Monday, November 5, 2012

Political Consequences of Not Balancing Impulse Thinking and Deliberative Thinking

The next few posts will build on my post of a few days ago: We have, to me, reached an imbalance and a need to shift in our use of smart phones, iPads, Twitter, Tumblr and that kind of technology. These things have, as John J. Pitney Jr. wrote in the 10/15 Christian Science Monitor, “increased the speed and reach of communications…so that almost as soon as a thought enters your mind you can send it everywhere. Twitter-like thinking—the kind that relies on quick intuition and impulse—can work well when we’re playing sports, for instance.


“[But] public life is different.  Impulse reacting draws on stereotypes and mental shortcuts that can mislead us when we apply them to political questions. It is better to [shift to] a more deliberative and reasoned approach, thinking things through and seeking additional information.


“A shrill feedback cycle is at work: hasty reactions to hasty reactions to hasty reactions.


“Without clearance from the State Department, a diplomat in Egypt rushes to tweet about an anti-Islam YouTube video. The Romney campaign rushes to attack the tweet. The Obama campaign rushes to criticize the Romney attack. Journalists rush to weigh the political consequences of the campaign exchange. For days, meanwhile, serious questions about terrorism and embassy security get too little attention.


“Political polarization heats up when discourse moves faster than the speed of rational thought.”

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