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Agreeing to Disagree
To Hug or Not to Hug

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

My neuroanatomy professor told us, "The brain is best thought of as a reducing filter."

Generally we screen out the humming of the refrigerator, the dog barking down the street or the jake brakes sounding distantly on the libramiento.

There is a gate in our brain that stops most perceptions from entering our awareness, the thinking part of our brain, the frontal cortex. The person who stopped to admire the way the sunlight glinted off the fangs of the saber-tooth tiger did not live to pass on his genes.

Our brain every moment of every day is in danger of being overwhelmed... and not only by perceptions. On the other side of this cerebral gate, in the thinking part of our brain, there is also too much going on. Even for the unthoughtful among us, there is just too much to think about.

The brain spends a lot of energy not thinking, trying not to think, reducing the number of thoughts we have. No wonder people get dogmatic, adopt intellectual cliches, refuse to consider other points of view.

Back there in naturopathic medical school, where there was just too much to remember, I became well acquainted with mnemonics, memory aids. One of these, helps me now remember the Big Five personality traits, OCEAN, an acronym of openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

That we have fixed personality traits goes against the utopian belief that we are all blank slates to be psychologically programmed in any direction that Social Justice Warriors or other Marxist authoritarians see fit. Taking but one example, the measure of two of these Big Five traits reliably predict a person's political persuasion: liberals are high in openness, while conservatives are high in conscientiousness.

If a system is working you would want a conservative to be in charge of it, because she will conscientiously keep things the same. Liberals will come along and, open as they are to new possibilities, will want to change things. Traditionally we determine when the established way of doing things must change through free debate. People, including the government of France, worry about the health of American society because, having limited political and even academic debate, we are not allowed to talk about certain things.

"French politicians, high-profile intellectuals and journalists are warning that progressive American ideas — specifically on race, gender, post-colonialism — are undermining their society. 'There’s a battle to wage against an intellectual matrix from American universities,’ warned Mr. Macron’s education minister.

"Emboldened by these comments, prominent intellectuals have banded together against what they regard as contamination by the out-of-control woke leftism of American campuses and its attendant cancel culture."

  - New York Times

If it were only the woke left... but another place where debate is being cancelled is the science of Covid. This week YouTube pulled a video of a discussion between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and four medical experts, Harvard University professor Dr. Martin Kulldorff, Oxford University epidemiologist Dr. Sunetra Gupta, Stanford University physician and epidemiologist Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, and Stanford professor Dr. Scott Atlas, because the experts questioned the efficacy of masks for children.

Now, I'm not siding with or against the opinions of these august medical men, I'm just saying that theirs is a discussion that we should be having.

One of the many problems with pornography is that it turns us off to the real thing. Men who consume pornography are less turned on by sex in the real world.

Commentators have identified what they call Covid porn; the exaggeration of the dangers of the virus. At the height of the pandemic Covid porn was harder to see. Now it is more obvious. Take Dr. Fauci in a recent MSNBC interview:

MSNBC - "Eating and drinking indoors in restaurants and bars. Is that okay now [when someone has been vaccinated]?"
Fauci - "No, it's still not okay..."

The vaccine is effective. Once you're vaccinated you can't get or transmit the virus; the chances are so small. Once you're vaccinated it's not only okay to go to restaurants, it's important to go to restaurants. Staying sequestered is dangerous, for you, for children and for the economy. It's important to return to normalcy. Kids need to go to school, we need to socialize again, restaurants need to run.

I agree that we still need to be careful, but just as with sexual pornography, indulging in Covid porn, biases you against a necessary, healthy interaction with the real world.

A year ago Dr. Fauci suggested Americans should never shake hands again, "never" as in even after the pandemic. Last Friday night Veronica and I had a couple over for Sabbath dinner. He embraced us both. She gave charming hellos, but didn't make physical contact. Counterintuitively research shows that his was the healthier approach: "Being hugged more frequently was associated with a 61% decreased risk of respiratory infection." The immune enhancing effect of human contact, of an embrace, outweighs the risk of not maintaining social distancing.

I admit that I am prejudiced towards an inclusive, more holistic point of view. Focusing in on a single factor allows too much distortion. I like living in a world where hugs are more important than masks, diet is more important than hand sanitizers and free debate, new thoughts are more important than political correctness. Can we still agree to disagree, please?

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Dr David and his merry band believe that the new expanded Lokkal will change the world, city by city.

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