Overcoming the Amygdala Part 75
The Whole Problem and the Solution
The whole problem is that Amygdala (our personified parasympathetic warrior) can’t tell the difference between a projection and what is really there — and neither can the human being who is doing the projecting.
Amygdala rings the alarm loyally based on the departures she sees — but the departures are often irrational. Not her fault.
The solution is both simple and tremendously challenging.
The human being has to take responsibility for his or her projections.
This means looking at the world differently.
Go for a walk and observe your surroundings.
Probably for all of your life you have considered what you’re looking at to be the ‘real world’ and the thoughts, emotions, sensations which float around in your head to be ‘your’ world. Probably most of your upset, resentment, sadness, turmoil, has stemmed from the fact that the two are apparently separate: that the outer world often doesn’t bend the way you’d wish, or that the inner world persists with assertions which simply don’t match up with ‘reality’.
Imagine that the world you’re walking around in is a three-dimensional hologram, a laser projection of your inner world, that for some reason you're maintaining — perhaps to entertain yourself, to give yourself a game or for some as-yet-unfathomable purpose. You don’t quite understand why the world you’re looking at is the way it is: the street is dirty, the cars are noisy, the sky is grey, the weather is cold. These things seem like departures from what you might immediately like. If they were to get quickly more severe — if a police siren were to start shrieking, or a mugger were to appear from the shadows, or you were to slip on an icy patch — Amygdala, your protective warrior, would swiftly activate your fight/flight systems to try to protect you.
But what if the dirty streets, the noisy cars, the grey sky, the cold weather, and all the rest of it, were actually part of your hologram even though your first instinct might be to reject them?
Even now, reading this, your instincts are probably those of rejection: of course you don’t want certain things in your environment. Perhaps you’re suffering physical or emotional pain, or loss, or hardship, and your inner world seems very much removed from what you’re experiencing ‘outside’.
But keep walking.
If you can grasp the notion even for a few seconds, that what you’re seeing around you may in fact be a genuine projection on some level — a set of things which you are putting there, even though they might seem abhorrent and unwanted — your view of the world might begin to change.
It’s hard to see through or change the habits of a lifetime.
But it could be very worthwhile to try.
How do you obtain your information about the world? Through your senses — probably more than five, but let’s stick with the common ones for now.
In addition, as we are asserting, you have other information arriving back at you in a feedback loop from your projections — in other words, you receive and perceive some material which you originally beamed out there. It returns to you looking very much like everything else that’s coming in from your surroundings, but it originated with you, unconsciously.
Let’s try and look closely at this data stream.
The Importance of Information
Whole teams of reporters are sent out by newspapers, radio, TV, websites and magazines to collect information, politicians go around the country collecting information, spy networks are maintained at huge expense to obtain information.
In the first part of the 20th Century the Japanese operated on the principle that anyone can spy and everyone must spy, an idea which was then copied by the Germans in the 1930s. Whole populations were encouraged to spy in each other. Hundreds of thousands of people did the same thing in Russia. Information was considered a priority.
However we should remember that Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia all collapsed.
Quantity of data pouring in does not guarantee understanding.
Most mass media today is not interested in news as such, just data with which to sell advertising. Politicians are often similarly not normally aiming to create better futures, just using information to stay in power.
Most human individuals are a small scale version of this: they collect information in order to obtain some kind of value from it, rather than to assess or measure it for itself. We are glued to our newsfeeds; it seems contra-survival to lay them aside. We think (along with everyone else) that the more information we have, the better.
But this passion for collecting information can be not only useless, but delusional and detrimental.
Irrational information gathering is mentally unhealthy. It can be overdone. You have probably had the experience of having to fill in government forms to accomplish some minor task — governments in particular seem addicted to information gathering. Social media corporations have hit on a successful method of gathering even more data from us, by connecting up the process to our interests and measuring the vast amounts of data using algorithms.
The first step in taking responsibility for our projections is taking responsibility for our information collection.
Right now, it’s probably the case that you won’t be able to tell the difference between a projection and an external reality simply because there is far too much information pouring in.
So let’s get a grip on that before we proceed.