Overcoming the Amygdala Part 105


If your life is full of departures, then the heart of the question is ‘Departures from what?’

One of the key things that has to be understood to change one’s thinking from irrational, amygdala-driven patterns towards rational sanity and freedom from the amygdala is this notion of the ideal.

Here’s the thing:

Ideals are highly subjective.

What might be an ideal for you might not be an ideal for someone else. The horse you bet on winning a race is an ideal for you, but not for the guy who bet on the other horse. The destruction of a coronavirus is an ideal for humanity, but not for the coronavirus. Taking this to a much larger scale, you can see it playing out on the world stage: America’s collapse might be an ideal for Soviet Russia; Soviet Russia’s collapse might be the ideal for America.

Ideals can therefore be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on one’s viewpoint.

They can also be nuanced and varied enough, being subjective things, that someone trying to evaluate the situation gets confused. Take the example of a marriage: what exactly is the ideal scene for that? The answer is ‘It depends on what a particular couple want’. One marriage might have an ideal of ‘Being able to freely travel the world together on a perpetual honeymoon, experiencing as much joy as we can over the next ten years’; another couple might have their ideal as ‘A full and thriving family brought up in a static, supportive environment’. Totally different ideals — but neither of them is ‘wrong’ and both of them fit their own circumstances.

One thing that some people struggle with when trying to think correctly is this idea that an ideal must be some kind of glowing, completely independent and objective external ‘thing’, against which we are all measured. It’s easy to fall into that way of thinking, but what’s actually happening is that, instead of actively using our own intellects and analytical power to guide ourselves day by day through whatever Life presents us with, heading towards sanity, we are abnegating that power and settling for a fixed idea instead.

You can see this happen with a certain kind of ‘religious’ person — rather than think for themselves on a moment-by-moment highly sane level, moving closer to a personal vision of Paradise the more they correctly analyse what’s going on around them, they abandon all effort to think entirely and instead fall back on a fixed set of standards which inevitably don’t hold up in every given situation. So you get some degree of insanity creeping in.

The same thing happens in politics: one set of ideals is held up as the ‘gold standard’ against which everything must be measured, which results in arbitrary and awkwardly fitting ‘solutions’ which don’t solve every situation to which they are applied.

Human beings can be fundamentally lazy. Thinking correctly and sanely requires that one stay ‘on the ball’ at all times and applies analysis to any situation where there appears to be a problem. Applied correctly, that analysis will result in the clouds opening, the birds singing, smiles everywhere and a general improvement towards an ideal. But it takes work. Meanwhile, fixed ideas seem to offer a ‘one size fits all’ solution which requires almost zero analysis or effort.

It’s a case of buying into the ‘off the shelf’ solution which claims to solve things (but doesn't), rather than creating powerful and real solutions independently every time a problem comes up — you can understand why the off the shelf option sells so well to many human minds. But, because that easy option doesn’t fit every given situation, you are left with gaps, misfits, worsening scenes, disasters — and the amygdala steps in as a last resort.