Friday, 19 September 2008

Political views, brains and bodies

This is interesting (nicked from Paulie). So if you buy that political views have a basis in visceral reactions, and that conceptual metaphors are grounded in physical experiences, Lakoff's idea that Lefties and Righties have fundamentally different metaphors in respect of politics makes sense. The key question is to what extent are our reactions innate, and to what extent learned.

I've just finished reading Descartes' Error by Antonio Damasio which covers some of this stuff. Complicated area obviously as we have different brain systems dealing with different factors (and Damasio's key point is that it's fundamentally enmeshed with the body). He does suggest that whilst we are born with a lot already in place, our emotions and feelings (which he distinquishes between) affect the development of other reactions. So in effect we are a 'work in progress' until we die. That makes me think a) that political views can be altered and b) a significant visceral experience might be expected to have a big impact on views. Liberals who get mugged are one example, but equally the shared endeavour of WWII shaped politics for decades afterwards.

Ho hum.

1 comment:

Gregg said...

Come to think of it, most of the right-wingers I know refuse to watch horror films, while fellow lefties are either indifferent (don't mind if it's a horror, as long as it's watchable in itself), or avid horror fans like me.