Dr Rachel talks about her observations on why the environment is encouraging a lack of critical thought and encouraging more stupidity.
In this episode, listen to a considered argument on why there is a pandemic of stupid right now, why many are full of fear and anxiety for the wrong reason and what everyone really should be fearful of. A trip around fear, uncertainty and doubt plus why we all need to realise what is a marketing campaign and what is the truth.
Key Insights From This Episode:
- I see a sincere lack of critical thinking around me all the time at the moment.
- We continually are marketed and convinced that we need temporary distractions from the pain that’s targeted with our limbic system.
- The majority of the time we make a decision unconsciously, and then we build a conscious argument to support that decision. Or we just act on the decision without even being aware of what’s happening.
- Our brains are being conditioned into quick hit dopamine where we are dependent on how many people like what we say, how many people respond to our posts, how many people acknowledge our existence.
- We are being manipulated into having opinions, into seeing information, into basing our worth and what other people
About Our Host
Dr Rachel Taylor
Dr Rachel Taylor is a neuroscientist with decades of experience exploring, discovering and solving everyday challenges faced by many, as well as listening to and telling the stories of people she comes across in her endeavour to show difference is good, trauma is endemic and joy is connection. She started UnBroken as she wanted to highlight that the system is broken not people and uses the UnBroken podcast to share her learnings, honest conversations and words of wisdom with the UnBroken Tribe of listener.
UnBroken is founded upon the belief that the environment in which we were born, grew in, live in, work in, play in and rest in has a huge impact on how well we believe we are and how well we perform. Wellbeing and optimal human performance are not simply about the absence of disease, they are about the ability to live purposefully, intentionally, joyfully and freely.
UnBroken provides a range of supportive online resources including a podcast, blog, apothecary and monthly online membership for people who dare to be different, are open to possibilities and want a different pathway to their own version of success.
Dr Rachel: Welcome everybody to the Unbroken Podcast.
And today I am very excited and going to be very passionate talking about what I can see all around me and have experienced, and it continues to go on like this – the actual real pandemic of the moment, the pandemic of stupid.
And I was really thinking about how to term it. I don’t want to inspire haters. I don’t want to make everybody feel bad. I don’t want to actually alienate people from the Unbroken Podcast, but really, I want to start actually getting people to think, because I see a sincere lack of critical thinking around me all the time at the moment.
What I do see, people actually behaving, making decisions or their actions coming completely from the limbic system, which is our emotional center. I don’t see much decision making that’s actually being made by our prefrontal cortex, our neocortex, which is what makes us human. The ability to have clarity, the ability to stop, pause and think. I see a lot of actions, behavior, habitual stuff that is basically being driven by an emotional reaction to everything that’s going on around us. So let’s just think about that.
Everybody thinks that they’re in control of themselves, that you are in control. Your sense of self, you’re an amazingly capable, highly developed, conscious thinking human being. You think that you are in control and it’s time to sort of stop and wake up to the fact that you are not in control of you as much as you think that you are in control of you. And I’ve noticed that people don’t like this kind of talk that I’m doing now, it’s an inconvenient truth.
Who wants to think that they’re not in control of themselves? Who wants to think that the decisions that they’re making are actually not coming from ourselves, but coming from nudges from within the environment that’s feeding straight into your limbic system and making you behave in a certain way.
We all want to think of ourselves as in control of our decision making, our behavior. We believe that we think, and that’s what we think. We think that we think, and then do something from the back of that. And sometimes we do that. But a very small minority of the time we do that, and I think it’s gotten less and less and less, particularly over the past 18 months.
The majority of the time we make a decision unconsciously, and then we build a conscious argument to support that decision, or we just act on the decision without even being aware of what’s happening. It’s really interesting to just think about that. So most of the time you make a decision and then you try and justify that decision afterwards, or you make a decision and don’t even realize the decision and just do it anyway. Just think about that and think about what that means.
It’s really interesting to see some of the behaviour that’s going around. Let me just talk to you about the limbic system. Look at the messaging that’s around, it’s all emotional messaging. Look at the marketing. Look at advertising. You’ve heard me talk before on the Unbroken Podcast, both by myself and with guests, around the whole messaging around pain and how we can take that pain away. And let’s just know this, that it’s only a very temporary taking away of the pain. Nothing ever deals with the problem.
So we continually are marketed and convinced that we need temporary distractions from the pain that’s targeted with our limbic system. You heard me speak about the amygdala before. It’s an almond shaped part of the limbic system. I talk about it often because this part of our brain is responsible for so many responses and reactions. Its purpose is to keep us safe. His purpose is to prevent loss. His purpose is to prevent harm. When we are continually assaulted, because that’s what it is. We’re assaulted all the time with fear, uncertainty, and anxiety messaging. Our Amygdala is going to be on high alert. Just think about that. It’s going to be screaming all the time about what could harm us, what could bring some loss into our lives, what could kill us.
