ongoing incoherence of the "educated"

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Today is “Fat Tuesday” all over the world. People will party like there is no tomorrow this evening. This relaxation of normal mores that allows crazy behavior makes sense to me in many ways. But at my church, they are delaying the party until Saturday after Lent has begun.

This incoherence happened without my boss’s permission and was scheduled by highly educated intelligent people. It’s just another little incoherent piece that goes floating by.

Recently I linked in an article that pointed out that a good number of people receiving government benefits don’t realize they are government benefits.

Moochers Against Welfare – NYTimes.com

Then my brother Mark put up this link on Facebook:

Cornell Chronicle: Recipients of federal aid say they’re not

Nice ironic quote leads the article:

“Keep your government hands off my Medicare,” said a citizen attending a town hall meeting in Simpsonville, S.C., in 2009. Many Americans like him — who benefit from federal largesse but don’t realize it — favor deep cuts to government programs.

My wife passed the link along and then discovered that we have intelligent educated relatives who seem to fit the category of not realizing (admitting?) they are connected to the government they abhor by receiving benefits they seem to think should stop.

It seems incoherent to me. I’m pretty sure if I could have a face to face conversation with my relatives I would learn more about how it seems to them.

I have dozens of these incidents of incoherence of people who are “educated.”

I am reading a book on denial. It occurs to me that denial may come into play when people seem incoherent.

From my reading notes this morning: In early evolution stress response led to “fight or flight.”

After danger passed, body could relax but in modern situation, neither flight nor flight is called for and the brain is left to stew in stress response juices.

“While stress arousal is a fitting mode to meet emergency as an ongoing state it is a disaster.” p. 43 in Vital Lies, Simple Truths by Goleman

Tuning out threat is one way to short-circuit stress arousal… Goleman sees denial as a psychological equivalent to endorphin response to stress.

I thought about my experiences of educated incoherence when I read these lines from the poem, “HE HAS BEATEN ABOUT THE BUSH LONG ENOUGH”  by William Carlos Williams this morning.

the
slowly hardening

brain
of an academician
The most

that can be said
for it
is

That it has the crystal-
line pattern
of

new ice on
a country
pool

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Physicists Create a Working Transistor From a Single Atom – NYTimes.com

This science amazes me.

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Where the Boys Aren’t – NYTimes.com

I read Maureen Dowd articles, but rarely link them since they seem to be so light. But I liked her portrait of the movie star who became a nun in real life.

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In Sudan, Seeing Echoes of Darfur – NYTimes.com

Kristoff says to stay tuned: there is another terrible situation occurring.

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