The evil that is nuanced thinking

The ‘nuanced thought’ mind is fodder for sociologists and psychologists. Unfortunately, those are generally from the same circles where nuanced thought is the yardstick so that won’t result in much. Nuanced thought is a strange kind of phenomenon. It has a negative impact on social cohesion but in a mobius strip-like manner presents itself it as a positive thing. The biggest problem with nuanced thought is that it is based on the principle that homo sapiens is a rational species, free of the primary instincts other mammals carry.

A delusion that is actually pretty easily corrected . Homo sapiens has the same basic brain structures as all other mammals, which are basic structures for an independent operating brain. That brain has total control over the real-time interaction with the outside world. It controls the hormonal balance, the muscles and actually most of the non-autonomous part. This means that the brain is the primary control over our behavior and a major influence on our perception. Unfortunately, this brain cannot speak, it can only manifest itself through the body so as to influence so that the new, recently developed brain notices it and tries to integrate its interpretation of the stimuli.

 It names that manifestation  ‘feelings’ or ’emotions’ because it realized that it was not itself that it originated from but also can not know where it is coming from. The brains are hardly interconnected by nerves. There are some thin horizontal strands, but in comparison to the nerve that connects the two hemispheres, these are virtually non functional.

 What does this have to do with nuanced thought? Nuanced thought does not account for this predominance of a brain structure that is genetically preprogrammed to (re)act to everyday common issues. Because this structure is so old and finished development, it is not possible to change it. It is “hardwired”. Also because it is so old it is not able to adapt to contemporary society and reacts according to the patterns that once, in prehistoric times, were functional but not anymore. On the contrary.

For that reason, nuanced thought is a rational fiction, an abstract representation of reality. Nuanced thought only works in movies and books.

In every day life, it simply does not. Just can not work. The nuanced thought rationale is that things should be done according to a rational pattern, but the reality is that that never happens. Nuanced thought people are therefor cultists. There’s nothing wrong with that, everyone is free to follow any delusion. But history teaches us that once a a cult gets a certain number of followers there is the danger that their ideas are forced into practice.

And that is what we now see, the cult of nuanced thought has strong negative effects on the functioning of our society in causing for example multi-culturalism. A weird concept which assumes that totally opposing cultures can integrate in a short period of time and become a nice, sprinkled with rose petals, happily coexisting society.

One look at Europe’s big cities shows the deficit of this illusion.

24 thoughts on “The evil that is nuanced thinking

    • Well, nuance is only for those with the capacity to know where to stop nuancing. I plead for common sense instead.

      Nuanced thought tells me it’s an expression of an age old culture to stone a buried in the ground female to death for the crime of having been raped.

      Nuanced thought tells it’s not my place to criticize their culture, that’s cultural imperialism.

      However common sense tells me it’s an atrocious barbaric act committed by a culture that should have been wiped out ages ago.


  1. I appreciate your attempts to make sense of the world, but your arguments are biologically inaccurate. @”Because this structure is so old and finished development, it is not possible to change it.”

    Evil is the enemy of truth. The truth is that the universe is a miraculously complex and inspiring place that invites us to explore and refine our thinking. The closer we are able to align our actions to those things which are actually true (not simplistic or wishful thinking) the greater our likelihood of healthy and successful outcomes.


    • i appreciate your attempt to educate me, and i’ve followed your links carefully. I guess we have a basic misunderstanding about what constitutes ‘old and finished’. You refere to developmental issues having to do with the neo-cortex mostly. My case is based on parts like the cerebellum or parts that constitute the limbic system. Whilst those can ‘learn’ their fashion of learning is limited to their millions years old structure. So sure, you can learn to walk, the cerebellum and motor cortex will happily do so. But within the boundaries of their basic structures. You can influence the software parameters, but only within the limits of the operating system and the program it’s running.


  2. I am not sure how carefully you could have could reviewed the information in 15 minutes, but we are talking about the ability to think and act.

    If you are only talking about autonomic functions such as breathing, balance and heartbeat — then you are correct. If you are talking about anything that makes us uniquely human, then I think you may have “missed a few spots.”


