Intent to Write a Letter of Intent

  • Intent to Write a Letter of Intent

    Posted by Jeff Verge on November 7, 2022 at 12:59 am

    I’m writing a challenging letter and would appreciate your thoughts. Modern media are lost in their maps, and I say that as someone critical even before reading Amusing Ourselves to Death thirty years ago. It’s not news that defending status quo is paramount, or that guardrails funnel our thoughts into well-grooved lanes, but with Dr. McGilchrist’s revelation the problem of Narrowism<sup>TM</sup> appears unfathomably deep. Even if it’s accidental, correction can’t happen in a bureaucratic mindset of strategic ignorance.

    Bored with map analysis, I intend to disengage. An analysis might be valid, but when describing only isolated slices of reality it’s also trivial. The map becomes the terrain: For example, the left-right political spectrum is a line and not a spectrum, which doesn’t actually exist, and on it no real person actually maps. That map is increasingly misleading, as is the discourse derived from it. We splash in shallow pools of mapthink<sup>TM</sup>.

    I’m writing a love and goodbye letter to the New York Times. Once upon a time I wrote a handful of letters To The Editor and, surprisingly, found myself heard and understood. The experience was transforming, a heroic journey you could call it, and it set me on a better path. But barring success with this letter, it’ll be time to leave that world. Certainly they’ll provide excellent documentation of the end of the earth, but climate collapse and the social chaos that security agencies are already warning about will force profit-seeking media to embrace Disaster Capitalism. For as long as the status quo map is paramount over the deteriorating terrain, we’re stuck in yesterday’s schema. For as long as thinking outside the guardrails is verboten, the guardrails form the track we are tied to.

    My objective is to persuade the publisher to showcase Dr. McGilchrist’s theory, for NYT’s millions of smart daily readers. At the very least that would be a book review, although ideally it could be a review coupled with a profile, followed by extended conversations where the ideas get debated across different departments and opinion silos, explicitly and/or implicitly. The chances are slim, but I learned a lot from the NYT and it feels right to at least try to return the favour before I cancel.

    With a disclaimer that Dr. McGilchrist is not responsible for my views, I intend to grab some third rails with both hands. The format in my (third) first draft is to spell out common “left wing” and “right wing” LH versions of an issue, then show how we argue about incomplete maps that highlight different features. I might try RH views too, if that’s possible without any kumbaya. Also, I’d mention what I do with my own map, which is encode into the map that it’s only a map, creating a portal back to RH mode. As well, I’ll describe difficulties and advantages in finding hemisphere balance. For example, a difficulty is the LH taking over in survival situations, making it prone to hijacking attention and never letting go. This is problematic in an atmosphere of always-on identity politics, since we process identity threats as mortal threats. However, an advantage for realignment is that’s how the brain evolved and longs to be, and for aeons the proper alignment was the default.

    As background, I want to float something here that I don’t think I’ve heard before. (I’m only on Ch6 though…) Recalling the image of the bird grabbing a seed on a sandy beach, while at the same time scanning for predators, what happens AFTER the RH senses danger? In my experience, whether it’s fight or flight, the LH is invited to take control. What is the implication of LH control for both food-grasping AND threat situations? As I think Dr. McGilchrist and many others allude to, if we built a bureaucratic world based on a misread of evolution, atomic-dog-eat-dog in the eternal war of all against all, that’s a world of unceasing threat and hypervigilance. If chronic insecurity was burned-in by design from warehouse floor to corner office, to manufacture Behaviourist production and consumption predictability, we can expect to be blinded by our narrow beam spotlights.

    Any thoughts? Advice? Thanks in advance. If you have thoughts but don’t want them here, send a message and we can find a way to communicate directly, perhaps phone or email or zoom. It’ll be a couple weeks before I’m done grinding this out, probably longer. As I say it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever attempted. A favourite image from Orwell is that a writer should be a slightly unwelcome guerrilla fighter, manoeuvring on the flanks of the regular army. I’ve written very little in my life, but when I do I aim for a high degree of difficulty, holding to hope the ring of truth will be heard. Thanks again.

    Jeff Verge replied 1 year ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Don Salmon

    November 9, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    Hi Jeff:

    I share your desire to make some difference in writing to the Times. I’m not sure why you’d want to write to the editor though. You have about a 90% chance of not being responded to, and if by chance, you do receive a response, it will most likely be empty and formal.

    on the other hand, I understand the readers’ comments are among the most well-read in the paper. I regularly recognize top-name, internationally known leaders in physics, psychology, philosophy, economics and more among the commenters. Often in a column on the Supreme Court, you’ll get lawyers who have argued before the court offering clarifications of what the author of the column didn’t understand!

    But how do you get any attention? There’s now about 10-20 regular commenters who often, to my mind, write bland, uninteresting comments, but everyone knows their name so they automatically get “recommends” which gets them to the top of “Readers Picks,” which means most readers of the comments will see them.

    I find if I simply submit a comment on my own, chances are at best it might get 5-15 recommends. Do you want to know the secret to GUARANTEE you’ll get a lot of attention?

    Look for the top comments. They will often get anywhere from 200 to over 1000 recommends. Reply to them with a very well written, apropos answer and you’ll not only get attention you may start a conversation.

    Note that the Times moderators often do NOT send an email notification. So save the URL and check back regularly. It’s easy to find your comment as it will still be a reply to a comment among the top picks.

    Be aware that some 80% or so of Times readers are VERY LH and will not take kindly to your suggestion there are any limitations to LH thought. They will say all problems in the world are due to uneducated, non-LH thinkers.

    On the other hand, there are around 20% whole brain thinkers who will love what you write.

    Having said that, if you want to try your hand at crafting a reply (you can craft it ahead of time and then edit it to fit just about any particular article), feel free to post one here. If for some reason I don’t get a notification, feel free to write me at http://www.RememberToBe.Life

  • Jeff Verge

    November 10, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    Hello Don

    I don’t want to say too much or overstate my chances. If I have, say, a 10% chance or even a 1% chance of getting through to the publisher, that’s the lever I’ll push on. I have a sui generis situation and, how shall I say, name recognition. I have, maybe, if at all, one shot only, if I can marry content and style in a way that appeals to an editor. If I do have that shot, it’s because I didn’t pepper the people in the books and letters departments with banal attempts to “market my personal brand”, which base transactionalism the world is drowning enough in already.

    My goal is to get Dr. McGilchrist on their radar. If, as I believe, momentum for the theory is growing, then perhaps the NYT calculus vis-a-vis the status quo will tip them into wanting to lead rather than be on the lagging side of history. Even if I were to get through, it would be reward enough to see Dr. McGilchrist’s theory get a mainstream boost among their intellectual readership. I wouldn’t expect a personalized email in any case, and besides, as the saying goes, that and $35US would get me a cup of coffee in New York.

    It’s counterintuuitive, but you sound confident and sure so I’m intrigued: Do you know of a case where starting a fire in the trenches of the NYT comments section led to a concrete action in the real world?

Log in to reply.