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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fighting Father Rob Burgess reflects on Easter, homelessness, and mental illness

Today is Easter Sunday. The sun is out and it is a beautiful spring day in Michigan, although there is a hint of spring rain in the air.

My wife and I just left church not too long ago. In the Sunday meal after the service, it was nice to see that literally every chair was taken in our church's basement meeting room as folks shared a meal. However, I must confess to not having been in a social mood today. So, I volunteered to count the collection in my pastor's office with a couple other gentlemen from the congregation.

My pastor today talked some about the resurrection, but mostly he talked about Jesus' ministry and life. He reminded us that Jesus throughout his ministry sought out and ministered to the social out castes, the immigrants/foreigners, the lepers/the blind and those who suffered mental illnesses (which the gospel often calls folks who Jesus "caste out demons" from), etc. Certainly, Jesus' apostles were not the cream of society. They were tax collectors and prostitutes, fishermen and the lot. In short, Jesus ministered to the least, those that society shuns.

The great American poet of the 20th Century, Langston Hughes, once wrote a poem called "Down and Out". It starts like this:

Baby, if you love me
Help me when I'm down and out.
If you love me, baby,
Help me when I'm down and out,
I'm a po' gal
Nobody gives a damn about.

Mr. Hughes brought to our attention with his poem a poor woman who society neglects and too often forgets. My pastor talked about such a woman who had come to our church's food pantry, a woman who spent time in jail, as a result lost her job, for lying on a federal application so that she could get medical insurance for her family.

I had brought Mr. Hughes' poem to church this morning to encourage folks to sign up to work at the Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen this coming Saturday morning where it is our turn to serve a wholesome meal to the less fortunate.

After church, driving home I saw someone hitch hiking on the side of the road at her usual corner. I asked my wife, "Do you mind if I pick up Cathy and give her a ride to the store?"
Some call her Chatty Cathy. Seems she talks a lot.

Cathy is a learning disabled adult who lives in a foster home for similar learning disabled adults. I would guess her IQ would put her at the level of a 2nd or 3rd grader, maybe 8 or 9 years old.

After her room and board are paid by the state, Cathy has $44 a month left over to buy personal items: shampoo, tissue, underwear, etc. Since it is close the end of the month, and Cathy gets her $44 at the beginning of each month, she has exhausted the $44 and has nothing left until the beginning of the month comes around again. (I realize that in some countries, the poorest on our planet, $44 a month would be all that a family would have for everything.)

So, as I picked up Cathy, I helped her into the front seat of my Ford pickup. Cathy also has physical health problems along with her mental health issues. We had a pleasant chat as she rode the couple miles to the "big box" store, where she will spend her afternoon chatting with customers as they enter the store, and perhaps begging for a dollar or two to buy more of the personal items that I mentioned above that her $44 does not afford her.

Langston Hughes is not in the bible. Or is he? I suppose many of the psalms are poems of anguish.

So, let me conclude with the rest of Langston's poem as I ponder what Jesus' ministry was all about:

The credit man's done took ma clothes
And rent time's nearly here.
I'd like to buy a straightenin' comb,
An' I need a dime fo' beer.

I need a dime fo' beer.

As I helped Cathy down from my truck, so that she could take a seat on a bench outside the store and spend the rest of Easter Sunday greeting folks as they arrive to buy groceries or clothing or other sundry items, I open my wallet and gave her $3. (I probably should have given her the remaining $20, but did not.)

I think I would like to read a little more Langston Hughes this Easter Sunday. Looks like it will be a good day for it. The sun has just gone behind the clouds. The rains are closing in.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Father Dave's letter to Senator Bob Brown

I got wind of the fact that Greens leader, Bob Brown, was being put under pressure to bring rogue State Senate member, Lee Rhiannon, into line over her 'extremist politics', reflected in her daring to support a strategy of non-violent resistance (BDS) against the military occupation of Palestine! :shock:

It appalled me to think that the Greens too would let their integrity slide for the sake of political expediency! I wrote to Bob Brown, pleading with him not to abandon Lee Rhiannon in her courageous stand. Here's my email:

Dear Senator Brown,

I wish to add my heartfelt plea that you continue to give
full support to Lee Rhiannon. She has shown great courage
in supporting the global Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions
campaign (BDS) aimed at ending the Palestinian Occupation,
and she deserves the support of every Australian.

