You turn right at that building! That’s right. I remember now. We don’t need to stuff so much into our heads when it works like this.

Communital Intelligence Applied to Roy the Moorelester Moore

MoralChoices
Roy Moore & Moral Foundation Theory

We can apply this to our current political situation: Is the accusers lying about the Moorelester? If you are a conservative, you’ll cry #FakeNews! Hell yes, they is lying! They don’t want a god-fearing upstanding Christian man in the Senate so they can continue driving us all into the ground what with their free give aways to all the poors and browns and fereigns like those folk over in Cali-porn-aye-aye! And if you are a liberal, you’ll be all like, GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY! Just kidding. Most liberals I know were like, These accusations sound pretty credible. While that does not constitute absolute proof, it probably is better if the Moorelester does not represent the interests of the gentle folk of the great state of Alabama in the Senate. There are many other very effective and good Alabamans that don’t have these troubling and credible accusations hanging over their heads that could serve.

The conservatives are certain that there is a liberal conspiracy to spread #FakeNews to discredit all of the right-good god-fearing Christian things so that we can live in an orgy of Satanic ritual and blood sacrifice. They know this to be a fact.

The liberals are certain that there is a conservative conspiracy to loot the middle class and poors of every single last farthing including those right-good Christian conservative voters and hand it over to the wealthy, which includes the conservative politicians in Congress and the administration.

Please note, dear reader, that labeling something a conspiracy doesn’t mean it ain’t true. Obviously, the Repubes is conspiring to grab as much as they can with both hands while the cookie jar is unminded by the adults. Once a cookie is et, it don’t come back in anyway that anyone wants it. Jus’ like once an kleptocratic oligarch has stashed his riches in an off-shore bank account, it don’t come back no way no how.

How can both sides be so certain that their conspiracy theory is right and the other one is the product of a crack-pot delusional mind? Well, everybody they know believes their conspiracy theory and thinks the other one is the product of a fever dream inspired by pure unadulterated evil that hates us for our freedoms! And, if everybody knows it, it must be true.

Let’s bring it home and tie it up all pretty like with a bow!

The Mental Contaminate Part

  1. lacking awareness of your mental processes
  2. lacking control over your mental processes
  3. being mistaken about the influences on your judgments
  4. lacking motivation to correct your biases and other judgment errors
Confirmation bias Conformity Groupthink Informational conformity Irving Janis
Groupthink or Group Cluster…

Don’t that just sound exactly like those darned willfully ignorant crying snowflakes on the other side?

  1. They don’t have no unnerstanning of their own ungodly groupthink process.
  2. They sure don’t have no critical thinking or logical skills and even if they did, they is too lazy and ignorant to apply them.
  3. They know they is pure of heart and god-inspired and living the American values, so everything they do is pure and good and American.
  4. Besides if they were to correct their mistakes, then they might could be wrong and the snowflakes just might could be right and everybody knows that America is exceptional and never wrong so their pure American good American soul has to be right! It just has to be! So, we won’t be examining it too closely.

Now, that’s just the application of solid psychological findings to a situation. You know it is true. The Ol’ Pussy Grabber is not leading the tilting at the Mythical War on Christmas, he is enforcing his own groupthink process. By vilifying anyone who disagrees with him, he is effectively discouraging anyone who disagrees with him. By casting every issue as partisan, black-and-white, and subject only to opinion, he is reducing every disagreement to a binary choice.

The Social Norms Part

monsters-inc-screen-shot-16
Cleaning up the Repube Mess

Social norms are the rules that govern our social interactions. Those rules help us do three things:

  1. Recognize the social situation we are in,
  2. Decide on our next action, and
  3. Predict what others will likely to do next.

Without social norms, prediction is impossible. They are the glue that holds us all together as one nation and culture. Here’s a good for example that will help us understand the caustic effect the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is having.

