Saturday, May 24, 2014

Comparing a Meme Complex to a Cultural Amygdala

"98% of Reasoning is Subconscious"
In past posts on this blog, discussions have considered the hypothesis of a meme complex (e.g. The Territorial Realm of Toxins of Power).

Similarly. a hypothesis of a cultural amygdala has been advanced (e.g. Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala).

A meme complex is an analytical tool like Freud's ego, id, and superego in the sense of not being associated with physical brain parts such as the lobes, medula oblongata, or amygdala (Wikipedia Human Brain). 

The "cultural amygdala" is a notion of physical brain circuits that attach to and extend from the physical amygdala, but it operates like a meme complex in many ways.

The definition or description of a meme complex should help:
A set of mutually-assisting memes which have co-evolved a symbiotic relationship. Religious and political dogmas, social movements, artistic styles, traditions and customs, chain letters, paradigms, languages, etc. are meme-complexes. Also called an m-plex, or scheme (Hofstadter). Types of co-memes commonly found in a scheme are called the: bait; hook; threat; and vaccime. A successful scheme commonly has certain attributes: wide scope (a paradigm that explains much); opportunity for the carriers to participate and contribute; conviction of its self-evident truth (carries Authority); offers order and a sense of place, helping to stave off the dread of meaninglessness. (Wheelis, quoted by Hofstadter.)
(Memetic Lexicon). One church has memes, ideas, and dogmas that differ from those of another church, yet some of the memes, ideas, and dogmas of both churches can be the same or quite similar.

The differences may be in degree or in kind, depending on which culture, nation, or society the meme complex or church is located.

The meme complex or cultural amygdala of a group of athiests in India is going to vary in degree and in kind with a meme complex or cultural amygdala of Christian Baptists in Mississippi, U.S.A.

Both the concept of a meme complex and the concept of a cultural amygdala invite the notion of a sub-entity such as a sub-meme-complex and a sub-cultural-amygdala.

An example of an overall or super-meme-complex would be "Baptists" while some sub-meme-complexes within it would be "English Baptists," and "American Baptists":
Baptists are individuals who comprise a group of denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers (believer's baptism, as opposed to infant baptism), and that it must be done by complete immersion (as opposed to affusion or sprinkling). Other tenets of Baptist churches include soul competency (liberty), salvation through faith alone, scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice, and the autonomy of the local congregation. Baptists recognize two ministerial offices, pastors and deacons. Baptist churches are widely considered to be Protestant churches, though some Baptists disavow this identity.

Diverse from their beginning, those identifying as Baptists today differ widely from one another in what they believe, how they worship, their attitudes toward other Christians, and their understanding of what is important in Christian discipleship.
(Wikipedia, Baptists, emphasis added). That description or definition includes the adjectives "diverse" and "differ," which applies equally well to political concepts such as "conservative" and "liberal."

The adage "it takes a village to raise a child" could apply, the village being the meme complex or cultural amygdala circuits, the "child" being a meme or circuit.

What is important about this, is that our brains are different as a result of the culture -- that "village" -- in which we grow from childhood into adulthood:
Progressives tend to believe that democracy is based on citizens caring for their fellow citizens through what the government provides for all citizens — public infrastructure, public safety, public education, public health, publicly-sponsored research, public forms of recreation and culture, publicly-guaranteed safety nets for those who need them, and so on. In short, progressives believe that the private depends on the public, that without those public provisions Americans cannot be free to live reasonable lives and to thrive in private business. They believe that those who make more from public provisions should pay more to maintain them.