  3. i could say i’m very highly gifted and can speed read, but then you wouldn’t take me seriously. Most of your links i already had seen in one form or another over the years.

    As walking, breathing are autonomous functions, so are emotions viewed from the cognitive mind is my position. Emotions come first, autonomously, beyond your conscious control. The level with which your conscious mind can limit them is the only factor in play.


  4. But our emotional responses are not hardwired or universal. For example, one person may look at a pile of termites or cockroaches as see a delicious meal (triggering a delighted response) while someone else is repulsed and disgusted (and the thought of eating them never enter their mind).

    And our lifelong ability to regulate emotions also has a lot to do with our early experiences (because humans are all essentially born “premature” and must complete our formation after we are born). Other factors are also in play, such as the experiences of mothers and grandmothers as well as conditions while in utero.

    (Here is a better link to the BBC documentary )

    The point of all this is that many of the “evils” we see can be explained by our historical ignorance and inadequate response to the requisites of biological human development (our prejudices and treatment of certain groups of people throughout time have created self-perpetuating and self-fulfilling prophecies). The child who experiences chronic violence doesn’t just “learn” violence, their brain development is interrupted such that executive dysfunction and impaired cognitive functioning (an inability to reason and self-regulate) is the result. This person is violent and unreasonable.

    The thing that is truly miraculous is what happens when a child’s needs are met in a way that aligns with their biological genetic blueprint (which is still too rare a phenomenon). That is when we see humankind’s true potential, and realize that most of our problems are products of our own making (our ignorance, hubris, and failure to love one another).


  5. to my mind here you confuse interpretation by cognitive processes of emotions with emotions. For example: The basic emotion hardwired when confronted by an unknown entity that might be your dinner or you might it’s dinner is to be very very weary. If it looks the slightest way a risk you get going.

    Xenophobia is a natural very healthy evolutionary positive emotion.

    But we became social animals and developed some more advanced parts to take that first impulse and limit it’s effect.

    That doesn’t mean the basic impulse is gone. There’s just a layer added that can intervene to a certain extent, but never suppress is totally.

    It’s still a prime motivator. As are all the other basic emotions. Depending upon the circumstances we might be capable to steer or limit them but in other circumstances we fail completely. Hence crime for example. Anyone at anytime might ‘lose’ it given enough stressfactors to overcome the regulatory systems. In that view we are absolutely at the mercy of basic systems over which we have scant control.

    I hope you get my drift now?


  6. I *understand* what you are saying. I still disagree.

    Occasional crimes of passion are not what drives crime.

    I do not think that we are “at the mercy of systems of which we have scant control.”

    That may be true for you (and if this is so, then I respect your experience).

    Yet, I hope you will extend me the same courtesy and entertain the idea that it is not true for me or those I spend time with.

    Here is a video of a classroom full of preschool children (ages 3-6) who are free to choose their own activities, where there are no rewards or punishments, and the adults take the role of observer rather than authority. The environment has been specially designed to meet the children’s biological drives (and children have 3 hours of interrupted time to do as they please each day – the video is just a sample).

    This is what seems innate and natural to me because it’s what I have seen on a daily basis in inner city schools as well affluent neighborhoods.


    • We can agree to disagree but let me point out we still have a misunderstanding what is primary driver of human actions. I noticed that when you talked about ‘crimes of passion’. In reality most crimes are out of ‘passion’ and the lack of control thereof, only a minority due to lack of ‘passion’. Those would be people suffering from neurological disorders such as ASPD for example not even making 1% of population. The basic instincts to just take what you need (theft) and all other actions needed to commit the act, including murder for example. That’s a basic impulse gone unchecked. What you observe are higher order processes AFTER they have interpreted the basic impulses. (yes i did watch the vid, i wonder what would happen if you did the same experiment in any ‘ghetto’ school at a later age then these children?) May i ask you to read: and


  7. I enjoyed reading both of your articles. Thank you for suggesting them.

    My experience in inner city schools is that if prenatal and early childhood care were provided in environments intentionally prepared to meet biological requisites during sensitive periods of development (0-9), the effects were significant and long-lasting, even if those children were later immersed in crime-ridden and violent surroundings for the rest of their childhood.


