Fear and Decision-Making
A posting on Pacific Views has an interesting take on the role of fear in our decision-making processes.
A few snippets:
The conservatives generally, evidently including members of the top military brass, seem to be driven by a primitive fear not of attack or physical violence, but of humiliation. This is what makes them tick and it's the essence of what's gone wrong since 9/11.
And this from a speech by Aun Sang Suu Kyi:
It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it... With so close a relationship between fear and corruption it is little wonder that in any society where fear is rife corruption in all forms becomes deeply entrenched.
The posting also references an article in the February edition of Psychology Today that discusses several studies related to temperament in childhood and political orientation in adulthood.
The author of one study came to a noteworthy conclusion:
People have two modes of thought," concludes Solomon. "There's the intuitive gut-level mode, which is what most of us are in most of the time. And then there's a rational analytic mode, which takes effort and attention."
The solution, then, is remarkably simple. The effects of psychological terror on political decision making can be eliminated just by asking people to think rationally. Simply reminding us to use our heads, it turns out, can be enough to make us do it.