Oct. 2nd, 2015

Today a sheriff at a press conference reminded us to embargo the name of the latest gunman-of-the-month. Identifying him provides the attention he was after, and motivates someone else to do the same for fame. Your antagonism is the reward they seek.

At that moment, I realized there are some who I used to be close to in my communities, who I now only think about when dozens of people are murdered. Tragically-frequent repetition has trained me to make one main connection in my memory with some of my former loved ones: the massacre of someone else's loved ones.

Maybe the argument we get into after each massacre feeds a cycle of emotional reward. Both parties in the argument feel proud to stand up for something they believe in. Hate twists us up the inside, and it's not healthy, but all hate is based on love; on virtue. It produces a jolt of brain chemicals which your brain will interpret as a reward. The conversation is polarizing because it makes the participants feel good about themselves. Your position will become more extreme in order to regain the burst of addictive chemicals.

So will theirs. You can see your opponent posturing in a display, like a bird puffs out its feathers, to defend their self-image. In that case, are you counter-productive when you engage in an argument? An argument is a perfect opportunity for a display.

November 2016

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