Ultra-conservatives don’t believe this. They believe that Democracy gives them the liberty to seek their own self-interests by exercising personal responsibility, without having responsibility for anyone else or anyone else having responsibility for them. They take this as a matter of morality. They see the social responsibility to provide for the common good as an immoral imposition on their liberty.
(Alternet - Lakoff). Those two meme complexes joust for power as people within each of those cultures develop different memes and different cultural amygdala circuitry:
Thought is physical. Learning requires a physical brain change: Receptors for neurotransmitters change at the synapses, which changes neural circuitry. Since thinking is the activation of such circuitry, somewhat different thinking re­quires a somewhat different brain. Brains change as you use them-even unconsciously. It's as if your car changed as you drove it, say from a stick shift gradually to an automatic.
(What Orwell Didn't Know, see this also). The sub-entities are like clouds that take on various shapes and changes as the wind blows them along, mixing together at the edges from time to time, bending, morphing, and being reshaped down through history and down through one's lifetime.

I also mentioned similarities among meme complexes and cultural amygdalas, because some of those similarities are areas that deserve major consideration and contemplation:
Even more specifically, we have been looking at the dynamics involved when the citizenry sees the government as a parental figure.

That may sound strange to those who have not read up on it, but according to those who labor in this realm, as professors and social scientists, it is generally understood to be a real cultural phenomenon:
Have you ever noticed how many "family" words are associated with the concept of "nation" in literature, politics, and government?

A quick check of a few relevant metaphors (forefathers, father of the constitution, Uncle Sam, motherland, fatherland, homeland, father of the nation, founding fathers, mother of the nation, family of nations, etc.) makes me want to look at perhaps the key source-metaphor for this notion:
... a common metaphor, shared by conservatives and liberals alike -- the Nation-as-Family metaphor, in which the nation is seen as a family, the government as a parent and the citizens as children ...
(The Nation-as-Family Metaphor). To expand upon this concept a bit, consider these comments:
It’s no accident that our political beliefs are structured by our idealizations of the family. Our earliest experience with being governed is in our families. Our parents “govern” us: They protect us, tell us what we can and cannot do, make sure we have enough money and supplies, educate us, and have us do our part in running the house.

So it is not at all surprising that many nations are metaphorically seen in terms of families: Mother Russia, Mother India, the Fatherland. In America, we have founding fathers, Daughters of the American Revolution, Uncle Sam, and we send our collective sons and daughters to war. In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, the voice of the totalitarian state was called Big Brother.

As George Lakoff discussed at length in his 1996 book, Moral Politics, this metaphorical understanding of the nation-as-family directly informs our political worldview. Directly, but not consciously. As with other aspects of framing, the use of this metaphor lies below the level of consciousness.
(Security: Familyland, Fatherland, or Homeland?). When the government evolves in a direction from left to right, the citizenry will in general also have that tendency.
(Security: Familyland, Fatherland, or Homeland? - 2). Using that metaphor we can think of the nation as the super-cultural-amygdala, super-meme-complex, or village.

That super-entity contains within itself both political diversity (progressive, conservative) and religious diversity (Northern Baptists, Southern Baptists).

Those can be thought of as a sub-meme-complex or sub-cultural-amygdala.

Ideas, feelings, and behaviors of different degrees or kinds are at work in each of those "super-" and "sub-" structural entities.

How does that relate to the toxins of power?

It is instructive to remember that pathogens work as a sub-group within a host:
Quorum sensing is the regulation of gene expression in response to fluctuations in cell-population density. Quorum sensing bacteria produce and release chemical signal molecules called autoinducers that increase in concentration as a function of cell density. The detection of a minimal threshold stimulatory concentration of an autoinducer leads to an alteration in gene expression. Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria use quorum sensing communication circuits to regulate a diverse array of physiological activities. These processes include symbiosis, virulence, competence, conjugation, antibiotic production, motility, sporulation, and biofilm formation. In general, Gram-negative bacteria use acylated homoserine lactones as autoinducers, and Gram-positive bacteria use processed oligo-peptides to communicate. Recent advances in the field indicate that cell-cell communication via autoinducers occurs both within and between bacterial species. Furthermore, there is mounting data suggesting that bacterial autoinducers elicit specific responses from host organisms. Although the nature of the chemical signals, the signal relay mechanisms, and the target genes controlled by bacterial quorum sensing systems differ, in every case the ability to communicate with one another allows bacteria to coordinate the gene expression, and therefore the behavior, of the entire community. Presumably, this process bestows upon bacteria some of the qualities of higher organisms. The evolution of quorum sensing systems in bacteria could, therefore, have been one of the early steps in the development of multicellularity.
(Microbial Hermeneutics). Biological pathogens are ineffective alone, so they must work together via communication to accomplish group tasks.

