November 29, 2018

"There are, of course, other life forms that do their 'thinking' with parts other than brains, but these tend to be sponges, scallops and..."

"... the slime mold that re-created a map of the Tokyo subway system — not exactly a desirable cohort in which the president has placed himself. Or perhaps [Trump] is claiming to be an evolutionary throwback. Anthropologists’ 'expensive-tissue hypothesis' posits that as animals’ guts got smaller, their brains got bigger. If Trump’s gut remains so prominent, might his brain be smaller than his hands? But Trump isn’t wrong to say his belly has brains. Researchers have found that bacteria in the gut send signals to the mind about what to eat, for example. I undertook a gut check on Trump with Braden Kuo, a director of the Center for Neurointestinal Health at Massachusetts General Hospital, and he told me the large number of neurons and neurotransmitters in the gut make it a sort of 'second brain.' This is why people eat comfort food when sad or get butterflies when anxious. 'A lot of our emotions, how we feel things, comes from nerve endings in our gut,' he says.... Bandy X. Lee, the Yale University psychiatrist who has sounded the alarm about the president’s mental functioning, thinks Trump’s preference for his gut is a rare moment of self-awareness. When Trump talks about his gut, she says, he’s really referring to his 'primitive brain' — from which a rush of emotion is 'overcoming him so he’s not able to access his actual intellect.'"

Dana Milbank endeavors to digest Trump's many reference to his "gut," in "Does Trump’s great gut mean a tiny brain?" (WaPo). This isn't about the size of his belly, but about his rhetoric — stuff like "They’re making a mistake... because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me" and "I know it better than anybody knows it, and my gut has always been right."

26 comments:

tim in vermont said...

I remember a time when Milbank was funny. I am kind of old though.

tcrosse said...

There are other life forms that do their 'thinking' with parts other than brains, as in the jerking of their knees.

Ralph L said...

Obama had a better gut than all his advisers, he said so himself. How did Milbank stomach that grandiosity?

Henry said...

This kind of intellectualized insult theater is worse than plain vitriol. Just say he has tiny racists hands and be done with it, Doctor X.

Darrell said...

Dana Milbank needs to buy a mirror.
Then smear it with butter.

Tommy Duncan said...

Dana nailed it! The slime mold, that is. Figuratively, of course. Nailing slime mold is like nailing Jello.

Gahrie said...

Intellectuals cannot stand to be told that they are often wrong, and that they overthink things, especially by those they consider to be ignorant Deplorables.

Wince said...

Hmm. It's almost as if the left wants you to focus on process rather than results.

And they will tell you what that process really means, thank you very much.

rhhardin said...

I'd like to thank all those who made it possible for me to be here tonight
https://sep.yimg.com/ay/yhst-130756708828791/john-callahan-s-thanks-evolution-card-8.jpg

tim maguire said...

When my gut has an opinion, it's usually right. And it often takes my brain a while to work out what my gut knew immediately.

Mr Wibble said...

When my gut has an opinion, it's usually right. And it often takes my brain a while to work out what my gut knew immediately.

Human beings are hardwired for pattern recognition. The ones that survived on the African plain weren't the strongest or fastest, but the ones who figured out the quickest that there was a lion out in the tall grass.



Roy Jacobsen said...

Hah! That's funny! Because Trump is so stupid, talking about his "gut."

I mean, nobody ever talks about "gut feeling" or "going with your gut."

And besides, Orange Man Bad! Amirite?

tcrosse said...

Do they hate Trump's ideas, or do they hate his guts?

Wince said...

Wow, somebody should write a book about this!

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
by Malcolm Gladwell.

Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren't as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? ...Blink reveals that great decision makers aren't those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of "thin-slicing"-filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables.

Clark said...

Think Agent Gibbs of NCIS.

robother said...

Dana's version of taking Trump literally, even in the face of one of the oldest tropes ("trust your gut") in the English language. For those with a serious interest, there's a good documentary on the Second Brain, which raises interesting questions about who's in charge at any given moment, "me" or "my" gut bacteria.

Fernandinande said...

the slime mold that re-created a map of the Tokyo subway system

Well, not really. And the slime mold itself was created from a string of DNA.

Lee Moore said...

The joke is on Dana. Imagining that your brain is in your head is a schoolboy biology howler. In fact your brain is dispersed throughout your body, and there are more neurons outside your head than inside it.

Most fast muscle movements don't depend on the-brain-in-your-head at all. That would take too long. It's the outside the head neurons that deal with that sort of thing.

Moeover, if we retreat back into the head, the "gut" - ie your emotions - are central to cognition. Since the world contains an infinity of facts (most of which your perceptual faculties are incapable of perceiving btw) no cognitive problem can be attempted without filtering out almost all the facts and focussing on a tiny fraction of them. Those that appear to be "relevant." And it is your "gut" which sets your goals and so determines which facts are relevant. No gut and your left spinning in infinity.

Martin said...

Milbank succeeds in making not just himself, but almost all critics of Trump look silly.

Some say that Trump has a special ability to do this, but I am not sure. I incline more to think that some people really are silly, they are almost incapable of rational thought and when they try they wind up with positions that are flat-out wrong and even internally inconsistent. All Trump has to do is point in the general direction of something slightly more truthful (tho often not entirely so) and they all publicly wet their pants (so to speak).

narciso said...

Its like an infinity stone, or the super soldier formula millbank is one of the best tools yale has provided '90.

stevew said...

Oh FFS, gut is a synonym for intuition. Last week they were focused on Trump's use of the word 'rake' when he spoke about forest management to prevent the sort of wildfires that occurred in CA. These anti-Trumpers are insufferably stupid, if they think anyone serious takes them and their supercilious attacks seriously.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Just a gut reaction on my part, but it seems that Democrats and Libtards need a humor transplant.

Go with your gut on this.

n.n said...

The nervous system is a distributed, feedback system. See fetus, offspring, baby from around one month.

Ken B said...

Playing dumb. Some people really believe it makes them look smart.

tim in vermont said...

When my gut has an opinion, it's usually right. And it often takes my brain a while to work out what my gut knew immediately.

When my gut has a feeling, it is often wrong, but there is usually no use arguing with it. Sometimes my higher brain wins out though, for instance, my gut told me to vote for Kasich in the Florida primary. My gut screamed at me not to vote for Trump, but my brain said “That’s just a vote for Hillary” and won the day after much agonizing in the booth.

tim in vermont said...

Playing dumb. Some people really believe it makes them look smart.

How did this thread get on to ads space cadet?