The Palestinian people have suffered enormously over so
many years through the Occupation of the West Bank and the
virtual imprisonment of the population of Gaza. The betrayal
of these suffering people by the major government parties of
our land – all for the sake of political expedience - is
frankly sickening! The Greens though have been a shining
light of integrity in this ever-darkening political landscape.
Let’s keep it that way!

My friend Bishop Riah Abu el Assal (former Anglican Archbishop
of Jerusalem) is fond of saying, “the path to peace in the
Middle East runs through Jerusalem”. Never has that been more
true than today. Peace in Israel/Palestine is the key to peace
in the Middle East, and the BDS campaign is the non-violent
strategy that the Palestinians themselves have chosen in order
to achieve this peace.

The ferocity of the response to Fiona Byrne (for Marrickville
Council’s BDS stand) and now the attacks on Ms Rhiannon, are
a clear reflection of the effectiveness of the BDS strategy.
Those with a vested interest in the Occupation are evidently
threatened by these exemplary women and their principled stand.

Stand with them, Senator! For the sake of the suffering people
of Palestine and for the sake of justice, screw your courage
to the sticking point (as the Bard would say) and don’t allow
erroneous accusations of anti-Semitism and the like to divert
you from the cause of justice.

You have my prayers, and you have my support in any form that
might be useful to you on this issue.

Yours in the Good Fight

Rev. David B. Smith, B.A.,B.Th., Dip. A.
Parish Priest, Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill
Professional Boxer, 6th degree black belt
Senior Trainer, Father Dave's Fight Club
Managing Director, Fighting Fathers Ministries
Marrickville Citizen of the Year 1994 & 2009
Nominated Australian of the Year 2004 & 2009

Unhappily, the email did no good. Lee Rhiannon was apparently taken to task by her leader in order to assauge the self-righteous anger of the dominant powers. God help us! :roll:

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Keith weighs in on where Australia is heading

Keith weighs in on the debate about the 'Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions' controversy in Marrickville, and uses this as a springboard to highlight broader concerns about where this 'lucky country' is heading!

Anytime anyone or any organisation or government criticises Israel they are immediately criticised and pressured as anti-semitic in an obviously organised way amid vociferous denials about that organisation from the various Jewish groups here. But I think there is a deeper and much more serious issue developing.

The USA has seen an increasing polarisation and loss of civility in its political debate for some time. Christians have been part of that as the Glenn Beck phenomenon clearly shows. The division and stridency that George Bush and John Howard encouraged and played on continues to grow here in Australia. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

I predict an increasing and increasingly acrimonious divide between those Christians who support the Greens and those who support people like Fred Nile. The choice will be clear, whether you are going to support the future or the past; Whether you are going to be inclusive or exclusive in your basic philosophy and approach to life; whether you will embrace or spend your life threatened by the Other.

The Religious Right is an organisation predicated on fear and grief at their loss of previous influence. You see the same phenomenon when you look at who is driving climate change denial. They are mostly old, rich, white men who fear a loss of power and money. There is no logic to any of this. It is pure emotion, so reasoned argument is useless. It is fear being expressed as politics. You see the same fear of change and loss of power at play on the issues of women in leadership in the church and the place of gays in society.

I expect the next ten years to be interesting and sad as the election of Barry O'Farrell will allow the Religious Right a voice they have not had before. I predict uncomfortable times ahead for those of us who value justice, fairness and inclusiveness.

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Friday, March 04, 2011

Marrickville BDS Campaign

This is an excerpt from Father Dave's lengthy post regarding Marrickville Council's historic resolution to support the international campaign of Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions against Israel until the Israeli government end the Palestinian Occupation.

Last December our local Council - Marrickville Council - took the courageous step of voting to support the Palestinian BDS Campaign. 'BDS' stands for 'Boycotts, Divestment, Sanctions' ...

  1. In particular recognition of its sister city relationship with Bethlehem and the strong support for this relationship from local progressive faith communities and other community members, Marrickville Council support the principles of the BDS global campaign and report back on any links the Council has with organisations or companies that support or profit from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine with a view to the Council divesting from such links and imposing a boycott on any future such links or goods purchases.

  2. Marrickville Council boycott all goods made in Israel and any sporting, institutional academic, government or institutional cultural exchanges.