Meme complexes, cultures, and nations work the same way in the sense of working together via communication.

For toxins of power to generate corruption, the relevant communication system must be corrupted in some way (see e.g. On the Origin of Propaganda).

Those who sit in the seats of power need to be aware of the destructiveness of  deceit and dishonesty, both to themselves and to those they serve, because it robs the group of some degree of an awareness of reality, hence, it injects dementia memes into the relevant meme complex or false circuitry into the cultural amygdala (see e.g. Etiology of Social Dementia).

These concepts are likely to be helpful for implementing the hope that Freud foresaw but could not develop in his own lifetime:
If the evolution of civilization has such a far reaching similarity with the development of an individual, and if the same methods are employed in both, would not the diagnosis be justified that many systems of civilization——or epochs of it——possibly even the whole of humanity——have become neurotic under the pressure of the civilizing trends? To analytic dissection of these neuroses, therapeutic recommendations might follow which could claim a great practical interest. I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness. But it behooves us to be very careful, not to forget that after all we are dealing only with analogies, and that it is dangerous, not only with men but also with concepts, to drag them out of the region where they originated and have matured. The diagnosis of collective neuroses, moreover, will be confronted by a special difficulty. In the neurosis of an individual we can use as a starting point the contrast presented to us between the patient and his environment which we assume to be normal. No such background as this would be available for any society similarly affected; it would have to be supplied in some other way. And with regard to any therapeutic application of our knowledge, what would be the use of the most acute analysis of social neuroses, since no one possesses power to compel the community to adopt the therapy? In spite of all these difficulties, we may expect that one day someone will venture upon this research into the pathology of civilized communities. [p. 39]
Men have brought their powers of subduing the forces of nature
to such a pitch that by using them they could now very easily exterminate one another to the last man. They know this——hence arises a great part of their current unrest, their dejection, their mood of apprehension. [p. 40]
(MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact - 5). Further discussion of this subject matter will continue in future posts.

George Lakoff: How Brains Think (5:34 "... you can only understand what the neural circuitry in your brain allows you to understand ... you can't understand just anything ...and this particularly is the case in political reasoning ... but it's true in many other things as well ...")

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala - 4

Where is my AR-15?
What is analyzed to be religious fervor on the surface can sometimes actually be psychotic energy working behind the scenes (e.g. Toxins).

In the second post of this series, the case of Anwar Congo was analyzed from the vantage point of watching him think he was directing a documentary, but the actual, sly directors were pulling his strings to shine a light on various cultural amygdala brain circuits within him.

That documentary, which was actually about Anwar Congo, a man who brought a saying spoken by one of humanity's more colorful philosophers into full and living focus, a saying concerning what Toxins of Power Blog hypothesizes to be "the cultural amygdala."

First, notice the saying which Anwar Congo brought vividly to life:
"It is forbidden to kill therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." - Voltaire
The reality which that quote applies to is depicted very well in the aforesaid documentary, where some savvy artists allowed Anwar Congo to essentially think that he was the director.

A documentary which chronicled his (to him & his culture) glorious past:
The Act of Killing focuses on Anwar Congo, one of the self-proclaimed "gangsters" who executed over a million suspected Communists and ethnic Chinese in Indonesia during the bloodbath of 1965-66. Congo, much like his fellow executioners that he remains friends with, has yet to face prosecution for the war crimes he committed as a younger man and lives as a national hero.
(Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala - 2). The carnage in that documentary is minuscule compared to the vision some American generals hold.

