November 12, 2012

"Attention is not some monolithic brain process. There are different types of attention..."

"... and they use different parts of the brain. The sudden loud noise that makes you jump activates the simplest type: the startle. A chain of five neurons from your ears to your spine takes that noise and converts it into a defensive response in a mere tenth of a second — elevating your heart rate, hunching your shoulders and making you cast around to see if whatever you heard is going to pounce and eat you. This simplest form of attention requires almost no brains at all and has been observed in every studied vertebrate."

Excerpt from "Why Listening Is So Much More Than Hearing."

That passage calls to mind the subject of "incitement" in the constitutional law of free speech. Here's Justice Brandeis in 1927:
Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence. Only an emergency can justify repression. Such must be the rule if authority is to be reconciled with freedom. Such, in my opinion, is the command of the Constitution. It is therefore always open to Americans to challenge a law abridging free speech and assembly by showing that there was no emergency justifying it.
There's a distinction between what is heard and what is listened to.

***

I Googled "incitement and free speech" to get a nice clear link to insert in the sentence between the 2 links above. Virtually everything that came up on the first page of results had to do with the "Innocence of Muslims" video/Muhammad cartoons.

14 comments:

Michael K said...

Free speech will always be in competition with lies. The winner is usually determined by the listener. AS we saw last week, the trend is not good.

pm317 said...

To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.

How did we get Obamacare? Or anything else adverse about Obama -- nothing to see here, move on. The rich and unique democratic traditions of this country are at stake. But the morons who voted for him will never get it.

EDH said...

"There's a distinction between what is heard and what is listened to."

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence.

Shouting Thomas said...

Cases like the "reprehensible video maker" present controversial constitutional issues only when a Republican is president.

When Democrats put a guy in jail, you figure there's gotta be something to the charges. Right?

If we just give the Jihadis what they want, they might decide to be nice and stop killing us.

shiloh said...

"Free speech will always be in competition with lies. The winner is usually determined by the listener. AS we saw last week, the trend is not good."

MK, feel free to keep whining the next (4) years ...

>

Althouse, are all your threads gonna turn into a conservative pity party er therapy session? Rhetorical.

pm317 said...

Moron.

shiloh said...

Projection!

Shouting Thomas said...

shiloh is back with his Predictable Comments assembled by Random Standard Party Line Generator.

And, it thinks it's funny.

Rusty said...

EDH said...
"There's a distinction between what is heard and what is listened to."

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence.


He's putting damnit!

Rusty said...

No. After reading your contributions over the years, rational people have concluded you're pretty much an idiot.

shiloh said...

All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest.

Lie-la-lie...

pm317 said...

When Bush took us to Iraq war on a non-existent WMD, there was a lot more chatter and lot more evidence of media countering Bush admin talking points. Even then I remember shouting at the TV whenever Bush came on. Media is orders of magnitude worse now. What do we do? Just as seen in Justice Brandeis' quote we need more of this:

" If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."

We could not fire the 'hidden agenda' president but we can at least raise awareness on the media.

Writ Small said...

Something I was reminded of in the thread the other day on memories of Amsterdam.

Years ago, I spent a good part of a day in the Anne Frank Museum, which is the actual site the diarist's hiding place before she was discovered and shipped off to a concentration camp.

At the end of the somber tour, there were a number of interactive exhibits, one of which was dedicated to the concept of free speech. I sat in a darkened room with maybe a dozen others. In front of each of us were concealed voting buttons and against one wall was a large video screen. A short video was played that spoke of the spread of Nazism through Europe. It then described a tension between expressing one's views and violating another's right not to be offended.

After the intro, various examples of contemporary, potentially offensive speech were shown. After each showing, the recorded narrator invited the audience to vote on whether it represented an expression that should be allowed based on the principle of free expression or disallowed because the principle of the freedom to not be offended was violated. While your hands were shrouded while voting, the results were displayed using lit light bulbs seen be all. Raised American, I voted in all cases to allow the speech. One of the last examples was an ugly American minister making the "God hates fags" case. There was only a single lit bulb that this form of speech should be allowed - mine.

I learned the universality of free speech was actually, mainly an American ideal.

pm317 said...

There is a lot of chatter on other threads and elsewhere blaming Romney (and his ORCA, heh). But I want to explore who voted for Obama. They were not startled by his record on the economy, not by any stretch of the imagination. There was a deafening silence from him on the state of the economy and jobs if you discount the lies.

Why isn’t soul searching underway on the left? When the personality at the center of the cult leaves the stage in four years, Democrats will own his results without the benefit of his appeal. "

{Meade/Ann, feel free to delete this if you think it is threadjacking. But after all the thread is about free speech and listening.}