Overcoming the Amygdala Part 61


As an experiment, then, we have created a being of two ‘halves’: not the ‘conscious/unconscious’ division with which we may be familiar from popular psychology, but an individual composed of an outward-facing person who uses rationality (as well as the parasympathetic nervous system) to navigate a solid world which operates according to the principles inherent in space/time, with a major goal of simply surviving that world for as long as possible in a form composed of its material; and an inward-facing person who floats in a non-solid world which operates according to unclear principles of significance and symbolism, where, if there are any goals, they seem to be something to do with experiencing meaning to some degree in an environment in which just about everything is in flux.

Astute readers will have noted that these two worlds, though we have separated them out for the purposes of elucidation, don’t exist independently, but rather they overlap. It seems, for example, that we ‘dream’ constantly, as a moment’s introversion will discover; and many of our dreams are like ‘plays' featuring characters from the solid daytime world (as well as many others who come from who-knows-where).

In fact, our day-to-day experience of Life is a blend of these two aspects: we think and calculate and perceive and measure and manipulate the outer reality, and we feel and experience and connect and ‘swim’ in the inner reality, often at the same time.

It’s possible to conclude that many of our problems as individuals stem from confusing the two aspects: we imagine that the outer world contains significance which it may not; and we are disappointed when the inner world does not behave as we think it should based on our knowledge of the outer one.

But that would be a premature conclusion. In fact, it’s more helpful to see these two halves as part of a unified whole.

It’s possible that our inner world projects onto our outer world, just as our outer world bleeds into our inner. The two halves are more like an organic unity, operating together to produce the experience we call… well, ‘experience’.

Arguably, all human beings right now are sharing this dual experience of themselves and calling it reality — a mixture of inner and outer, dreaming and solid, irrational and rational.

We experience dreams and desires inwardly, but we might also project these things outwardly in hope of them coming to fruition in the more solid terms of the physical world.

Then, if you’re following all this, perhaps the amygdala’s projections onto our surroundings stem from our inner world.

Where does the amygdala get its ideas from? From us — our inner worlds. We create, deep inside, ideas and ideals, dreams and desires, and then project them onto our environments.

The ‘pings’ that come from back from such projections reveal departures, as we have explored — and everything else that follows, including triggered nervous responses.

That means that our inner worlds are to some degree determining our anxieties.

What we dream and desire, we then project; and what comes back to us is all the departures from those projected dreams.

Our precise individual anxieties are clues to what is going on ‘beneath the surface’ of our individual inner selves.

If you have followed all of that, you might appreciate that it actually opens the door to life-changing transformations.