  3. Marrickville Council write to the local State and Federal ministers (Carmel Tebbutt and Anthony Albanese) informing them of Council’s position and seeking their support at the State and Federal level for the global BDS movement.
... Councillors who both proposed and supported the resolution have come under enormous pressure from multiple angles! Party members are being put under pressure by senior officials, others are being taken to court, threatening emails and phone calls have poured in to the Council offices, etc.

In response to all this, my friend Jennifer Killen has started a campaign of support for our local Councillors, and she's written an Open Letter and is looking for more signatories. Happily, letters of support are now pouring in from all sectors of the community, including from local clergy and other community leaders. If you are willing to put your name to the Open Letter please email Jen with your support. Her email address and the Open Letter itself can be found at her Marrickville BDS Wordpress blog.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Father Dave on the logic of Islamophobia

I receive emails just about every day telling me how all Muslims are out to kill us!

It's hard to know where to start in responding to these emails. Should I really try to respond line by line or should I simply point out that nobody speaks for 'all Muslims' any more than anybody speaks for all of 'us' (whoever 'we' are supposed to be). The simple solution is just to hit 'delete' of course, but I find it almost impossible to do that. Such emails are slurs against my sisters and brothers in humanity. How can I just ignore them?

At the same time though I'm realising that it doesn't do much good to offer a logical argument in response, as these emails generally operate on a logic all of their own. Take the latest email I received:

A friend commends to me the testimoney of an army veteran - Lt. Colonel Allen West - who (according to this chain letter) is one of those rare individuals who has had the courage to stand up and tell the truth. West has served in Iraq and he knows the truth about Islam - that killing all non-Muslims is entirely the aim of the religion, and he's happy to go on the record saying so.

You can see West's 2-minute speech here if you're motivated, and you can even find a campaign blog here if you want to write a letter of support to West, commending him for his courage in speaking out. But what is not addressed in the speech and what is not called into question by any of his supporters is why we should listen to this guy?

What makes this guy an expert on Islam such that we should take his word above the word of any number of highly qualified people - Muslims and non-Muslims alike - who claim that Islam does not tell its adherants to kill anybody?

Is it because he's a veteran that he should be believed? I'm sure we could find any number of other veterans who would disagree with him. Indeed, his supporters themselves say that when West made his statement none of his veteran colleagues were saying anything of the sort. This is interpreted as cowardice on their part, of course, but it's far more likely that they simply disagreed with him.

Is it his service in Iraq that makes him such an authority? Of course it doesn't say how long he served in Iraq but his Yankee accent reminds us that it can only have been a small percentage of his life at best, and clearly he went there to fight the the Muslim enemy and not to do an objective study of Iraqi history. Certainly we would not normally consider such a man a credible authority on a religion he has never been a part of. So why is everyone so keen to listen to him now?

The answer is very simple. The reason Lt. Colonel Allen West is considered an authority on Islam is this: he's the only guy saying what we want to hear!

Countless numbers of better qualified people will disagree with him. Any number of academics and scholars and theologians who have devoted their whole lives to the study of Islam stand ready to contradict him. All this means nothing! West is the guy we want to listen to. Why? Because he tells us what we wanted to hear - that all Muslims are violent bastards whose sole aim is the destruction of the Western world.

Mind you, the part of the Quran that West quotes to prove his statement – “slay the idolaters wherever you find them” – even if divorced from its historical context, can't possibly be applied to Christians (or Jews), as such persons are not considered to be 'idolaters' in Islam but as mistaken monotheists. Anyone with a minimal knowledge of Islam would know this, but somehow that's happily overlooked here.

Anyway, I’m sure there must be homicidal Muslim persons doing the same sort of thing somewhere, and fanning the flames from the other side - emailing all the people they know and quoting Psalm 137:9“Happy is he who takes their children and dashes them against the rocks” – and claiming that this is a Biblical command to all Christians and Jews to kill all Muslim children. And I'm sure there are any number of Muslim people who are just as glad to hear anti-Chrsitian rhetoric as we are to hear anti-Muslim rubbish. However you figure it, this is not the way to peace!

Hmmm ... as I was about to post this I received another email from another friend, this time passing on to me the testimony of a Qantas Airlines pilot, Captain John Maniscalco, who likewise offers his words of wisdom, warning us about the dangers of Islam and the worldwide Muslim agenda.

