I read somewhere that there is a component in the human brain, it may be the amygdala, which is quite susceptible to strong appeals to emotion. Once the concept or ideological assertion has been laid down, sedimented in memory – it becomes very difficult to change someone’s belief in the validity of the original assertion. Perhaps this explains in some ways the appeal of political ideologies which have clearly unfortunate consequences for many of those who support them ? A wily political tactician may even appeal to the emotions on specific issues, say – identity, patriotism, continuity, strength; meanwhile they simultaneously work against the better interests of those whose votes and minds they have captured, as though through emotional hypnotic suggestion to an unwitting neuropsychological susceptibility.
Technology does not create polarisation and ideological friction, it mediates it. The fault, as it goes, lies not in the stars but in ourselves. Insecurity, tribalism, the hypnotic narcosis of ideological faith, the spectacle of difference, disagreement, conflict and all the dissonance this brings… everything we blame the technology for is already there between our ears. The technology is an enabler but it does not explain or cause rising polarisation – it merely facilitates this process.