Overcoming the Amygdala Part 93


You may have driven a car in which a little bell ‘tings’ when you start moving but haven’t fastened your seatbelt. As soon as you click the belt on, the bell stops.

Your parasympathetic nervous system is a little like that: as soon as you notice and take responsibility for whatever it is that you’re being warned about, the amygdala stops ringing.

You can set ideals up for your life as a whole and for each part of your life, and for many situations around you. You can work back from the large ideal to a part, so that all the lesser ideals and their statistics build up to bringing about the overall ideal with its statistic, examining each departure and understanding how the smaller parts add up to the larger.

Viability is key. Where any part of your life is found not to support overall viability, there is a departure. If you falter in some department of Life, this needs to be restudied, reexamined against experience and new greater and lesser ideals and statistics must be worked out and put into use.


Operating Without Statistics

You only have to look around to see that

a) hardly anyone operates on statistics

b) the result is chaos.

Acting on opinion — and reacting to the opinions of others — is one of the most instantly recognisable aspects of humanity, as a few minutes on social media will confirm.

‘Opinion’ is really a huge swamp of misconceptions, emotions, cognitive distortions, biases and prejudices which make up what passes for ’thinking’ in contemporary society.

People often seek security in status. The higher a person is viewed to be in some kind of social hierarchy, the ‘safer’ or ‘more reliable’ that person’s opinion is viewed to be. Clearly this is unstable at best. Status itself is often fleeting and false. A person’s character can be maligned, a status can be reviled, a hierarchy can be usurped.

‘Public opinion’ is as changeable as water and as malleable as clay — something which media entities make the most of to sell advertising and papers.

Conflicts of opinion have become even more evident due to today’s social media prevalence. Social media can act to present a vast array of differing views while giving everyone the opportunity to react without thinking, thus creating a ‘downward spiral’ of pointless arguments.

When the morass of data becomes confusing and ever-changing, what’s needed is a stable point.

Statistics form such a point.

Using opinion or random rumours or reports as a way of operating is a gambling exercise. Promoting people based on their social attainments, amiability or because of marriage or some other unreliable index leads to more and more chaos.

Using statistics one can tell, unarguably, whether departures are present or not. But the biggest departure is a missing ideal and that’s closely followed by a missing statistic for it.

The more departures there are, the less viability will be present, the less future, the more chaos, the more uncertainty — and the greater the need for an unconscious amygdala to bypass an obviously failing consciousness and send out an urgent warning.

A totality of departures equals death.

By using proper, sensible, attainable ideals and measuring them with statistics, one becomes able to predict, and to therefore avoid disaster.

Any part of a life is somewhat interdependent upon other parts. But unless one begins somewhere, it is impossible to see how the overall scene might be improved. Conflict amongst organisms, individuals and groups has been rationalised in our culture by Darwin’s concept of ‘the survival of the fittest’. All that that concept highlights is a temporary and accidental rise of one form of life over another in an ongoing chaotic ocean of departures. The ‘fittest’ has so far merely been that form which has managed to achieve a short term viability by inadvertently becoming matched favourably with a set of external circumstances. At almost no point throughout time has any organism worked out an ideal, measured its progress with statistics and analysed and dealt with departures in order to consciously achieve a better life. Life has depended upon the amygdala to activate fight/flight mechanisms to avoid the most obvious hazards to existence.

Only now, equipped with reason and a way of comprehending what is actually going on, do human beings stand a chance of taking responsibility for their own futures. A far better chance of survival belongs to the individual, organism or group that best approaches and maintains self-generated ideals with measurable statistics.

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