I seem to remember that last time I heard from Captain Maniscalco he was supposed to be flying for American Airlines. Otherwise the message was the same. A little investigation of course shows that this email has been circulating for the best part of 10 years, that the author has taken on various identities, and that it is doubtful whether anyone by the name of Captain Maniscalco really has anything to do with its authorship.

And yet the email concludes with the all-caps exhortation: LET'S SATURATE THE FREE WORLD WITH THIS ONE!

That statement is depressing on so many levels!

Father Dave

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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Muslims, Jews and Christians working together at Christmas

More Yuletide reflections from Fighting Father Rob

Having just spent the past two days working at the Benton Harbor, Michigan Soup Kitchen, I find myself tired this Christmas morning. There are many things going through my head today: the recovering alcoholic who wrote/printed a short story and gave me a copy about how greatful he was to have found religion in his difficult road to sobriety. Then there is the fellow who dropped off a dozen or so bags of oranges just as I was getting ready to lock the doors on Christmas Eve. His comment: "They were on sale. I thought of the needy at the Soup Kitchen." (The Soup Kitchen is not in the best beighborhoods. Someone from the suburbs has to go out of their way to find it.)

The fellow with the oranges lifted my spirits, as did the recovering alcoholic. Neither have solved the world's problems of poverty, war, injustice, abuse, addiction, and more. But today is Christmas and sometimes small things grow into something much more.

I do not know what it was like for Mary and Joseph the day Jesus was born. None of us REALLY do. We can only surmise.

But I do know that it is written later in Jesus' life, the bible says he said, words to the effect:

"Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone."

On this Christmas Day, my family is still sleeping silently elsewhere in the house. The snow here in Michigan has covered the ground and is dripping from the trees. I can see the woods in the back of my house where sometimes deer, rabbit, and other creatures seek shelter and sustenance.

And I have awakened to my daily scan of the newspapers to read a story of Jews and Muslims in the Detroit area working together this Christmas in Christian missions, secular senior citizen centers, and elsewhere to provide comfort and relief to the vulnerable, the poor, the down on their luck: ... 1408/LOCAL

This Christmas morning, I am greatful for the warmth of my coffee and my house. I am greatful for my Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters who are working together about three hours drive from here to help the less fortunate. I am hopeful that a recovering alcoholic will find his Higher Power and has taken more than one step on the 12 steps he needs for recovery.

And to the fellow who dropped off the oranges at the Soup Kitchen, and the farmer the day before who dropped off 20 bags of apples, and for the Catholics and Episcopals/Anglicans who served warm soup, hot dogs, and Christmas cookies to the needy this past couple days, I say what Tiny Tim said:

"God bless us. Every one!"

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Christmas in West Michigan

Reflections from Rob Burgess about Christmas, homelessness and neighbourly love

We are in the midst of blizzard conditions here in West Michigan. A large Canadian cold front, those poor Canadians get blamed for all of our bad, winter weather, has just arrived with a vengeance.

A week ago, I had dinner at my pastor's with his family, another couple, my wife, and a homeless fellow who had been sleeping on our church's doorstep. The couple had gathered together enough funds to get the fellow a bus ticket to Florida, where he will spend his winter doing whatever homeless people do. We got him a hotel room for a couple nights before he left so he had a chance to clean and sober up, at least for a couple nights before his long trip across country. And fortunately he won't freeze to death sleeping on our church steps. But tonight, I worry about him in his new "home" of Daytona Beach, nonetheless.

Yesterday, I was in training at our local Soup Kitchen. Our director is in need of a couple weeks vacation over the Christmas season. The assistant is an 80+ year old who should not have to work seven days a week in her absence. So, I was tapped on the shoulder to step in and supervise for a few days.

As I was talking to our clients before and after lunch yesterday, I felt blessed to be in their presence. I also felt overwhelmed by the responsibility that I would have, if only for a few days. It is one thing to serve on the Soup Kitchen Board as Treasurer, to volunteer there several times a year with our church group, etc. It is another thing to have the responsibility to ensure the operation of the kitchen goes smoothly in caring for the 150 or so people the kitchen serves on a daily basis.

Some of our clients suffer from alcoholism or addiction. Some from a variety of mental disorders. I am not sure how Australia takes care of folks with these mental disabilities, but we here in the United States don't do a good job of taking care of those who suffer such maladies. Too many rotate between jail/prison and the streets without proper psychiatric or psychological care.

