voice for democracy

Ralph Josephsohn: The survival of democracy – Longmont Times-Call

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The Darwinian theory of “survival of the fittest” is premised on natural selection. The fittest survive by replicating biological advantages over successive generations. The less fit perish in the dust of extinction. The evolution of sophisticated intelligence was largely responsible for the survival of the human species in an exceedingly dangerous, hostile, and disease-ridden environment. The tools of survival have however in themselves become so destructive as to place into question the chance of mankind’s very survival. Hypersonic ballistic missiles and intercontinental flights connecting the continents harbor deadly viruses which can annihilate victims on a global scale with pandemic devastation. Antibiotic resistant pathogens threaten a plague of biblical proportions. Weapons of mass destruction place the survival of mankind at the brink of extinction. A nuclear holocaust levels the playing field separating the fittest from the frailest. The crushing carbon footprint of climate change treads not only on the survival of homo sapiens, but a plethora of species.
Physiological components of survival have analogues in the cerebral network of the human mind. It has evolved the capacity to anticipate and resolve incomplete or inaccurate perceptual stimuli, as the body to vanquish adversaries, combat pathogenic diseases, and mend wounds. For example, the mental process of typoglycemia restructures inverted or misspelled printed text based on the context and the idiosyncrasies of a language.  “I cdn’uolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg: the phaonmneel pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rseearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy.”
Another example of cerebral patch and repair networking is Gestalt psychology. Gestalt psychology emphasizes that perceptions are assimilated by the mind in entire interconnected patterns or configurations, not merely their constituent individual components. Proximity, similarity, continuity, closure, and connection, relate to how humans perceive incomplete patterns and interconnected verbal constructs. The mind links a partial circle as completed. “The good, the bad and the  ___” conceptualizes ugliness. The whole is more than the sum of its parts. The mind fills in the missing gaps, whether an incomplete spatial delineation, or missing construct of thought, in accordance with a logically associated sequential context.
The phi phenomenon involves an illusionary sensation in which a person in a stationary position may experience a sensory and visual illusion of movement in association with a moving object. It may be felt when a car you occupy is at a complete stop while an adjacent vehicle starts to move. A similar, potentially lethal, sensation is encountered by pilots experiencing vertigo. Vertigo is a condition which may be encountered when flying without an external horizon or point of reference. A pilot experiencing vertigo suffers disorientation, sometimes attended by the sensation of spinning and nausea. This can result in a lethal spiral.
Those who understand such mental gyrations can distort another’s thinking process through clever manipulation. As with hypoglycemia, an artfully muddled or inverted textual expression can be crafted to provoke a misguided understanding and deceptively induced derivative conclusions.
Gestalt psychology fills in the gaps. Affiliation with a political party, as reference to certain “hot button” topics such as abortion, race and immigration, homelessness, welfare expenditures, and the national debt ceiling, if manipulatively referenced, may forge ill-conceived fill-in-the-gap ideations. They wave red flags as a muleta in a bullfight.
The phi phenomenon is a condition of disorientation which results in the erroneous perception of movement. The deceptive movement of an agenda can create an illusion that the recipient is the mover. Without a level horizon, this could lead to disorientation resulting in an out of control ideological spiral. When piloting political convictions, it is imperative to keep one’s internal horizon in sight and on the straight and level, focusing on intended objectives. Stay on course with a compass bearing on integrity. In order to avoid ideological vertigo, trust the instruments of sincere convictions, and keep the ball bank centered.
The contrived and distorted abuse and misuse of the workings of the mind may threaten democracy, the fittest form of government to survive despotism and theocracy. This has its analogue in greenhouse gases resulting from the irresponsible use of fossil fuels. A mind deceived by artfully contrived, incomplete or inaccurate mental stimuli presented in the smog of deception threatens the survival of democracy.
Ralph Josephsohn is a longtime resident of Longmont and a semi-retired attorney.
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