Visions of surges of religious carnage conjured up in a cultural amygdala far "surpassing" that of Anwar Congo:
The Lord is a warrior and in Revelation 19 it says when he comes back, he's coming back as what? A warrior. A mighty warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe ... I believe that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies 'cause he's coming back as a warrior carrying a sword.

And I believe now - I've checked this out - I believe that sword he'll be
"Jesus is coming with an AR-15" - U.S. General
carrying when he comes back is an AR-15.

Now I want you to think about this: where did the Second Amendment come from? ... From the Founding Fathers, it's in the Constitution. Well, yeah, I know that. But where did the whole concept come from? It came from Jesus when he said to his disciples 'now, if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.'

I know, everybody says that was a metaphor. IT WAS NOT A METAPHOR! He was saying in building my kingdom, you're going to have to fight at times. You won't build my kingdom with a sword, but you're going to have to defend yourself. And that was the beginning of the Second Amendment, that's where the whole thing came from. I can't prove that historically and David [Barton] will counsel me when this is over, but I know that's where it came from.

And the sword today is an AR-15, so if you don't have one, go get one. You're supposed to have one. It's biblical.
(Gun-Toting Jesus Will Lead 'Mighty Army', emphasis added). The general who preached that message to a church crowd ostensibly comes from a different culture than Anwar Congo does.

But those two cultures share the meme that violence to the sound of trumpets can be part of a holy war for the exceptional people of an exceptional war god (see e.g. The Virgin MOMCOM - 6).

When a culture accepts murder as if it was a mystical treatment for social ills, that culture has become neurotic or worse (MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact - 5).

The previous post in this series is here.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

An Example Of An Antitoxin - 3

A DDoS attack is being mounted by those infected with the toxins of power (Media Blacks Out New Snowden Interview The Government Doesn’t Want You to See).

The military NSA is trying to stop the American People from viewing the video below.

One antidote to a DDoS attack is to spread the Censor's targeted video around so as to make too many targets for the DDoS attack to persist against.

In order to resist the censorship by the military NSA this blog is utilizing an antidote technique having copied it and now having shared the news.

The military spies who do these attacks use covert and camouflaged Internet locations a la:
If you have a blog and check to see where the traffic to your blog originates, you may notice traffic from websites called,,, [,] and/or First off, don't click on them to find out why they are sending you traffic.
(Spam Spoiler, and see this). What they do if you click on them to find out what this traffic to your site is all about, is to interrogate your system to try to detect vulnerabilities.

If they find certain vulnerabilities they will then attempt to place Trojan Horse malware on your computer to be used in a DDoS attack later on when needed (DDoS attack by Spy Agencies, The State Monopoly on DDoS).

The attack on you and others is later mounted when those who would like to use your computer to assist them to suppress the truth about the military mission of spreading imperialism around the world, killing and maiming as they go.

And while spying on millions of innocent people as if they were enemies (Epigovernment: The New Model - 9).

If you want to resist those psychopaths, copy the link or the embed code of the video and become an antitoxin by sharing it.

The previous post in this series is here.

The transcript of the video is available here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Stay Thirsty For Freedom My Friends

I had some reflections on President Obama's speech given a while ago today about the military NSA.

Even though I have not had much time to digest it completely, I will offer some thoughts off the top of my head.

It is clear that President Obama is suffering from the corruption of toxins of power (About Toxins Of Power).

It is also clear that this infection at this time is becoming an epidemic in the and who knows in what other nations.

There are at least two pillars or characteristics of this or any other tyranny and oppression:
1) when we do it that makes it ok;
2) especially when we do it to them
We have lost touch with the ability to determine it.

That is, as a nation we have lost the ability to determine constitutional right from constitutional wrong,

Further, being educated about the constitution and then taking an oath to uphold it does not prevent the toxins of power from removing that understanding from some of those who thereafter sit in a seat of power.

