Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hulk smash! But not Hulk fault

Updated, June 7, 11:00 pm - a scientific take on the news, from reader John (and thank you).

Great. "Intermittent Explosive Disorder." (w/t to the Coalition of the Swilling)

CHICAGO (AP) — To you, that angry, horn-blasting tailgater is suffering from road rage. But doctors have another name for it — intermittent explosive disorder — and a new study suggests it is far more common than they realized, affecting up to 16 million Americans.

"People think it's bad behavior and that you just need an attitude adjustment, but what they don't know ... is that there's a biology and cognitive science to this," said Dr. Emil Coccaro, chairman of psychiatry at the University of Chicago's medical school.

Road rage, temper outbursts that involve throwing or breaking objects, and even spousal abuse can sometimes be attributed to the disorder, though not everyone who does those things is afflicted.

These people seem determined to erase the concept of free will and reduce man to a bundle of impulses and drives - or as Ms. Sister so eloquently puts it:

The last thing anyone needs is more excuses. McDonald's made me eat it, Philip Morris made me smoke it, Budweiser made me drink it, XBox made me sit on it, GM made me kill it, my tough parents made me eat some more, the Devil made me do it, Tinky Winky made me love purple...on and on, ad nauseum. And now another made for Law & Order excuse syndrome is added to the burgeoning B$ pile.
We are totally getting snowed, here. Scientists are finding more and more biological tendencies, so much so that soon everyone will be "afflicted" at least once. This is news? "I do not understand myself... The very thing that I hate, that thing I do... For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive... Wretched man that I am! Who will save me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:15 and etc.)

It's not that science ought not to study these things - the knowledge of how helps us live healthier and happier - but we ought not to be deceived. We've always known that some people have tempers and others tend to eat too much or lie around the hut while sensible people are hunting for the weekly caribou. We've always known people who can't handle it when the dry goods store is low on feed, or have an eye for the daughters of the shop owner. Neighbors have had their moments from the first moment people started having neighbors. They sensibly decided to suck it up and get on with life, and that meant mastering their tendencies.

The opposite action - to give up in the face of our impulses - was also known to us, under the name of "sloth." But taking the easy way is to accept bondage: first, to oneself, as one's appetites drive one's choices, and second, to society - for people who refuse to manage themselves must be managed from without, by laws and lawkeepers. In the end, to accept personal slavery is to pave the road for civil slavery, and society casts a very wide net. Soon the Devil won't be able to make us do anything because we won't be free to do anything.

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