I just hit what I think is a very interesting part about on page 101.
The setup for the statement is that a researcher, Drew Western, was using an fMRI machine in 2004 to look at how the brains of highly partisan folks (some from both parties) reacted to bothersome messages, but then had something that could solve the contradiction of the bothersome message. One example was
Mr. Bush sang the praises of the Enron CEO Ken Lay
This statement by Mr. Bush was given before Enron imploded, but the study was given after Enron had infamously gone down in flame. The next statement was,
Mr. Bush now avoids any mention of Key Lay, and is critical of Enron when asked.
I admit I had the thought when I read that of, "Sounds just how the church usually just tries to ignore past issues and hope they fade from memory. I almost fell off the Elephant while thinking that.
Then a bit of what could be a resolution
People who know the President report that he feels betrayed by Key Lay, and was genuinely shocked to find that Enron's leadership had been corrupt.
Western summarized that for a staunch republican in this study, this last statement really "felt" good and he states
Once Western released them from the threat, the ventral striatum started humming - that's one of the brain's major reward centers. All animal brains are designed to create flashes of pleasure when the animal does something important for its survival, and small pulses of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the ventral striatum (and a few other places) are where these good feelings are manufactured. Heron and cocaine are addictive because the artificially trigger this dopamine response. Rats who can press a button to deliver electrical stimulation to their reward centers will continue pressing until they collapse from starvation.
Western found that partisans escaping from handcuffs (by thinking about the final slide, which restored their confidence in their candidate) got a little hit of that dopamine. And if this is true, then it would explain why extreme partisans are so stubborn, closed-minded, and committed to beliefs that often seem bizarre or paranoid. Like rats that cannot stop pressing a button, partisans may be simply unable to stop believing weird things. The partisan brain has been reinforced so many times for performing mental contortions that free it from unwanted beliefs. Extreme partisanship may be literally addictive.
This made me think about apologists that just seem to revel being an apologist to the point where it makes me almost want to vocally exclaim, "REALLY! I mean REALLY????"
Then I try and look at myself. One thing I have notice lately is I am too absorbed in all the many times you can find church leaders hiding truths/changing talks/not delivering the whole story. I could feel it was a bit addicting and I suspect it was my mind trying to prepare for the pressure I am going to get as I come out about my unbelief a bit more over time. But there is absolutely part of me that knows throwing these facts (as I see them) isn't going to change other people's mind. But I still felt driven to keep reading and documenting them. I guess that is my "pressing the lever for an electrical stimulus to my reward center." But I am trying to back away from spending so much time and mental energy on this activity.
I think I feel the only way I can stop being just riding the elephant is to keep focus/questioning/introspection on me and why I am doing/saying/feeling things. It is hard and I CONTINUALLY want to just equate what I read to others odd behavior.