Thursday, January 20, 2011


I'm in the middle of a really good book right now and some of the ideas contained therein have been quietly working their way through my head these past few days. The book itself is a little's basically a layman's study of the science of fear, and it's really not the sort of book that lends itself to light reading when one wants one's brain to cease thinking. It also doesn't have much to do with agriculture, at least directly, although it's easy for me to impose an agricultural viewpoint on the information contained therein.

Without going into long, boring and verbose detail, basically the author believes that a lot of our fear responses come from our primitive brain, which is located just above the top of our spinal cord. The author argues that in terms of fear responses, the human brain is wired to take in visual and other sensory stimuli first. Because of this, the author argues that there is little room for logic in any fear response and because numeracy requires logic, humans are mostly innumerate when operating under a fear response. Whether or not that is true is up for grabs although I got some interesting results when I applied his logic to some of our high dollar governmental solutions to recent societal fear responses.

Although the author didn't go there, I've been thinking and wondering whether true (and unconscious) innumeracy isn't a lot more common than we'd like to believe in American and Canadian society at the beginning of 2011. If innumeracy really is quite common, it'd sure help explain a lot of the dumb decisions we all seem to make when our finances get in the way of our emotions. And if innumeracy isn't common, it'd still be a better excuse than, "Gee I had no idea it'd all turn out that way!"

Hope ya'll are having a great day !


RuckusButt said...

You're funny! As a somewhat related aside - back when I was in undergrad, and therefore was still studying psychology more generally, I recall some research that suggested solving mathematical problems to help alleviate depression. The rationale was much the same as for fear, numeracy and logic aren't compatible with acute depression. I liked that instead of simply finding that depressed people suck at math, they turned it around to make something positive out of it.

So I guess the next time we feel down, or scared, we should try some simple math problems :) Maybe our political leaders should be required to solve a few equations daily...I can just see it.."Sir, it's time to solve for x now."

Jason said...

And if you, Mr. Politician, can't solve for "x" and get the right answer repeatedly, you get zero of our hard earned tax dollars to play with !

God I love easy math !