We’re not going to be making many rational decisions when we’re actually screening through that. And more than that, we are generally moving in the direction of an inability to focus, an inability to concentrate. Our brains are being conditioned into quick hit dopamine where we are dependent on how many people like what we say, how many people respond to our posts, how many people acknowledge our existence. As a human being we base our value on our value within our tribe, our community, our family, our organisation. We have gone on such a slippery slope with social media, where we base our value on how many people like our picture, how many people like our comments, how many people respond to what we’ve said.
There’s really interesting studies and research about how this is really affecting younger people who have grown up in this new age, of how you get attention, where you put your attention. I’m starting to really detest the influence and the manipulation of social media, and they don’t do things behind closed doors. It’s all out there. There’s been enough whistleblowing, films, documentaries, articles, people who have worked within the industry who have come out and talked about it and said, “this is what we are doing. This is how we can manipulate your mind. This is how we know we can get you to respond.” People are making money from you from that. And yet people are still using these platforms. And this is really interesting to me.
We are indulging in behaviour that is ultimately making us sick. It’s ultimately dumbing us down. We are being manipulated into having opinions, into seeing information, into basing our worth and what other people think of us in the online setting. If that’s not stupid, I don’t know what is.
We have to be really careful about what we’re doing. We need to be really careful about the examples that we’re setting for the people around us. I personally disengage from any kind of social media from August 2020, which isn’t that long ago. We’re now talking, we’re practically on the cusp of 2022. I have not missed it in the slightest. I have not actually bothered about engaging. I will not use anything that has anything to do with the Zuckerberg Empire. And that goes from anything from the messaging services, WhatsApp, messenger to Facebook to Instagram. I find it all sickening. How people are manipulated, how people are comparing themselves with false images, how they allow misinformation from both sides of the fence, how they allow advertising that actually is harmful, how they allow anything that can actually harm human beings.
Now, technology is really interesting because it’s a tool, much like fire. If we use it in the best way for us, it’s really helpful. When we allow it to rule us, it’s not helpful. So I’m urging you right now, just be aware of what you are exposing yourself to because your limbic system is being ruled by that emotional barrage that we’re getting. Our body, our nervous system. Our brain responds to the stimuli that is in our environment. This is what Unbroken’s about. You are feeling less, than you are feeling different to everybody else. You are feeling like you’re not good enough. Look at your environment. Look at what you’re exposing yourself to. What are you seeing on a daily basis? What are you hearing on a daily basis? What kind of nutrition are you putting in your bodies? We need to stop indulging ourselves just because a marketer and advertiser paints this beautiful picture of these glamorous people who are using this product. It doesn’t mean that you will become part of that gang.
Let’s be real about this. And let’s look at some of the scientific empirical evidence. We’ve been told for the past 18 months. We’re following the science, particularly in the pandemic. Let’s see what the science says around how the brain responds and how they use that marketing.
So there’s this experiment. There’s a picture of a guy, and there’s two groups who are looking at the picture of a guy. One group is holding a warm cup of coffee. One group is holding a cold drink. The group that is holding a warm cup of coffee, when asked to describe the image that they were seeing, what kind of person that person is in the image, described this person in warm tones. They’re actually thinking kindly about him. They’re thinking more positively about this person because they’re holding a warm cup of coffee.
So just think about what’s happening in the brain there. The people who have a cold drink are not as favorable. They’re not as positive. This is really important for you to get your heads around this. When something is making us feel warm, it’s making us feel protected, it’s making us feel like we matter – we’re going to respond differently to it. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.
Let’s not be stupid anymore. Let’s bring back critical thinking. Let’s bring back the ability to explore the whys, the hows and what does this mean? Let’s stop responding from our reptilian brain. That basic survival. Is this going to kill us? Is this going to harm us? Let’s stop responding from that emotional center. Where “how am I going to feel about this?” There was a really interesting paper that I read last week, sort of a discussion about artificial intelligence, that in the future, the artificial intelligence is going to do our thinking for us. And we’re going to do the feeling. And to be honest, even though a lot of what I do is wrapped up around emotion, we’re getting our emotions out a little bit too much. They are rampant and we’re not using them in the right way, allowing it to override everything.
When I think about the messaging and the trends that go on, I get on my soapbox a lot about the ‘be kind’ movement. And when I see some of the images, some of what happens with that, I’m not entirely convinced that people are being kind in the truest sense. I think they’re indulging their need to be seen. They’re indulging their need to be validated. They want to be told that they’re being kind. Is that kindness? No, that’s indulging. I really hope that the be kind movement was set in foundations of steel, that they wanted to make a difference. But it’s been hijacked. I don’t see anybody stepping in and stopping that hijack.
