Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Monk, the Cow and Emotional Contagion

Well now it's my turn to be confused.

The original story about the Monk is, I believe, Eastern in origin. The moral of the story is about triumphing over adversity.

Pete Vere's (a Canadian canon lawyer) retelling of it the first time around was clever in it's application (but not nearly as funny as my re-write!)

The latest version, here and here, complete with racist references strikes me as offensive on several levels. I don't get it and I'm quite surprised at the absence of comments, protests or questions.

Mad cow disease, mentioned in the latest unfunny vesion is known technically as Bovine spongiform encephalopathy. In humans its called (new variant) Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. The symptoms include rapidly progressive dementia, leading to memory  loss, personality changes and hallucinations. The fable left me wondering if one can get similar symptoms by dwelling ad nauseam on the negative?

Neurologist Richard Restak offers this advice:

"If you want to accomplish something that demands determination and endurance, try to surround yourself with people possessing these qualities. And try to limit the time you spend with people given to pessimism and expressions of futility. Unfortunately, negative emotions exert a more powerful effect in social situations than positive ones, thanks to the phenomena of emotional contagion."

This sounds harsh, and it is, but it's based on facts as the neuroscientists interpret them today. This is not new age self-help--it's simply the way brains work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you 'confused' enough now?