    • The school I linked to only goes to 3rd grade, then children attend the same elementary, middle and high schools as their counterparts in their neighborhood.


    • i guess the twain will never meet… I see human behavior mainly (overwhelmingly) indistinguishable from any other mammal, only hidden behind a intricate layer of cognitive influences. I guess you see human behavior as uniquely human, overwhelmingly different from all other mammals.

      We agree to disagree profoundly, with all due respect.


      • I am familiar with studies about animal behaviors, and have no problem acknowledging where our abilities overlap.

        However, proportionately, the area of a dog’s brain that perceives and interprets smell would be the size of a piece of paper, while that of a human would comparatively be the size of a postage stamp. There are things that we simply cannot perceive because we do not possess the sensory apparatus to do so (bees and ultraviolet light might be another example). The opposite is true for different animals (each depending on their own brain structure) as to what they are or are not capable of doing.

        There has been extensive research as to the comparison of which cognitive capacities we share with other primates (and other animals), as well as to how and when different attributes and their intensity come ‘online.’ Length of gestation, length of dependence on adults and many other factors also play a role. I am certainly not suggesting that humans are unique in possessing intelligence. But neither would I claim that all intelligence can be lumped into one category — or imply that because an animal is able to perform one cognitive function that it possesses an entire suite of abilities that are similar to our own.


      • you misconstrue my meaning Ted. I didn’t mean to imply of intellectual overlap. I meant to show that the underlying mechanisms in place are amongst mammals at least the same. That just adding an extra control layer suddenly makes this commonality go away. That these same brain structures are shared down to reptiles. That those structures have first and pre emptive control over your body. Your consciousness only is made aware of some things your body does, after the fact, and than makes up an explanation for it which sounds reasonable. That latter is what you experience as reality.

        There is such an abundance of literature on this subject dating back as far as the 60’s i wouldn’t know where to point you to begin. But try for example the split-brain operation studies. Gazzaniga does a nice job of making it understandable for the lay public.


  8. I hear and understand what you are saying. Human beings are built on “underlying chassis” (similar to the way an SVU is built on a truck platform). No matter how much we might wish that we could somehow transcend our animalistic fight/flight survival mechanisms, they will remain with us (and may show themselves in times of duress even for the calmest and most self-disciplined among us).

    I get it. I don’t disagree with this basic ascertain.

    Nevertheless, most of us don’t live in a world where our sheer survival is under constant threat, and I think the idea that we are only one thin layer away from descending into beast-like behavior denies the last 65 million years of human evolution (when we diverged from our other primate ancestors). Our underlying chassis also includes a huge propensity for social reciprocity; the constant gathering of statistical information (game theory); innate mechanisms for logic, geometric, and mathematical awareness; as well as a natural desire for fun, freedom, belonging, agency, empathy and love. And, we also share these basic characteristics with several of our furry friends. So it is on top of all of this that our cortex lies.

    And probably the biggest adaptation that has led to the success of the human species is that while adults who move from one place to other may find it difficult (they may retain an accent even if they learn a new language, etc). Yet, their children’s brains will literally wire themselves (during sensitive periods of development) to be able to thrive and survive in whatever surroundings they find themselves.

    An historical account that illustrates this phenomenon occurred when early anthropologists and missionaries studied in Patagonia (as reported by Ruth Benedict in Patterns of Culture -1948). Having never seen Europeans, an infant was left behind as terrified villagers ran away. The group took the abandoned child with them back to Europe, where she became a Catholic, learned two European languages, and studied biology at a university. In the space of only ONE childhood, the person had passed from the Stone Age … to the atomic era.

    A personal story is that we once became aware of 10-month old infant living near our school whose mother was drug addicted, and he had been left in his grandmother’s care. The grandmother was diabetic and on a number of medications. It was in a gang-ridden neighborhood, so she had boarded up all the windows (and it was dark and sweltering hot in the summer – well over 100 degrees). The baby was kept in a small container and had already given up on crying, or even trying to move. He showed signs of rickets and malnutrition. Yet, as we worked with him and his family, we were able to help the mother turn her life around — and slowly we are also able to return the child back to health. Meanwhile, I could see the results of those who did not receive the help they needed (drug addicts and alcoholics walked the streets, kindergarteners would step out in front of my car with both middle fingers up in the air — daring me to not stop as they walked across the street). The child stayed in our program through 3rd grade, then went on to do extremely well in high school and also to get a merit-based academic scholarship in medicine at college. He was far from the only person we helped (and we could have helped many more if we had the resources).

