Monday, November 9, 2009

Brooks Rematch: Choice and Cultural Psychopathology

Brooks' latest takes on the Ft. Hood massacre. I liked my comment and decided to submit it as a formal letter to the editor. (It worked before).

"Brooks sets up a false dichotomy when he describes Hasan as being either driven by psychological and emotional disturbances, or having selected from cultural and religious narratives. One is certainly at the mercy of one's mental state. But isn't one just as compelled by their cultural state as well? That is, aren't we all forced to choose from a limited palette of memories and social experiences?

Surely we are only able to "choose" one or another narrative to the degree that we possess the mental and experiential awareness to do so. This is why entire nations follow similar religions. This is why we raise our children the best we can.

Hasan chose his narrative, to the extent that he selected ideas that appealed to his experience and impulses. But this "choice" was no more his own than a neurological disorder or underdeveloped cerebral cortex would have been."

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