What is evolving in our politics as a result of the epidemic is sorta like the essence of a personality cult as far as I can tell (some call it a "political duopoly").

The it (constitutional government by law, not by men) is no longer the determinate factor in our concept of tyranny, rather, good constitutional law is determined by who is doing it (see ipse dixit).

So what is evolving is "we can do it (which is defined as "anything") to them" (which is defined as "anybody").

That the very essence of tyranny and oppression.

And in our nation at the group level it is getting to look like our politics is composed of two personality cults striving for power while each puts the other personality cult down.

I am seeing this infection spreading, because we see more and more of it being done to them, which eventually turns on the people:
To whom are sovereigns accountable? In 1609 King James I offered Parliament his answer. Starting from the premise that the “[e]state of the monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth,” he equated kings to gods, because “they exercise a manner or resemblance of divine power upon earth.” Kings have absolute power and authority, “and yet accountable to none but God only.”
(Follow The Immunity - 3). It is that old "germ" within that old epidemic which we thought we had immunized ourselves from.

The toxins of power are still with us, and they are factors in the development and or decay of our cultural amygdala (Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala).

Saturday, December 21, 2013

How The Official Pleasure In Torture is Analyzed

"Are you ready for some football?"
Regular readers know that for quite a while the Dredd Blog System has advocated that explaining some of the behavior of some government and corporate officials should be done with psychological reasoning and understanding (e.g. The Criminally Insane Epoch Arises).

That is because using economic, legal, educational, political, business management, or similar casual forms of analysis to explain sick mental behavior is inadequate (MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact - 5).

Such casual analysis is akin to using baseball or football techniques to analyze a mass murder.

In the series America's Shame Memos (cf. America's Shame Memos - #2, America's Shame Memos - #3 , America's Shame Memos - #4, America's Shame Memos - #Next, America's Shame Memos - #Last) we took a look at the shameful social dementia that affected government officials who seemed to have lost their minds.

Today we are going to tie that into "pleasure" and the cultural amygdala, and show that social dementia of this sort is accomplished by the rewiring of the cultural amygdala of the public, just as toxoplasma gondi ("Toxo") rewires the amygdala of rodents:
The parasite my lab is beginning to focus on is one in the world of mammals, where parasites are changing mammalian behavior... Toxo instead has developed this amazing capacity to alter innate behavior in rodents... If you take a lab rat who is 5,000 generations into being a lab rat, since the ancestor actually ran around in the real world, and you put some cat urine in one corner of their cage, they're going to move to the other side. Completely innate, hard-wired reaction to the smell of cats, the cat pheromones. But take a Toxo-
"Complex" Is An Understatement
infected rodent, and they're no longer afraid of the smell of cats. In fact they become attracted to it. The most damn amazing thing you can ever see, Toxo knows how to make cat urine smell attractive to rats. And rats go and check it out and that rat is now much more likely to wind up in the cat's stomach. Toxo's circle of life completed.

... part of my lab has been trying to figure out the neurobiological aspects. The first thing is that it's for real. The rodents, rats, mice, really do become attracted to cat urine when they've been infected with Toxo. And you might say, okay, well, this is a rodent doing just all sorts of screwy stuff because it's got this parasite turning its brain into Swiss cheese or something. It's just non-specific behavioral chaos. But no, these are incredibly normal animals. Their olfaction is normal, their social behavior is normal, their learning and memory is normal. All of that. It's not just a generically screwy animal.

You say, okay well, it's not that, but Toxo seems to know how to destroy fear and anxiety circuits. But it's not that, either. Because these are rats who are still innately afraid of bright lights. They're nocturnal animals. They're afraid of big, open spaces. You can condition them to be afraid of novel things. The system works perfectly well there. Somehow Toxo can laser out this one fear pathway, this aversion to predator odors... Toxo preferentially knows how to home in on the part of the brain that is all about fear and anxiety, a brain region called the amygdala... Toxo knows how to get in there.

