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From the pandemic to the election, this past year has seen our country go wild in taking sides to fight those with different belief systems. But who exactly are these others, these faceless ‘they’ that are supposedly driven to undermine everything one stands for? The answer has to do with herd mentality, which has become a driving force for hate over the past few years. In this podcast episode, Dr. and Tana Amen discuss the problems with herd mentality, why technology and social media may be partly to blame, and how to identity others for who they really are.
For more info on Dr. Daniel Amen’s new book, “Your Brain is Always Listening”, visit https://yourbrainisalwayslistening.com/
Daniel Amen, MD:
Welcome to The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years, using tools like brain SPECT imaging, to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
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Welcome back. We’ve been talking about they, them, and other dragons, and we only have one more to go. Actually, we have two more to go. Today, we’re going to talk about society dragons.
This is what just made you crazy-
… during the pandemic, and it’s the, they dragons. And in the book, there’s a dozen baseless dragons. It’s what we think they think about us, or they think we should think about, when there really is no they.
No, this is the, they that my mother always calls me. “Oh, they said this is what we have to do. They said, “The world is ending.” They said… This is why I don’t watch the news. It’s they. It’s they are the reason.
There’s a herd mentality and that’s why if you go to most news sites, USA Today or The New York Times or CNN or Fox, they’re basically covering the same things, which is they are deciding what’s important to us.
Right. Maybe this is going to sound really cynical and people are going to get mad, but I liked the one thing that you mentioned a long time ago, and I actually have raised my daughter, and now our nieces with this idea that the masses are kind of the asses, you have to think for yourself-
Tana, did you say that?
Yes. I did.
Do you know where I first heard that?
In my philosophy class at Vanguard University.
Well I like it.
Professor Murray Dempster, he’s my favorite professor, loved him. And he said, “If you just pay attention to group think-”
Group think, I don’t like it.
The masses are the asses.
Right. Because what happens is-
And this was at a it a Christian school, so those of you that are like, “Oh, they said a bad word.”
No, people jump on the bandwagon with one thought. And I saw this so much during all the crazy political societal stuff and I didn’t see it with one side, let’s be clear. So you saw one side go to one extreme, and then I saw the other side go to the other extreme. And I was just like, “What is happening right now?” It’s so toxic when people can’t think for themselves. You really need to step back and think for yourself, do your own research. And I’ve always told the kids this, whenever they come to me and they’re like, “Oh my gosh. Did you see what’s going on right now?” And I’m like, “How do you know that’s true? Chances are it’s not true. Bring me the research. Tell me why you think what you’re thinking. I want to know the why behind it, who is actually saying it, what’s your source.”
I think now more than ever, there is so much misinformation about the pandemic and about the societal unrest and politics.
And people have more tools than ever to be able to make it look real.
So when someone says to you, they, what should your response be?
Who is they?
Who are they?
Who are they, is what I say to my mom. Who are they? Who are these people you’re talking about?
And how does it fit with who you are and what your values are? It’s so important to define them.
Right, and that’s the next thing I’ll often say to my mom is, “Why does this matter? How is this going to change my day or your day? Or how is this going to change the world? Why does this matter right now?”
And as we all often say, where you bring your attention, determines how you feel. And I’ve just hated the political divide and I’ve never seen it impact my patients as much during this last election on both sides-
On both sides.
… that if you didn’t believe as the other person believes-
Then you’re not trustworthy.
… then they would automatically diminish you and it was heartbreaking-
Oh no, they were just like, “I can’t be your friend anymore.” “Okay.”
Yes, there’ll be a special place in hell for you.
Yes. How many times I’ve heard that from people on both sides. “There will be a special place in hell if you don’t blah, blah, blah.” It’s like, “Okay, well…”
And we purposefully try to be apolitical because we want to help everyone.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have our own beliefs, but we really try to not get caught up in the extremes and all the vitriol and the intensity of the craziness that goes on with the fringe.
Well, and they actually found fringe on the left and fringe on the right, have the same brain, it’s rigid and not flexible. And it’s sadder, interestingly enough. I have a new study coming out. I haven’t even told you about it, on happiness. So we gave 344 people, the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire, and we have their scans and we’ve analyzed their scans.
Don’t you think though, being in quarantine for the better part of a year made it worse?
I think isolation for some people, not everybody, makes them dramatically worse-
You don’t think it gave people too much time to think?
For some people. So the introverts love the isolation because other people stress them out.
Right. And I tend to be like that.
… drains them. I loved being at home-
Right, me too.
… with you. I mean, we had more time with the children-
I get a little bored now and then and want to get out, but, overall.
I think for people whose businesses were damaged or whose jobs were damaged, the isolation was terrible for them-
So, I don’t like being told I have to be home. I just like-
You don’t like being told anything, let’s just be honest.
I don’t like the shutdown. I don’t like being told I have to be at home, but I like being home.
You don’t like it when anybody tells you anything.
No. I’m unlikely to not be very cooperative.
You have the no, no, no bad [crosstalk [00:07:20], right? Which we’re going to talk about, coming up. So taming the, they, them and other dragons, the society dragon is a big deal. What do you believe? And when someone says they, the question is, who are they? And do you respect them? Do you look up to them? Do you want to be like them? And if you don’t know the faceless dragons…
And I would take it a step further and say, what is the source? Not just who are they? Where are they getting this information?
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