We were all gung ho to give Ukraine some Polish MiG-29 fighter jets … until we weren’t.
I guess you can say that an emotional desire to help Zelensky in his plight to save Ukraine was overruled by a concern that it might give Putin a reason to escalate the war.
Or maybe it was fear of Russia nuking us that overruled a reasonable desire to save Ukraine.
Who the hell knows?
If you’ve never been of two minds on an issue then you’re not human. It happens to all of us. In fact, we’re almost always of two minds on things.
The human brain is actually made up of two systems that couldn’t be more different.
We have a sophisticated neocortex capable of complex reasoning and judgement that’s built on top of a primitive limbic system that responds to emotional stimulus and survival instincts.
Somehow, over millions of years of evolution, our minds have come up with a way for this crazy kluge of new and old to work together. That is, when it does work together. And therein lies the rub.
The fact that such a sensitive system works at all is truly mind boggling, so it should come as no surprise that it often breaks down … in some people more than others. Take Kamala Harris’s inappropriate laughter and Joe Biden’s chronic gaffs, for example.
But I digress.
To use an overly simplistic metaphor, if you think of your head as a computer, your mind is the software and your brain is the hardware.
Just as Windows 11 and Intel’s latest processors are built on top of legacy DOS code and x86 instructions from 40 years ago, our contemporary minds and brains are built on top of chemical processes and neural structures that date back to caveman times.
Integrating both are monumental tasks. Which is why computers have so many flaws. Likewise for humans.
Where the metaphor falls short is that each human is born with unique DNA and grows up with a unique set of experiences, further complicating the complex symphony of thoughts and emotions that each one of us must orchestrate every day of our lives.
That’s why we mostly end up making a lot of noise and only rarely make any sense at all, let alone come up with a beautiful song, a brilliant epiphany or a monumental decision.
I guess that’s a long way of saying that, when a nation is being destroyed and we may be on the brink of nuclear war, it would sure be nice to have someone in charge who can pull it all together and make smart, timely decisions.
Unfortunately for Ukraine, the U.S. and the world, we do not.
Image credit Dmitriy Pichugin