Russell Lee - Mexican children, San Antonio, Texas, 1939
“Against this filth”

We all lie Most of us will like at least once a day or once every couple of days. If someone says otherwise, (a) don’t believe them because they are lying and (b) don’t trust them because they cannot own up to being human. Here’s the thing, though. We have rules about when it is okay to lie and when it is not. Most of us will cope to a lie if we are exposed beyond a reasonable doubt. If you don’t have the ego strength needed to admit your lie, then you’re pretty weak. These rules shift based on the social situation and the relationships we have with those involved. But, they, like all social norms, are based on fundamental agreements about what is socially important.

Just by being such a chronic pathological liar, the Ol’ Pussy Grabber erodes our social rules about lying. Just by telling such pathetically obvious transparent lies, he erodes our rules about lying. by attacking the media as being fake and having a liberal bias, by denying scientific findings he is eroding the foundations of our nation and society.

The Prejudiced Norm Theory Part

George Wallace Campaign Placard
Hate Begets Hate

Prejudice Norm Theory tells us that exposure to disparaging humor makes it more likely that we’ll tolerate discrimination against the group being disparaged. It stands the It’s just a joke! excuse for being an asshole on its head. Disparagement humor, of course, is any joke that finds levity at the expense of an identifiable group. Those overhearing such a joke, especially those who have a biased prejudiced bend, are more likely — science fact, y’all — to enact those prejudices at their next opportunity.

Tying it All Together

Prejudiced Norm Theory, Applied

muslimbanprotest
#Resistance & Violence as Contagion

Place your finger right here on this over-hand knot that I’ve tied in this ribbon, so I can finish off the bow. Every time the Ol’ Pussy Grabber takes his tweeter in his meaty lil’ chubby stubbies and ejaculates this twizz all over us, he is encouraging those who have similar prejudices and biases to act on them. Just like when you tell a racist joke around your favorite drunk uncle and everybody tsks tsks you for it, he walks away thinking that you secretly agree and feels encouraged to act on those racist thoughts and feelings.

That’s why we’ve had the racists and white supremacists crawling out from under the fridge into the light of day ever since the Ol’ Pussy Grabber oozed down the gold laminated escalator. They really do feel empowered.

Mental Contamination, Applied

InternetTrollMEME
Meme: Internet Trolls

That’s why we’ve descended into meme hell where our political discourse has resorted to the exchange of stickers, memes, and #CrySnowflakeCry. The Ol’ Pussy Grabber don’t bother to advance any kind of theory, ideology, idea, or coherent thought. He just lies and makes it up as he goes a long blithely contradicting himself and liberally insulting his detractors. People who are prone to such weak rhetorical devices are more likely to use them in social media thereby encouraging equally weak rhetoric from their followers. It is a cascading effect like the proverbial snowball growing to a boulder as it rolls down hill. Now, all we have is the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person saysIt is false simply because the other side says that it is true!

The Ol’ Pussy Grabber is infecting our culture with his executive dysfunction spreading it like so much plague, like a common mental contamination.

Social Norms, Applied

BlackSwan
Are Trump’s Tweets Evidence of His Abnormality?

And last, he is a bad liar. Everybody knows he is lying. Even the people who believe him know he’s lying to them. Christ, if he says it, you know the opposite is true because the man is chronic pathological careless liar. Because we all know he’s lying, for those of us with executive dysfunction, we lie, too. We twist ourselves into dangerous and near fatal pretzels of cognitive dissonance to argue for his obvious lies. And, just like the little kids playing All-Star World Wide Web Federation of Wrestling, we are willing to climb up onto the dining room table and pile drive our little sibling/neighbor into the floor. We figger its okay. Our cognitive dissonance doesn’t know no bounds. If we are believing the lie, we’ll convince ourselves that Rome ain’t burning and continue fiddling with our crying snowflake memes.

Communital Intelligence, Applied

And, when we look around our environment for any type of reality check, our friends and neighbors are all parroting back the same shit, so we believe the lies all the more. We repeat the lies all the more vehemently. We post the stickers, memes, and #Hashtags all the more. We automatically gainsay the other side all the more. And, full circle, we’re back to the mental contamination of not questioning our mental processes, biases, or judgment errors.

Now, if that ain’t a purdy little package tied up all nice and neat with a bow, I don’t know what is.

And that friends and neighbors is how America were gaslighted into oblivion in 2017 the year of our lord.

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