Holes in Our Heads
We’ve all noticed that our leftist fellow-Americans have ceased to make sense. We’ve figured out that they’ve descended into redundant, irrational name-calling because they’ve lost the thread of their argument -– if there ever was one. But lately, due to several articles I’ve run across, I’m beginning to suspect that some actual, physical brain anomalies may be in play here. I’m not being sarcastic.
In a recent study done in Great Britain, using a half million participants, scientists discovered that people who suffer from depression show changes in the white matter of the brain – that part that is key to communication. Since depression has reached epidemic proportions, this seems important. A study done by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance discovered that the hippocampi of the brains of depressive individuals appear to have shrunk. An article in Science Daily reported on a study of casual marijuana users that showed a noticeable difference in the shape, size, and density of the reward centers of the brain –- affecting motivation –- and of the amygdala -– the emotional center of the brain. In fact, a study done at the University of Michigan showed that experience, psychoactive drugs, sex hormones, and dietary factors affected the shape of the brain. Not the mind, the brain.
I could go on and on. Recent technology is allowing us to see the brains of living people, to watch them work, so we can now start to ask some very important questions. The questions that come to my mind center around the leftist brain. It seems the more obvious it is that collectivist ideas are all vacant and useless –- whether we’re watching the Venezuelans forced to eat rabbits, looking at the abject failure of the War on Poverty and its dissolution of the nuclear family, or at the Muslim destruction of European culture -– the more adamant and angry socialists become. They seem utterly unable to walk away from demonstrably false concepts. Why is that?
We can show them the climate change data and the numerous times that data has been falsified, and what do we get? A stare as blank as a petit-mal seizure. We can whip out the statistics on the starvation factor in North Korea and the same thing happens –- no contact made. I’ve been amazed listening to the protestors in St. Louis. They appear to have no ability to question the presuppositions they had before the trial, nor do they have even a glimmer of the absurdity of their preference for justice-by-mob. Here are streets filled with black people demanding the right to lynch their fellow man, yet I see no flicker of irony on any of the faces.
The same was true of the protestors in Berkeley. No grasp at all of the silliness of demanding the right to express their ideas by denying another person’s right to express his. No inkling of the contradictory nature of their stance -– i.e. that committing violence is free speech, but that free speech, when it is actually speech, is not. Not free, not allowed, not appreciated. These are supposedly intelligent, expensively educated people.
How can a normal brain function like that? How did we get to the point where people, instead of arguing logically against policies and positions, prefer to promote the assassination of a sitting president, burn American flags, or think that tearing down statues will somehow fix society? That’s not just a difference of opinion; it’s medical pathology.
There was a time when most of us saw mental disease as a disability of the mind, the immaterial self, but I’m beginning to believe that it may also be physical. Can one think untruth day after day, year after year and expect it to not affect one’s brain? We recognize that daily indulging in chocolate milkshakes will affect our waistlines; is it so far-fetched then to wonder what a constant intake of anger will do to the cerebral cortex? Will a steady diet of lies eat actual holes in the grey matter? Any attempt I make to converse with leftists always leaves me scratching my head –- the wiring just seems to be off.
Is it wise to assume that we can live in anger and bitterness for months and months and not have it twist our brain’s chemistry? No affect to the delicate cell structures? Can we routinely ingest drugs –- prescribed or purchased on a street corner -– and expect the synapses to go off when they should? I mean, if I put water in the gas tank will the engine run?
And if we have actually changed our brains, can we change them back? Is the plasticity of the brain that flexible?
I think of the stanza from Frost’s "The Road Not Taken" –
“And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day,
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back."
Can we come back? Or have we “educated” the last two generations into serious, permanent, mental disabilities? Have people developed eating habits, pharmaceutical practices, thinking propensities, that have distorted their brains to point where they really can’t see the logic, can’t process any factual information that doesn’t already fit the rigid shape their brains are locked into?
I believe it is possible to reshape a crooked brain. I believe that’s what the Bible means when it says that those who believe are “new creatures in Christ.” It takes time for an abused brain to recover, time and a steady, hefty diet of biblical thinking, but I’m living proof it can happen and I’ve seen it happen to many, many others. But, I’ve also seen many who keep on keeping on with those things that are ruining whatever brains they have left.
You know those scenes in old movies where the heroine has thrown herself into a hysterical hissy-fit and a more level-headed character has to slap her across the face to bring her back to sanity? That’s a good metaphor for America today. Too many American brains have gotten warped, misshapen, and hysterical for the nation to function. I suspect that these Western wildfires, the two hurricanes, and whatever disasters happen next are Providence giving us a collective slap across our arrogant faces in hopes that we’ll snap out of it long enough to start rebuilding whatever remains of our national psyche, of the American soul. There is much work to do, much healing to happen, much prayer needed. God help us.
Deana Chadwell is an adjunct professor and department head at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. She teaches writing and public speaking.