Overcoming the Amygdala Part 68
Projection and Ideal Scenarios
If you’ve been following this series, there’s probably something that you’re struggling with right now, and that is how to think.
We’ve been asserting that a human being has two views of the world: one is an outward-looking view, which takes in most of what we consider to be life’s experiences, encompassing as it does the world of daylight, action, day-to-day thinking, relationships and what we commonly call ‘reason’; the other is the inward-looking view, which could be broadly summed up as ‘everything else’: life’s forgotten aspects, connections, meanings, the world of nighttime, dreams, daydreaming, hidden or mysterious relationships and what we commonly call ‘imagination.’ If we lived purely in the outer world, and saw it as it truly was, we could perhaps live sane and productive lives, though those lives would be somewhat lacking in colour, meaning or depth. But the inner world ‘leaks out’ onto the outer, tainting what we see with images, connections, inferences and symbolic aspects which colour our worlds but often defy sanity.
Introduce into this a basic biological mechanism designed to protect the individual from danger — the amygdala — and we have all kinds of adventures: the amygdala rings its alarms whenever it perceives departures from actual safety and from the scenarios with which our inner world has painted the outer world.
Hence arises a set of circumstances which we call ‘the human condition’.
Sanity is not 'fixing the leak' as this would remove meaning and depth from Life: it is being able to recognise the differences between an external reality and subjective projections, and the similarities between them too.
When what we are looking at in the outer world does not match at all with anything that we are subjectively projecting, the two things seem different; when what we are looking at in the outer world resembles to some degree something that we are subjectively projecting, the two things seem similar; and when what we are looking at in the outer world fits exactly with something that we are subjectively projecting, the two things appear to be identical.
This gives us a spectrum of human thinking from the psychotic to the highly rational.
Thought that leans towards the psychotic blends subjective projections with external realities so that an individual is convinced that what he or she is perceiving is something that in truth exists only in his or her mind.
The ‘thinking’ of many political and other leaders is unfortunately based on illogical and irrational blending of this kind. Uneducated populations tend to fall for this kind of insanity — it appeals to their own tendencies to mix up what is inside their heads with what it actually going on.
Thought that leans towards the rational tends to spot subjective projections as things different from external realities and thus determines what is actually workable.
Individuals who are attempting to live sane lives are continually dealing with people who not only can't think but have been taught by those leaning towards the psychotic end of the spectrum to reach irrational conclusions.
A relatively sane person’s reaction to the idiocy and incompetence generated by this approach is to become exasperated, outraged, and then dismayed and depressed. But if such a person can step back and see that what happens all around them is the product of human systems, like the education system, which have been built along insane lines, then that person can begin to breathe a little easier. Once you can see how much subjectivity and objectivity have become confused around you, you can start to find your way through the resulting jungle.
Until you do step back, things that are perfectly obvious to you can seem to elude the ability of others to grasp, which can lead you to apathy or despair.
International economics, politics, culture, ordinary human relationships — all have succumbed to the invisible virus of unconscious projection. So we see money being ‘created’ out of thin air to ‘rescue’ economies (which have no choice but to crash later as they have literally been built on nothing); we see wars started with so-called enemies on the vaguest of pretences which are perpetuated through time based on mounting grievances to which there is no easy solution; we see corruption and degradation rife in art and literature, the channels best fitted to sane human communication and the recognition of inner and outer worlds ruined by insane conflation; and we see human beings increasingly unable to communicate effectively despite being given the most advanced technological tools to do so that the world has ever seen. None of the underlying factors are really new — it just seems so because so much more of what goes on around is is now more accessible to us.
You probably don’t need examples — they exist everywhere, from your personal life to almost everything you hear about through the media. You could jump to the conclusion that people are basically evil and doomed, or recognise that they simply suffer from the inability to differentiate between what is outside and what is inside.
Facts versus Opinions
It’s not quite as simple as dividing things into facts and opinions. Facts could be said to be things that can be proven to exist by visible evidence, while opinions are those things which may or may not be based on any facts. But what one person considers ‘visible evidence’ may be quite different to what another perceives as the same, simply because their perceptions are already distorted before they begin looking. A piece of news which verifies that an anti-viral vaccine is completely safe, to use a topical example, might be viewed by one person as acceptably ‘true’, while another will rail against it and claim that the source of the ‘fact’ is corrupt and has a hidden agenda. The problem is not so much with whether or not the ‘fact’ is ‘true’, but with what each person is perceiving as ‘real’. An individual continually hears opinions which are masquerading as facts — as many, in truth, as there are people to perceive. Anyone dealing with the world of human beings can quickly lose faith in any integrity or ability to see objective truth -- because objectivity itself is in question.
But what’s really broken down is the ability to differentiate between a subjective projection and an external reality.
People often can’t make that differentiation to such a degree that they continually find themselves in insane situations. They’re not ‘crazy’ in any traditional sense: they are simply mixing up inner and outer worlds. Anyone who has tried to convince anyone else on social media of the validity of some kind of presented fact will know that it’s usually not possible: what they’re battling against is the other’s inability to spot a projection (or perhaps their own).
For most people, unaware of all this, life is simply confusing and for some mysterious reason things keep going wrong.
But imagine strapping over your head one of those virtual reality headsets which continually projects a ‘live feed’ scenario into your eyes, and then walking around in the real world and trying to operate sanely in it. Sometimes what is being projected into your head might vaguely coincide with what is real outside, but most of the time you would be tripping up, bumping into things, falling down stairs and generally accomplishing very little, wouldn’t you?
Again, we call it ‘the human condition’.
Is there a way out of it?
Yes. But we have to recognise that we’re wearing headsets - and then have the courage to take them off.