If you spend time in the Middle East, you spend time around a group of humans who have thought more about how Fundamentalism works than probably any group of humans on the planet. There are scientists involved in that work like Scott Atran. But a lot of it is just Muslims going around and trying to figure out a playbook for making sense of why young men get sucked into such a divisive ideology.
And here’s what you learn. There’s a spectrum. There is a spectrum of radicalization from people like my dad’s boss who is cripplingly reasonable to the most Fundamentalist Imam who is not willing to allow for the possibility of any culture other than his own existing.
It’s important to realize that I said cripplingly reasonable for a reason. My dad’s boss is open-minded and so committed to constantly examining the issues that he never closes his mind.
But isn’t closing your mind bad?!?
Ah, Mixed Mental Artists. Closing your mind is what making a decision is about.
And if you look at the etymology of the word decision, you’ll realize the Romans understood this. Decidere is to cut off. You are cutting off options. You are eliminating possibilities. You are deciding between two things. You can say the dangers of either being too decisive or not decisive enough by comparing the American Democratic and the American Republican parties. George W. Bush was a decider. John Kerry was a flip flopper.
Oh, look! They both have an American flag behind them. And yet, they have different behavior. Both of which lead to a dysfunctional society! And that’s just like what happens in the Arab world. There are deciders and those are Fundamentalists. They don’t sort through the evidence in a reasonable fashion. And there are flip floppers. And no matter how much evidence piles up they never make up their mind to make a decision and hash out their differences.
And that’s exactly what happens in science. Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are deciders. They made up their minds in the 70s about evolution and rationality. They’re just like George W. Bush. Jon Haidt and David Sloan Wilson are flip floppers. Because that’s what scientists are supposed to be. They’re always supposed to be reasonable and open. But what do you do when you have this big famous people who claim to be representing science and won’t let go of power? Even though they tell Arabs they should change their minds in light of the evidence, they don’t practice what they preach. Well, you have to force them into a public confrontation. And part of how you do that is by having a teacher make things so accessible that now there’s a controversy that 30 million MMA fans can track. And the more you #TeachTheControversy the more you #CreateTheControversy and the more you #CreateTheControversy the more you can #TeachTheControversy because now you’re drawing attention. And you throw in a little shit talking because that’s part of what makes MMA fun.
The more shit is talked. The more fun the showdown is in the ring. There’s more excitement and anticipation.
And so, when Mixed Mental Arts takes Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris’ belt we’ll have real social power and we’ll have shown how you take out bad ideas. We will have pioneered a whole new form of intellectual combat. And that will be big news and that will really grab the attention of the world. 30 million, pot smoking, MMA loving, Butt Parrots just did an intellectual down Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Two guys with all the fanciest degrees in the world taken down by a bunch of guys who just fucked around with books. What the fuck does that mean about a University education? I’ll tell you what it means.
So, let’s do this. The intellectual cage match is on. The extreme reasonableness of decent men allows fundamentalists to flourish. If we can troll the trolls and put their ideas out of business, then we can deradicalize all of humanity and that is the goal of Mixed Mental Arts.
Sometimes you should be open minded. And sometimes you should close your mind and make a decision. The extremes of flip flopping and being a decider are both foolish. Wisdom emerges from between.
God grant me the strength to keep an open mind to new possibilities
The courage to close my mind and make a decision to fight foolishness with comedy
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Dr. Dealgood: Listen all! This is the truth of it. Fighting leads to killing, and killing gets to warring. And 2016 was damn near the death of us all. Look at us now! Busted up, and everyone talking about hard rain! But we’ve learned, by the dust of them all… Mixed Mental Artists learned widely. Now, when ideas get to fighting, it happens here! And it finishes here! Two ideas enter; one idea leaves.
Idea dying time is here! The New Atheists love to declare Mission Accomplished and they’re going to disrupt all religion. What kind of derps would cut us off from all the wisdom of the past? Fundamentalist deciders. That’s who.
Not so fast, jug ears. Truth is…Sam Harris is the Derek Zoolander of intellectuals.
What a pretty face and what pretty little thoughts in his head. Pity reality is such a bitch. And that sometimes cultural evolution throws up new kinds of thinking that destroy yours. Little Toto is starting to get savage. He’s getting to be a rabid little doggie. Maybe that’s because he and about 30 million MMA smell the flesh of an intellectual pretty boy.
He and Richard Dawkins have been in a gasoline fight of words.
And, now, it’s time for the intellectual big boys to stop in before we end up in a “freak gasoline fight accident.”
Do role models help people? Some do. And some just want to feeeeeeeel like they’re one of the good guys without doing the hard emotional work and self-reflection needed to align their feelings with reality.
2016 was a shit show because we have a lot of the wrong role models. Time for a changing of the guard. There’s comedy potential in all these posts guys. Have fun with them #MakeMemesNotWar.