Changing your future #3Hit

Posted on December 5, 2011


Chris Hitchens

Obviously, some futures are easier to change than others.

You  can be pretty sure that if you kick a rock with your bare toes it’s going to hurt now, the next time…. every time as long as you live. Unless of course  you have a neurological nerve damage or  for some strange reason you  inject your toes with Novocaine. That potentially painfull future ia highly predicble unnless you construct a wall against pain in your toes, or in your brain.

But your future is filled with stuff a lot softer or permeable than rocks – for instance yours and other people’s opinions and feelings. You hear people say “I’ve changed my mind”, or “I feel differently about that.” That can happen just with the passage of time – you cool off.

But some mind/brain walls – some feelings and opinions – are pretty tough to change, for instance the way you feel about a particular person, or some political or religious opinions. For example the radical atheists – Chris Hitchens (dying from cancer) and Richard Dawkins (the vitriolic Professor) will likely be athiests as long as they live. It will take Heaven or Hell to change their futures in this regard! But Hitchens even when imbibing is a formidable force – has a big heart and mind! Recall that Freud said that religion was was the opiate of the massess – did Hitch replace religion with booze and nicotine? Look carefully and you’ll discover that most of us have mind/brain walls that tidy up or declaw uncertain, or overwhelming or scary futures – ‘opiates’ of one kind or another. If not booze and drugs then emotionally anchored certainties – like Dawkin’s blind belief in science.

The super rationalists like Hitchens and Dawkins are peddling rationality as the way to manage the uncertain future, and yet Nobel Prize winning scientists (eg. Herb Simon and Danny Kahneman) claim we don’ t have as much rationality  as we think, that we must depend on bias and mental short cuts to make sense of our experience. So before dumping religion we might wonder why Hitch didn’t see his booze, and Dawkins his angry arrogance and worship of science  as mind shirnking opiates ???

Posted in: Sciencing