Next, we then saw that Toxo would take the dendrites, the branch and cables that neurons have to connect to each other, and shriveled them up in the amygdala. It was disconnecting circuits. You wind up with fewer cells there. This is a parasite that is unwiring this stuff in the critical part of the brain for fear and anxiety... It knows how to find that particular circuitry... Meanwhile, there is a well-characterized circuit that has to do with sexual attraction. And as it happens, part of this circuit courses through the amygdala, which is pretty interesting in and of itself, and then goes to different areas of the brain than the fear pathways... Toxo knows how to hijack the sexual reward pathway. And you get males infected with Toxo and expose them to a lot of the cat pheromones, and their testes get bigger. Somehow, this damn parasite knows how to make cat urine smell sexually arousing to rodents, and they go and check it out. Totally amazing... So what about humans? A small literature is coming out now reporting neuropsychological testing on men who are Toxo-infected, showing that they get a little bit impulsive... And then the truly astonishing thing: two different groups independently have reported that people who are Toxo-infected have three to four times the likelihood of being killed in car accidents involving reckless speeding... Maybe you take a Toxo-infected human and they start having a proclivity towards doing dumb-ass things that we should be innately averse to, like having your body hurdle through space at high G-forces. Maybe this is the same neurobiology... On a certain level, this is a protozoan parasite that knows more about the neurobiology of anxiety and fear than 25,000 neuroscientists standing on each other's shoulders... But no doubt it's also a tip of the iceberg of God knows what other parasitic stuff is going on out there. Even in the larger sense, God knows what other unseen realms of biology make our behavior far less autonomous than lots of folks would like to think.
(Hypothesis: Microbes Generate Toxins of Power - 6). When we use only a naive part our decency-leaning minds to contemplate and analyze some of what our government has done in recent years, we are going to fall short of understanding the demented reality being played out.

The behavior of sociopaths or psychopaths is not like the behavior of our good neighbor, who we analyze using the simple social norms of our culture.

Thus, we are going to fall short in our civic duty analysis if we use that methodology to analyze government before we vote in an election, because these mentally defective rulers are on a different planet than we are, so to speak.

Sociopaths and psychopaths fit in to society because they know us better than we know them, thus, the sadist for example has, like us, been molded and shaped by certain types of submission to culture.

Submission which acts as camouflage ("law abiding citizen") for them.

The camouflage-like behavior used by toxoplasma gondi, as well as by human psychopaths, is beginning to become a scientifically recognized dynamic:
Most of the time, we try to avoid inflicting pain on others -- when we do hurt someone, we typically experience guilt, remorse, or other feelings of distress. But for some, cruelty can be pleasurable, even exciting. New research suggests that this kind of everyday sadism is real and more common than we might think.
Together, these results suggest that sadists possess an intrinsic motivation to inflict suffering on innocent others, even at a personal cost -- a motivation that is absent from the other dark personality traits.

The researchers hope that these new findings will help to broaden people's view of sadism as an aspect of personality that manifests in everyday life, helping to dispel the notion that sadism is limited to sexual deviants and criminals.

Buckels and colleagues are continuing to investigate everyday sadism, including its role in online trolling behavior.

"Trolling culture is unique in that it explicitly celebrates sadistic pleasure, or 'lulz,'" says Buckels. "It is, perhaps, not surprising then that sadists gravitate toward those activities."

And they're also exploring vicarious forms of sadism, such as enjoying cruelty in movies, video games, and sports.

