KJ Hannah Greenberg

More Irrational Tendencies

Amazingly, we can account for why the world allows narrow-minded propensities to overcome common sense. Simply, humans are wired to be unreasonable. Our proclivities include egocentric thinking, socio-centric thinking, wishful thinking, self-validated thinking, and selfish thinking (“What prevents us from thinking critically?”) [sic].

These disavowals of veracity don’t have to be understood or recognized; they exist without our acknowledgment. Nonetheless, these “invisible” leanings undermine our mental clarity, especially the upshots of our decision-making; simply, they predispose us to live witlessly.

First, in terms of egocentric thinking, i.e., of thinking that “[w]hat [we] believe is true, even though [we] have never examined the basis of [our] belief” (“What prevents us”), we award credibility to media-generated “facts” without second guessing them. For example, the general public readily accepts regurgitated “reports” about the nature of “good” and “evil;” we unthinkingly succumb to mind-numbing bombast.

[Viz., w]hen it comes to Israel, we already know that brains go out the window, replaced by moral insanity and hatred that prevent understanding why Israelis are fighting. This moral absurdity allows people to shed tears when Israelis are killed and subsequently declare that Israel has the right to defend itself, but then, when Israel does exactly that, these same people immediately condemn Israel and call for it to stop[. Contrariwise, when] civilians are killed in Gaza… the terrorist organization knows that no one is going to bother to ask why it embeds itself in civilian infrastructure, why it keeps hostages in apartments, or why it shoots rockets from children’s bedrooms. Instead, [it] knows that people will blame Israel and Israel alone (Katz).

Bear in mind that the characters who are unacquainted with “which river” or “what sea” about which they’re chanting and who gamely join campus tent cities because it’s fashionable to do so, are the same shadow souls who kowtow to mass and convergent media’s influence(rs). In their code of ethics, anything that feels good is necessarily good; behaviors needn’t make sense.

Second, per socio-centric thinking, i.e., per our taking “on the beliefs of the dominant group, even though [we] have never examined the basis of [their] beliefs” (“What prevents us”), FOMO persists; approval reigns as being as enticing as personal “good feels.” So, collectively, we’ve become lemmings.

It’s a pity that we crave acceptance, not truth. “[w]ithout a systematic framework and theory, we proceed without an adequate set of explanations or hypotheses to test. The result is a non-cumulative knowledge base…and a practice that is subject to fads and folk wisdom” (Glassberg and Oja, 60).

Deliberate that “with-it” students, faculty, and staff don keffiyehs without contemplating how their actions constitute both cultural appropriation and antisemitism. Mimicry minus empathy or answerability is sometimes offensive and is always problematic. In the least, teachers and administrators, to be precise, “mature” adults,  should model well-balanced conduct.

A school, however benevolently conceived and humanely administered, is a place of authority, where the energies of the young are regulated, their imaginations pruned and trained into conformity…Schools exist to …inculcate [freedom], a dialectic that is the essence of true education (Corral).

These days, conversely, our educational institutions encourage humanity’s investment in reputation. Similarly, they proliferate our dearth of  discernment.

Next, as regards the fallacy of wishful thinking, i.e., of adopting  “what [we] want to believe because it …fits with [our] other beliefs, [and] it is easier to believe” (“What prevents us”) than the here and now, we’re stuck in LaLa Land. To illustrate, consider the news, which is circulating in well-liked venues, that the Israel-Hamas war is a zero-sum conflict.

In reality, despite the vocalizations of Israel’s disparagers and champions, life is not so straightforward. In opposition to their desires, the war’s resolution will likely be messy. IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari clear-headedly espoused that Israel will probably be unable to entirely vanquish Hamas since it’s categorically an idea, not a people. He urges us to stop acceding to make-believe.

The notion that Hamas can be destroyed, that it can be eradicated, is simply throwing dust in the eyes of the public…If we don’t bring something else to Gaza, we will end up with Hamas again… Hamas is an idea [that’s] planted in the hearts of the people. Whoever thinks we can make [it] disappear is wrong (“The ‘conceptzia’ is harder to combat than Hamas” [sic]).

Our valuation of Hamas’s intentions, too, might be foolish. The real world is at odds with many touched upon broadcasts. Allegedly, Hamas, didn’t believe that the Oct. 7th murders, rapes, and kidnappings would destroy Israel, but that those monstruous acts would demoralize us and energize the Arab World (Glick).

Whereas we might want the battle to have well-defined ends and our enemy to have logical objectives, it hurts us when we engage in impossible cogitations. Conquest is complex matter; it’s most probable that Iran has been goading its proxies. Delusional thinking about the war undermines our best efforts to take care of ourselves.

Fourth, with respect to self-validated thinking, i.e., with determining that “[we] believe what [we] have always believed, even though [we] have never examined the basis of these beliefs (“What prevents us”), despite the fact that we know that we ought to inspect our endeavors and proper editing of our disseminated materials, at present, we’re largely forgoing skillful analyses. Today, when we assimilate ideas, more often than not, it’s not to test hypotheses but to generate self-validation (Greenberg, 2024). It’s no wonder that our mental processes are mired.

Finally, with reference to the misjudgment of “selfish thinking,” of adopting beliefs that “gets [us] what [we] want, such as power, money, privilege, fame etc.” (“What prevents us”), morality’s kaput. “If we’re to alter senses of right and wrong, we must alter [the] metacommunication pertaining to us” (Greenberg, 2023, 163).  Until our civilization stops overvaluing “fame and fortune,” we’ll perpetuate self-serving behaviors that range from discrimination to genocide.

Alternatively, we can defy publicly-fortified limitations, in general, and prejudice against Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael, specifically. We can save our rapidly splintering liberties and rise above media-reinforced or education-reinforced biases. We can resist the dissonance that’s created by challenging our irrational tendencies.

We merely have to assess the certainty of the rhetoric to which we’re exposed. When we weigh words’ “scope or generality, appropriateness or suitability, heuristic value or research-generating ability, validity or consistency, and parsimony or logical simplicity” (Littlejohn), we can insure the permanency of democracy and can deflect heinous others.


Glassberg, Sally, and Sharon Nodie Oja. “A Developmental Model for Enhancing Teachers’ Personal and Professional Growth.” Journal of Research and Development in Education. 14.2 1981. 59-70

Glikc, Caroline. “What was Hamas’ Plan for Oct. 7th?” The Israel Guys. 28 May 2024. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Greenberg, KJ Hannah. “Becoming Accountable for Mediated Ethics’ Rhetoric.” Granny Does It III: Morality and Meaning. Seashell Books, 2023. 162-169.

Greenberg, KJ Hannah. “Of Pariahs and Publishers.” The Times of Israel. 11 Jun. 2024. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Katz, Yaacov. “When it comes to Israel, brains go out the window” [sic]. The Jerusalem Post. 14 Jun. 2024. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Littlejohn, Stephen. Theories of Human Communication. 3rd ed. Wadsworth, 1989.

Meyer, Philip. Ethical Journalism. Longman, 1987.

“The ‘conceptzia’ is harder to combat than Hamas” [sic]. Janglo. 21 Jun. 2024. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

“What prevents us from thinking critically?” [sic]. Concordia Health Services. Concordia Accessed 3 Jun. 2024.

About the Author
KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs. Thereafter, her writing has been nominated once for The Best of the Net in poetry, three times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for poetry, once for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, once for the Million Writers Award for fiction, and once for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. To boot, Hannah’s had more than forty books published and has served as an editor for several literary journals.