Overcoming the Amygdala Part 69
Given a scenario in which people tend to mix up subjective and objective data and experiences, you can start to understand why the human race lives the life that it does.
Whole civilisations and cultures submerge external truths into subjective beliefs in one way or another; whole fields of study become corrupted by the misalignment or mismatching of key data; whole societies doom themselves to generations of misery by mistakenly adopting principles which fail to match with workable realities. And individual people wander around in a dreamworld, puzzled as to why their amygdalas are continually ringing.
As the world drifts along with its cumulative inabilities to differentiate the external from the internal, it will naturally experience more and more catastrophes in economics, politics and culture and so plummet towards disaster. As with the large scale, so with the small: individuals struggle to live coherently with all this and as they get older, more and more accumulated ‘wrong answers’ can gradually drive them nuts.
So it’s important on both a personal and a social level to start to pick this apart.
Note that nowhere is it being stated that the outer world is more ‘real’ or more valuable than the inner world, or that the inner world is ‘merely’ imaginary: both views are incredibly ‘real’. The problem is not ‘a lack of facing up to external reality’ or ‘all the troubles are in the head’ or ‘if only we could focus on the facts’ — the problem is mixing the two views up without realising it.
Most individuals find themselves in the position of trying to defend themselves against some hidden menace in their surroundings which they have never been able to define but which haunts them day by day. This background hidden threat means that their amygdalas ring constantly but without any specificity — all most people sense is that ‘there’s something wrong’ without being able to pin down exactly what it is.
The rising statistics in the fields of depression and anxiety directly correlate to a disassociation between inner and outer worlds.
Furthermore, when anyone is sanely trying to get things done he or she can often feel like they are spinning from the responses from and attitudes of those around them. That's because of hidden projections of internal material onto the outer world — people are doing this all the time without realising it.
If you operate without covertly projecting very much of your inner world onto your outer, you are frequently regarded as the outsider, just as you would be if you were to go about your daily tasks in a world in which everyone else was continually wearing virtual reality headsets.
So what can you do?
1. When you communicate, avoid generalities or vagueness. If what you have to say is precise and demands intelligence and close scrutiny, those receiving the communication will be less tempted to jump to conclusions about it based on their own assumptions ‘filling in the gaps’.
2. Check that others have understood what has been said by asking them to repeat back to you in their own words what is required.
3. A third thing is to try to deal only with those who possess a clear ability to observe and conceive differences, similarities and identities. This may not always be feasible, but in a work environment, for example, it’s possible to develop drills which encourage people to think.
4. If you can’t always deal with such people, exclude as much as possible those whose thinking is crippled by their inability to spot hidden projections.
Some of that may seem harsh — after all, people are only human and you are probably guilty of unconscious projection yourself. But especially in a work environment, accumulated misunderstandings arising from an inability to separate inner and outer thinking can lead to serious risks: hostilities can develop as well as overwork and destruction.
Usually in a workplace, the person who can best differentiate inner and outer thinking ends up doing most of the work, frequently because he or she is the only one capable of understanding what is required and producing it — the rest of the group get by on pretence, fooling their superiors (and themselves) into believing that they are producing something worthwhile when in fact they are achieving nothing or very little.
This can result in some organisations producing significantly inferior or dangerous products, all traced back to an inability to operate effectively in the outer world due to confusing it with the inner world. Criminals are particularly bad at this: they commit crime in the mistaken belief that the scenario in their heads — that they will ‘get away with it’ — will materialise in their environment or is their environment. They just haven’t differentiated their interior desires from external realities enough. Because of that, they are blind to what is actually going on — like people blundering around wearing virtual reality headsets — and so make mistakes and leave a trail of clues which are often self-evident to anyone interested in justice or sanity. There’s a lot of talk about the high proportion of ‘unsolved crime’ these days, but most criminal activity walks itself forward into retribution of some kind simply because it is inept and crippled by its own incompetence — an incompetence generated by an inability to tell the difference between inner and outer worlds.
It’s pretty clear that we are walking forward into a vast subject which will require careful pacing and some time to grasp properly, so I’ll say ‘stay tuned’ for how Logic fits into all this.