Let’s look at some of the other really important social movements that are going on and how it’s popular for a couple of months. Everybody jumps on the bandwagon and they want to be seen to be doing the right thing, saying the right thing. But how long does that last before they lose focus, before they lose concentration and the next big thing comes along.
Let’s look at those people. Those people who are banging the drum about Black Lives Matter. Women should be safe at night. We need to be kind. We need to safeguard all our mental health. They’re the same people who are queuing up for a kilometer and more to fill their cars up with fuel. Even though they’ve been told that there is not a fuel shortage by the government, they will still be in that queue and they will ensure it’s a self fulfilling prophecy that there will be a fuel shortage because of their emotional responses to it. This is a pandemic of stupid.
As you know, as you can hear, I am so passionate about this and I don’t want to vilify people. I don’t want to make people feel that they are stupid. I want people to just start to think. Just stop and think about what you’re doing, think about what you’re saying. Think about the harm that you are doing by exposing yourself to all the falseness around. What are you comparing yourself with? With a filtered image. With a snapshot in time that doesn’t cover the rest of that person’s life. With information that is being targeted to you because of the algorithm that’s building up what kind of person you are.
Stop being the product. Stop indulging yourself in services that literally are there to siphon off the best of you. Just stop it. Stop being stupid. Be a human being. Utilize your emotional world for good. Stop reacting, start responding. I spent a whole lot of energy, which was wasted energy because I was desperate for people to know that I wasn’t as stupid as they were. And this is a true story. This is such a true story. It was exhausting me. I was sending strongly worded letters to my MPs. What is going on, what are you allowing to happen? I was sending strongly worded letters to organisations that I’ve used. I was sending strongly worded letters to public sector departments that I have to use. Stop. Just stop.
Because it’s enough to say, and this comes straight from my heart, it’s enough to say I’m just not like you. We don’t have to indulge ourselves, like I was doing, in trying to prove we’re not stupid. It’s enough for us to know that we’re not. And we know this because we’re having critical thought processes. We’re stopping and able to respond, not react. We can see through the marketing ploys. We can see through the messaging. We know it’s targeted our limbic system. So. Okay. Thank you for the reminder that when I go out the house, I might be under a barrage of harmful influences. But you know what, everybody? The most harmful influences are affecting you while you’re sat in your own front rooms. Every time you pick up your phone to scroll. Every time you watch the mainstream media. Every time you listen to messaging that is just there to make you comply with the most heinous of instructions. Every time that you think your way out of pain is just to deal with the symptoms of it. You are doing the most harm to yourself by indulging in this behavior.
So I’m going to get off my soapbox, and I hope I’ve not alienated too many of you, but I think it’s a really important message. Who’s joining me in actually speaking out against the pandemic of stupid? And what are we going to turn it into? Let’s turn it into the movement of thinking. The movement of critical thought. The movement of responding, not reacting. The movement where we can all just stand there in our own strength, in our own autonomy, in our own power, saying, I’m just not like you.
Thank you for listening to the Unbroken Podcast. And as ever, please give us a five star recommendation. Put any comments below and please tell two people who you know would benefit from the messaging that’s within Unbroken. And remember, when you’re dealing with Unbroken, you are never the product. Unbroken is a service for you. We are here to help you to live the life that you want and for you to realise just how unbroken you are. You will never be the product. You will never be harvested for your data. You will never, ever be analyzed. From what I can get from you. You can get things from Unbroken. Just remember that.
Hi, everybody. This is your 60 second recap of today’s episode of the Unbroken Podcast. The Pandemic of Stupid.
The key things I want you to remember from today is that we are all responding more and more from our emotional centre, our limbic system in the brain, which basically is inspiring really stupid behavior, and really thoughtless behavior. And behavior that’s not really the most human of behaviors.
So I want you to just stop exposing yourself to harmful stimuli, which is everything from constant social media, mainstream media, listening to messaging that’s targeted to make you feel fearful for your life, fearful for loss, and a way to start just thinking, inspiring some critical thought into your everyday experience.
And I want you to all join me. And it’s okay to be you, and just say when we see all elements of stupid, let’s not join in with it. Let’s just say to ourselves, “I’m just not like you”. So that’s your quick recap of today’s episode. And as ever, please do give me a five star recommendation. Place any comments below or subscribe. And remember, the call to action from Unbroken is always this: tell two people just two people who you feel would benefit from being Unbroken. So that’s all for today, everybody. And I hope to see you all again soon.