I did meet a 80+ year old veteran yesterday. I connected with him right a way mostly because while I had visited Hiroshima in 1975, he claims to have been there just after the atomic bomb dropped in 1945. Since he knew details about the bombing that one would only know having been there, I took him at his word. You could see the tears well up in his eyes even after 65 years as he told the story of victims of the bombing who were reduced to nothing more than a shadow on the side of a stone wall. He was a well spoken and gentle fellow. I have found myself asking myself (and God) why this fellow, a decorated veteran, has ended up in a soup kitchen with me some 65 years later.

I sometimes have a cynical side so I told my pastor upon arrival at church today that I now know a good place for bishops. You see, the veteran's name was Mr. Bishop. I apologize to all of the bishops out there, but I sometimes think they forget what it is like to be Mr. Bishop. Too much emphasis on church bureaucracy and fund raising and not enough compassion for the Mr. Bishop's and the other least of the world.

So, tonight I look outside my warm and toasty family room with our Christmas tree just here to my right. I am blessed to be here. Yesterday, I felt blessed to be in the midst of Mr. Bishop and all of the other guys and gals (and children) at our soup kitchen. Today, I hope that they have found a warm bowl of food for their bellies and a safe place for the night with a warm bed.

Father Dave, I appreciate your mention of the story or Jesus and the woman who washed his feet with her hair. I must admit there is a part of me that wonders out loud, like Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, if we do enough for the poor:

"Woman your fine ointment
Brand new and expensive
Should have been saved for the poor
Why has it been wasted?
We could have raised maybe
Three hundred silver pieces or more
People who are hungry
People who are starving
Matter more
Than your feet and hair..."

I leave you with those thoughts as I ponder the fate of the poor in Michigan during a winter's blizzard:

"Everything's alright yes, everything's alright yes." ...

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rob Burgess meets Muhammad Ali

Rob Burgess shares with us a tale of his brief encounter with boxing legend Muhammad Ali, and gives us some background on Ali's perhaps lesser known humanitarian convictions and charitable works.

The humanitarian side of Muhammad Ali

As boxing fans, I thought you might enjoy the public service announcement below featuring Muhammad Ali. Mr. Ali has owned a home in the county where I reside for many years.

(It is my understanding that he no longer calls Michigan home and has moved to Arizona. It is not unusual for folks to retire to Arizona where there is a drier climate than in Michigan, a state that is surrounded on three sides by the Great Lakes. However, his home in Berrien Springs, Michigan remains. By the way, rumor has it that Al Capone resided in the house before Mr. Ali, but that is another story.)

Mr. Ali's house is located about 20-30 minutes drive from where I type this.

As a young man growing up watching the Saturday afternoon fights on TV with my dad, I enjoyed Mr. Ali's (i.e., Cassius Clay's) braggadocios nature. I also appreciated that anyone who could stand toe-to-toe with Frazier, Foreman, and Liston was a strong person. I don't care how good you are at "rope-a-dope." A hit from Frazier or Foreman is a hit.

But then I learned to appreciate Mr. Ali even more. During the 1960's, Mr. Ali gave up his championship boxing title and declared himself a conscientious objector and against the war in Vietnam. This was a controversial affair at the time. Many, especially those of the World War II generation, were disappointed that Mr. Ali had not followed in the steps of other famous people, like Elvis Presley, who joined the military and were basically PR men for the military during their time in service.

However, for many in my generation, we admired Mr. Ali even further for his convictions. As a Navy veteran, I never fired a gun once in my four years in the military. I was a radio and TV broadcaster. I joined because my father, who was a church custodian, could not afford the tuition to send me to college. So, I sympathized with Mr. Ali's convictions and beliefs that the war in Vietnam was not a just war and the Vietnamese, a poor people in SE Asia, were not an enemy we should be fighting. In my opinion, Mr. Ali did not hide nor evade the draft. I believe he expressed his Muslim faith as he understood it at the time: a faith of peace.

Personally, I first crossed paths with Mr. Ali about 16 years ago. It was really a chance encounter. I was in a hurry to get to a meeting with a school principal in the school district where I work. As I hurried up the front walk to the school, I passed a well dressed gentleman and a lady. Both were in business attire. One of them was carrying what appeared to me to be a salesman's sample case.

