Thursday, February 19, 2004

Blank Minds

George Monbiot - The sinister grip that Disney exerts on children's imaginations may finally loosen:

"Walt Disney's characters are sinister because they encourage us, like those marchers, to promote the hegemony of the corporations even when we have no intention of doing so. He captured a deep stream of human consciousness, branded it and, when we were too young to understand the implications, sold it back to us. Comcast's hostile takeover bid suggests that the power of his company to seize our imaginations is declining. A giant media corporation may be about to become even bigger, but if the attack means that Disney is losing its ability to shape the minds of the world's children, this is something we should celebrate."

Its hard to know where to start but the last line sums up what is a very large handicap for the Left - a continuing belief that our minds are formed by society, otherwise known as the Blank Slate theory. (But mayebe things are changing if people such as No Right Turn are reading Pinker).

Its all Walt Disney's fault that we do not revolt against the "hegemony of the corporations", indeed we "promote" this "even when we have no intention of doing so". All because as children we were exposed to the sinister cartoon characters of Disney.

This sort of grand theorising is common amongst those who rage against big business and globalisation but what is equally common is the complete lack of evidence. Monbiot's theory presumes much about how the mind works, how children learn, but nowhere does he actually present any scientific evidence for his view.

His biggest problem if he tried to do so would be that their is none.

Although on a slightly different topic this article - How our brains help us understand other people - has some interesting comments on how young minds already have a great deal of structure:

"Knowing about the behavioral relationship between looking or seeing and acting is undeniably an important prerequisite of the ability to reason about other minds, a critical part of stage one, the knowledge about minds that two-year-olds already have."

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