How a Game of Cricket Helped Me Understand Human Impulses!

Posted on November 21, 2018

One of the things that has been of interest to me over the last couple of years, is how some people operate their brain. Are they lazy, wearing ignorance as a bad of honour, or is there such a thing as just being plain thick, a kind of gene deficiency in the frontal cortex?

Obviously, I am not a psychologist, but I find it hard to buy into people simply being thick because of their genes. I think it is more a case of not having the gumption to lead the brain beyond its instant impulses when taking in information.

Back in the summer, I made an embarrassing error of judgement in a cricket match that led to being run out and this, in turn, led to me acting on impulse. I am ashamed to say my instant reaction was to blame opponents, swear a lot and throw my bat at a barbecue. I was behaving like there had been a miscarriage of justice.

It wasn’t my finest moment and within minutes I was full of remorse and after giving greater analysis to the incident, I realised it was entirely my fault and I apologised to all and sundry. It didn’t stop the perception that I was a bit of twat and it remains an incident that occasionally comes into my head just as I am dozing off. This results in anguished caveman noise emanating from my deep within my throat for which, I have no real explanation.

If I had taken ten seconds to assess my error, I would have realised I had made a misjudgement and walked off admonishing no one except myself. It would have been internal admonishment too, not foul language and a cricket bat being used as a spear.

That’s the problem with acting on impulse you see; it is littered with a multitude of potential embarrassing and disastrous scenarios.

If you look around you on social media, in the workplace, or at social events, impulsive behaviour is a dominant factor in human behaviour. In my experience, Facebook and public houses seem to be favourites for impulsive non-factual information.

Impulsive Nonsense: The sort of non factual rubbish on Facebook

This behaviour can only mean two things. Either the individuals who are spouting nonsense have taken it on board without the time to research it, or worse, they have the time to research, but do not bother. This may be because they see everything put in front of them is being fact and will shout anyone down who queries their assumptions.

If we were to go back to the 1970’s (something some people appear to want to do) acting on the information individuals were being fed, was far more understandable. There were establishment influenced newspapers and just three heavily censored television channels to garner information from. Unless you were inclined invest in encyclopaedias or you made heavy use of your local library, easy information was scarce.

Now, information, history and statistics are instantly available on your phone, iPad or PC and there are a multitude of different factual documentaries on television if you are prepared to look. A statement of alleged fact can be ratified or rectified within minutes of clicking a button. The internet has been a revelation for me as there is no limits to what you can learn (including how to behave on a cricket pitch).

However, people still choose to behave on impulse and politicians and the media continue to play on it. All around there are assumptions that all Muslims are Islamic extremists, immigrants cost the country millions, Brexit will save the NHS, the Labour Party were actually National Socialists (Nazis) Facebook has banned bacon sandwiches and poppies, local councils have been told people to take down St George flags, unemployed single mothers earn a fortune off the state and have 70” HD TV’s and Britain is bracing itself for a month of blizzards.

This is all achieved by using one miniscule example of any of the above to play on the impulses of millions to make them believe that these postings are the cast iron truth and no research is required. What I don’t know is whether not having the wit to check the facts is a mental disability that won’t allow the brain to go past the front cortex? Is that the case or is it just a desire to be thick as a badge of honour, because it makes the individual look tough?

There was a brilliant sketch by Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse a few years back where the character played by Paul Whitehouse found it difficult to admit his intellect to his more impulsive pal. To me, it kind of summed why Britain is in its current plight where economic realists are desperately trying to fight off a populist movement led by people like Jacob Rees Mogg, who makes millions from disaster capitalism and aggressive tax avoidance.

Philosophical Fishing: Harry Enfield & Paul Whitehouse

We are a nation that is being driven by self-serving right wing ideologues who know how to get their way by activating Darwinian impulses on the masses (£350 Million for the NHS on a red bus etc). However, what is happening as I write this is that after two years, it is dawning on many people that there is not likely to be Brexit utopia. Others, because of another human condition, will carry on behaving like turkeys ticking the ‘Yes’ box in a Christmas referendum.

People need to start being braver with how they think and who has the biggest investment in this flawed ideology or, before they know it, they may well be stood by a grave realising they have just dug it for themselves. The EU has flaws but a ‘No Deal’ Brexit has the potential for the kind of economic chaos Jacob Rees Mogg’s dad used to write money making books about.

With the human brain, apathy is only happy when it wins without a fight.

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