In an utterly baffling world it’s hard enough to construct a meaningful sentence let alone an entire blog post but anyway, here’s my attempt.
Today I found myself presented with a moment of stark contrast and uncanny coincidence. As I bumbled my way through my weekend routine I found myself watching an online recording of a lecture on aggression by the wonderfully enlightening Robert Sapolsky*. In a world abundant in inane distractions it’s nice to sift through all the entertainment and find something which provokes meaningful thought once in a while; especially when it’s being presented by a bespectacled man with a beard that could contend with Zeus.
So here’s where the contrast comes in. After receiving my illuminating dose of brain nourishment I stumbled across a headline on my Facebook trending box informing me that Mike Pence the current US Vice President was paying a visit to Sydney. Now I’m all for building international relations, but after a quick Wikipedia search filled me in a little on the background of Pence, it wasn’t long until those stress hormones I had just learnt about started to flood out from my amygdala and coarse through my bloodstream.
What set off my cerebrum was this; Mike Pence is an undoubtably influential man and a man chosen to lead, but he is also a man who has shown an aversion to the LGBT community. I had just learnt from my youtube mentor that homosexuality was infact an entirely natural predisposed element of human behaviour and so those two facts now uncomfortably coexisted in my prefrontal cortex. But it wasn’t only this; on this same day, less than an hour before I started my Wikipedia trundle, I was informed that the abortions which Pence has been fighting against throughout his career have actually led to a sizeable reduction in crime across US cities, enough to cause a noticeable decrease in the rate of all national crimes in the US.
So there we have it, two diametrically opposed titans, one of intellect and one of power, both of them unwittingly surfacing to my attention in a matter of hours, and as so often happens my pursuit for knowledge has done the classic 180 and left me with more questions that answers. Namely:
Why are some of our most influential leaders attempting to silence perfectly normal members of our societies, isn’t the point of a government to improve society for everyone?
How has it come to be that there is such an intellectual chasm between our teachers and our leaders and how can we allow such ill informed people have access to helm?
And lastly, what can we do as a global community to help bridge the gap between these misinformed ideologies and the naked truth?
*The lecture was a part of a series on Behavioural Biology which I’ve gradually been working my way through over the last few months. The entire series has generously been uploaded to Youtube by Stanford University and is available to watch for free. I have to say that so far it’s been nothing short of an enthralling journey and I’d highly recommend it to anyone with even an ounce of interest in human behaviour.