Thursday, January 30, 2020

No.3 The Divided Brain: The young, the restless, and credit card debt

Before I get into how I think young people are being forced to make decisions they are not ready for I want to continue with Dr. Iain McGilchrist and the structure of the human brain.  I left off last time by pointing out that our brains are divided, that they are asymmetrical, structured to specialize in different functions yet cooperate in all decision making (and all matters of thinking) by constant communication with each other.  But what is the mechanism that both hemispheres of the brain use for this communication? The corpus callosum. This is a weird bundle of 300-800 million neuron fibres that connect between two brain hemispheres and enable chatter back and forth.  But the most peculiar thing about these millions of fibers is that only two percent of them are specifically connecting the two halves of the brain. And even these ones are puzzling to neuroscientists.   


McGilchrist asserts that “the main purpose of a large number of these connections is to inhibit, in other words, to stop the other hemisphere from interfering”. How strange.  Why would one side of the brain want to interfere with the other side? McGilchrist gives the example that of a bird sitting on a tree branch and has spotted a grain of some sort in the rocky terrain below. The bird has used his left brain (other animals have divided brains too) to zero in on the bit of grain. The left brain is structured to be useful in the process of isolating whatever is useful to the beholder. But the left brain doesn’t act on its own.  The left brain is not the boss. The bird’s left brain sends a message to the right brain that food is right there, almost beneath its feet. The right brain demands that the left brain look at the whole picture. So the right brain signals back a caution signal…are there other birds about, friend or foe, both could mean competition for the grain, and even put the bird’s life in danger. The right brain is responsible for being able to present to the left brain the connections between a desired outcome of an action and the possible consequences. After careful surveillance, and reporting the results to the right hemisphere, the bird’s right brain signals back permission to act and the bird gets the grain without difficulty. The right brain is the boss. Or used to be.


Since the scientific revolution the left hemisphere has become very adept at ignoring the caution signals given out by the right side of the human brain.  Increasingly, as science has sought to understand nature, the necessity has arisen that even microbiota cells, in order to be studied must be isolated from their environments. Everything begins to seem to the left brain to stand alone, all by itself. No connections. No back ground checks necessary. 


Advertising and PR agencies that work for industry (including the war industries), along with government and banking have diligently studied how most human brains work and how to exploit that.  Especially anything connected with the banking and financial system. Especially credit card companies. 


Many credit card holders have recently been given a gift from their companies. A poisonous gift. Proactive credit line increases (PCLIS) happens when your credit card company increases your credit card limit without you asking for it.  They just do it automatically. And guess what?  Credit card loans are now more profitable than any other type of loan for the banks. The US banks made $179 billion on credit card fees in 2019.  Much of this was made off the backs of  young people and people already overburdened by debt and will likely miss payments which lead to high penalties (sometimes as high as 20 per cent). 


The bankers who perpetuate this scheme have no shame and have shrivelled their right brains to tiny grains of sand. They don’t give a tinker’s damn about what financial and banking practices are doing to people, or the environment or even their own future security, only their immediate self-gratification. But how does anyone, including bankers, so discard the right brain that they become impervious to anything except their own short-term gain?  


Next time.


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