    My point is that you have called me (and others in my field) and the work we do “evil.”

    And, I beg to differ.

    It may not be your thing (and I respect that we all have our roles in the fabric of a society) but that does not give you the right to make wild accusations. As far as having an impact on international foreign policy, because a parent’s hopes for their children are at least a strong a drive as the violence you portend, I think our work is also useful there also.

    Here is website from Pakistan:
    Here is a facebook page from Egypt:

    You fight the war your way, and I will fight it mine. Working together we might actually do some good in the world.



    • I see no connection between your comment and my piece Ted. I read anecdotal ‘evidence’ and that even not remotely connected to the main point of my article. I fail to see where i called your work evil. My point was of a general nature to indicate how the reality of the beast and soft science theories wildly divert. What i read from your contribution falls into the categorie of: my grandfather smoked all his life and lived to be 96 so smoking is not bad for the health.

      I fight no war. I observe, i deduce and i write my conclusions down. They are not meant to be taken personal, they are general.


  9. You generalize and demonize an entire branch of study.

    How is that useful?

    And you are wrong about “the reality of the beast.” We have only just scratched the surface of understanding about the brain and how it functions (and new information about epigenesis suggests completely new paradigms). People like the renowned neuroscientist Eric Kandel don’t claim to know as much about the brain and behavior as you seem to.

    In the meantime, telling other people that nuanced thinking is “evil” adds nothing to the conversation, and only makes my job that much harder.


    • i do generalize ofcourse. This not a scientific paper, it’s a very short conclusion based on the outcome of diverse social experiments in many nations. We may have scratched the surface of the the brain, but that’s because ‘we’ are looking for things that aren’t there. ‘We’ try to find some extraordinary meaning in a rather simple machine designed to enhance survival. Unfortunately going by current ‘successes’ it is failing the grade.

      Cognitive processes are our invention. ‘We’ think they are something awesome because we have no objective standard to compare them to. Only our own ideas what’s super awesome about us.

      Coming back to ‘nuanced thought’… The problem with nuance is that once you start all clear definitions disappear and everything becomes a sea of gray nuanced nothingness.Were do you stop? How do you know where to stop?So soft science assumes to see patterns in behavior which are actually nothing else than selective observation. I always compare it to a punch card. Hold it to the light and you see the pattern, take another one and you see another pattern. However the light behind it stays exactly the same.

      In reality the only objective measure that really counts is survival of the species. And in that department we really fail miserably. At this point in our existence as homo sapiens we are after only a few 100.000 years on the verge of extinction in evolutionary terms.

      A jellyfish already outdid us by 500.000.000 years. A crocodile with the brain of a walnut outdid use by 200.000.000. But looking at homo sapiens it would surprise me we’d make another few 100.000.

      Sure we believe we understand the universe, have magnificent complex theories about how it’s been built up down from sub atomic particles. We think that’s awesome because it’s us who made it up. Circular reasoning if i ever seen it.


  10. That *you* claim to see “reality” such that others need not look farther (while simultaneously demonizing anyone who engages in looking for alternatives to your perspective as “evil”) is actually quite cult-like in and of itself.


    • Reality is simple. You live you die. In between you try not to.

      I do no such thing. Please look further, But realize that most social experiments did more harm than good.Methinks history has it’s fill of failed social experiments leading to untold suffering. That soft science is playing around with things it has have no idea what will be the outcome but may scar people for life.


    • a shining example just passes my eyes: Top girls’ public school set to ban homework – because it’s making teenagers DEPRESSED
      Cheltenham Ladies’ College is making wellbeing as important as grades
      Could introduce meditation, long walks between classes and no homework
      Principal said school hopes to ward off signs of depression and anxiety…..

      Nuanced thought in action.


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