Blogging, Red Meat, and Happy Thoughts

Couldn’t pass up the opportunity…

Thanks to Instapundit, we follow a link to Creating Passionate Viewers, a blog dedicated to stuff about the brain, neuroscience, and how we use that grey mass.

One of the writers for this group blog, Kathy Sierra, has an entry about how “Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain”, and it’s well worth reading. Her points–far more succinctly, and therefore oversimplified than she would put it–are that

    1) We learn bad behavior from watching bad behavior;
    2) Anger and resentment are contagious;
    3) Happy people are both healthier and think more clearly.

These make excellent reasons for anyone to avoid delving into the cess pits that comprise some blogs and blog comment threads. It sure as hell describe why I try to avoid certain ones… they really screw up the brain!

It’s not a matter of avoiding contrary opinion. I subscribe to magazines that promote views 180° out of synch with my own. That’s because I think it necessary to understand what the arguments against what I believe are. There’s nothing in my constitution that says I can’t change my mind; there’s certainly nothing there that says I can’t be wrong. But I do have a constitutional aversion to knowing I think something wrong and still not changing my mind about it.

The vast amounts of heat that represent the flame-thrower blogs and their no-quarter comments shed remarkably little light.

I’m very fair complected and tend to stay out of strong sunlight because I burn so quickly. But I’d rather have the light of rational argument sear my brain than have it simply crisped by bad language, bad grammar, and bad logic. The heat and passion with which an argument is made don’t equate with good argument. They can sometimes be amusing, but few writers–on blogs or in the MSM–are talented enough to pull that off reliably. Sometimes, indeed, they can be right. Usually, though, it’s just crispy critters for the non-believers. Bambi wouldn’t approve…

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John Burgess
About John Burgess
John Burgess retired after 25 years as a US Foreign Service Officer, serving predominantly in the Middle East. He contributed 35 pieces to OTB between February 2006 and April 2014. He was the proprietor of the influential Crossroads Arabia until his death in February 2016.