I quickly passed this couple as I headed into the school hurrying to my meeting. As I approached the school, one of my friends who is a special education teacher, was in the doorway with her class of children. They were all waving through the glass as I approached. I had only been in the district for a few months and was thinking "Boy, they like me here at this school. What a great place!"

As I opened the door, my teacher friend said:

"Rob, you just walked past Muhammad Ali!"

I turned and sure enough, the former World Champ was just a few steps behind with his lady colleague. I held the door for Muhammad Ali that day. It was humbling realizing that the teacher and kids were waving at Mr. Ali and not me. Still, I got to hold the door for the Greatest!

Mr. Ali has become good friends with one of the elementary school teachers in that same school. Her husband is an executive with the Whirlpool Corporation which has its headquarters near by. I believe that Mr. Ali had participated in several local non-profit boards and fund raising activities along with this fellow, such as at the local Boys and Girls Club.

That day that Mr. Ali was coming to school I found that out. Mr. Ali loved coming into classrooms full of school children and bringing his bag of magic tricks with him. The "salesman's case" that they were carrying was really his magician's bag. He obviously loved seeing small children smile, laugh, and giggle. Until his health failed him more completely, Mr. Ali visited classroom's throughout the county and shared in the children's joy as he made things disappear or re-appear. (I don't think he would have given Harry Houdini a run for his money, but the hugs and joy the children shared with him showed that they appreciated his talents.)

Not many know of Mr. Ali's love for children. I thought you should.

Muhammad Ali's involvement in raising funds for the hungry of the world is another reason that Mr. Ali is the Greatest (even if his health has obviously deteriorated sharply):

Having seen Mr. Ali as a young and vibrant Cassius Clay and then as a distinguished gentleman who loved doing magic tricks for children, it is hard to watch Mr. Ali's health deteriorate so greatly. However, the fact that he is still willing to put himself out in the public for a cause to benefit poor people in Haiti, who still suffer and are without proper housing in the after math of a devastating earthquake, well, that shows me that Mr. Ali is The Greatest.

So for those Fighting Fathers out there that hope to "float light a butterfly and sting like a bee", remember what Mr. Ali once said:

"I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world."


From Southwest Michigan
Rob Burgess

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Dan talks about "Food for Feeling"

On the subject of Stimulus, Emotion and Reaction, Dan gives us a run-down of the rational mind vs the emotional mind in terms of the decision making process.

How we decide

There is failure in thinking too much, trying to be too rational, coming up with too many reasons. We are scared by options that seem equivalent, it gives us a feeling of uncertainty.

Rational decisions or gut decisions? It is more a conversation between several parts of the brain.

Rational brain:
Pre-frontal cortex: memory, self control, will power, self gratification. Has a heavy burden. Can handle an average of 7 pieces of information, more than that and it begins to short circuit.

Emotional brain:
Insular brain: processes pain, loss/cost.
Amygdala: fear.
Hippocampus: olfactory sense of taste and smell.
Pattern detection.
Superior information sponge.

Autopilot and choking:
Novice golfers do better when they think about their swing. professional golfers choke when they focus, they lose contact with their training by taking a skill that performs better on autopilot and move it over to their "deliberated brain".

Choosing art:
Van Gough vs photo of kittens. the thinking brain chooses kittens. The non thinking brain chooses Van Gough. When you have to explain your decision (by searching for rational reasons) you override subtle (unexplainable) preferences.

Placebo expectation ie. the placebo effect:
Is powerful.
The pre-frontal cortex is more active, the insular becomes less dominant.
Subjects agreee when told a bottle of wine is expensive when it is in reality very cheap. Pre-frontal expectations are more active. what we perceive is a product of what we think we are going to perceive. We taste what we expect and have less regard for the rest of the information.

Meta cognition:
Thinking about thinking. an epiphany comes from an obscure circuit of cells in the right hemisphere, it comes when we are relaxed. There is tremendous pay offs when being focused on not being focused.

Men more rational, women more intuitive?
Economic exchange game;
Men tend to "shut off" after their trust being violated. Women tend to keep thinking about it afterwards. Pursuing the gross generalisation via social interaction, that it may have some basis in the brain may be because woman are more sensitive to social interactions, simply because they think about it more.

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