The researchers believe their findings have the potential to inform research and policy on domestic abuse, bullying, animal abuse, and cases of military and police brutality.
(Science Daily, "Everyday Sadists Take Pleasure in Others' Pain"). The various media practices of analyzing psychopathic behavior as some form of "politics" can explain why American torture is still bragged about in public by past Vice President Dick Cheney and his cohorts:
Dante’s graphic description of the torment inflicted on the latter symbolically evokes scenes of terrible forms of torture. Unfortunately, such torture has and is still to some extent being used in the world today. Of late we witnessed examples of brutal persecution in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons. Prisoners, not only, were subjected to physical abuse, somewhat reminiscent of the aforementioned punishment, but were also subjected to acts of sexual perversion. The leaked photos of the torture incidents in Abu Ghraib unveiled episodes of sodomy, rape, and an over indulgence of voyeurism. The photos also revealed that those who partook in the execution of these actions seemed to be enjoying the power that the exercise of torture gave them.
(Torture as an Extension of the Desiring Machine, emphasis added). Some forms of analyzing violence promulgated in media outlets is also a way of "educating" the public spectators by using the seducing spectacle treatment:
The importance of gladiatorial games should be obvious from the time and finances devoted to them. It is inadequate to attribute this solely to pleasing the crowd or for earning and the status of the sponsors, or to regard the games as ostentatious overtures to munificence and benefaction, even though they do play a role. Such explanations alone would not explain, for instance, the fact that the massive Colosseum, site of many such games, was initiated by Vespasian, the emperor who is reputed to have been the most economical of all [1]. Such games must have served much more important purposes.

One such purpose is the education of Roman values, notably strength/courage (fortitudo), training/discipline (disciplina), firmness (constantia), endurance (patientia), contempt of death (contemptus mortis), love of glory (amor laudis), and the desire to win (cupido victoriae). In other words, in the absence of common military pursuits, gladiatorial games became the means of teaching Romans virtus, since the gladiatorial fights effectively demonstrated soldierly values and illustrated military ideas by punishing cowardly gladiators and rewarding courageous ones [2]. Indeed, it is through what is regarded in modern times as sadistic, i.e. witnessing the spectacle of men fighting to their deaths, that such values are conveyed.

This is supported by a passage in Pliny's panegyric to Trajan (Panegyric xxxi.1) in which he praised the emperor who first satisfied the practical needs of the citizens and the allies, and then gave them a public entertainment, nothing lax or dissolute to weaken and destroy the manly spirit of his subjects, but one to inspire them to face honourable wounds and look scornfully upon death, by demonstrating a love of glory and a desire for victory even in the persons of criminals and slaves. In other words, Pliny viewed the gladiatorial show as an educational experience of morality and virtue. The fact that the performers were outcasts strengthened this educational element by the implicit idea that if even such people could provide examples of bravery, determination to win glory and victory despite impending death, and even more so, contempt for death itself, then so could real men (viri)[3] .
(Violence and the Romans: The Arena Spectacles, emphasis added). In the series about The Cultural Amygdala, we explored the radical variations in perception among cultures concerning mass violence conducted on one's own populace.

Not only that, we tied the mass murder to media spectacle by utilizing a very disturbing yet revealing documentary:
Congo is a man who appears to live in an eternal cinematic fantasy. He's always dressed sharp—inspired by his Hollywood heroes John Wayne, Marlon Brando, and Elvis Presley. What exactly inspired him to murder a thousand people is never quite explained. The only slight ever mentioned that he takes from the communists was their desire to block screenings of his beloved American films. Tapping into this love of cinema, Oppenheimer offers him the opportunity to tell his story by making a dramatic film in which he's the star of his own story.
(Hypothesis:The Cultural Amygdala - 2, emphasis added). Like the mass murdering psychopath who has a nice family and goes to church, these psychopaths among us know our "language" and have known how to deceive us for many decades (The Deceit Business).

The morning pundits of McTell News stumble through the destruction done on 9/11, the destruction of Afghanistan, the destruction of Iraq, the destruction of Libya, the Orwellian spying of the military NSA, along with the cutting off of food stamps and unemployment insurance to those in need, as if they were all simply economic or political anomalies.

They miss the elephant in the room, never figuring out the massive sickness within our government and culture, as they extol our cultural virtues to a fairly horrified world around us.