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Showing posts from November, 2008

The Ordained Imagination Catastrophizer

A recent book by Barbara Oakley titled Evil Genes tried to work out the details of how innate genetic information can make someone psychotic, or, as the politically correct crowd would have us instead say, "exhibit antisocial personality behavior." She takes great pains to describe the characteristics of individuals who frequently through history have made their way into high level political positions--you know, the Hitlers and Maos and the rest of 'em-- and wonders how such people can position themselves to be so shamelessly Machiavellian, or as she calls it, "successfully sinister." What a harrowing term. Successfully sinister . How can you be that sinister and that successful at the same time? Naturally this conundrum possessed Oakley to look into it a bit, as many have through the ages -- I mean, wow, it does happen so often. While her thinking is engaging, she doesn't offer much beyond lots of anecdotes and neuroscientific jargon. Few seem to see