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Overcoming the Amygdala Part 97

It’s worth summarising the various departures that there can be. Many people are still so overwhelmed by their amygdalas that they have trouble seeing departures clearly — sometimes ‘everything’ looks like a departure.

What is a ‘departure’ really? To repeat:

1. Things are missing that should be there (or present that shouldn’t be there).

2. Events are out of an expected sequence.

3. Something about Time has changed — either there is too much of it, or too little, or none.

4. An apparent untruth has been added — something which seems out of place when other facts are known.

5. Significance has been exaggerated or reduced in some way.

You start off with an ideal of some kind — a picture of a perfect or better scene or situation than what currently exists, something desirable and also attainable if all was well — and then you note the above departures.

Let’s cover them in slightly more detail:

1. Things are missing that should be there (or present that shouldn’t be there).

Anything missing from an ideal is a departure.

It can be a missing person, job, thing, sequence, or even an omitted environment. Anything that can be left out but which should be there is a departure.

This is the easiest departure to miss, simply because it’s something that’s not there.

I’ve seen marriages break down just because there wasn’t enough communication to sustain a relationship; I’ve seen companies break down because there was a key post missing but not noticed; I’ve seen great injustices done with people being punished for things while those really responsible had simply walked away and weren’t there anymore.

No one had spotted the fact that it was a missing something that had caused a whole activity to go into decline in any of those instances. People were blaming others left, right and centre but failing to see that it was an omission that lay behind the continuing problem.

In any analysis, one needs to look for things that should be there and aren't. It’s not hard to do, if you project onto the existing scene a correct ideal: you should be able to immediately see what’s missing.

Walk into a living room and project, in your mind, what you would ideally wish to see in a living room, and you’ll notice straight away things that aren’t there. What usually happens, though, is that we walk into any environment and react to what is there, rather than analysing what should be there.

2. Events are out of an expected sequence. ‘Sequence’ is defined as ‘a particular order in which related things follow each other’, a set of related events, movements, or items that come after one another in a particular order. We can clearly spot this in mathematics when numbers are out of sequence — it’s a little harder to see in life, but becomes easier once you’ve spotted a few. A person who tries to sell something before he or she has found a potential buyer is one of the most common out-of-sequences; a seller who takes the money and demands another instalment before any delivery has occurred is another. A basic departure is a lack of any kind of sequence, a confusion which can resemble insanity, in which non-consecutive things are mixed up together, like a child trying to play music, or a crazy person trying to have a conversation.

A sequence that should be one and isn't is a departure; a sequence that isn't one but is thought to be one is a departure.

Outlining the consequences of actions is an interesting example: you can point out to some people the consequences of doing something crazy or criminal and they will see the sequence and desist from doing it; but point the same consequences out to some other people, and they just won’t get it. Criminals find sequences hard to grasp.

People who do not think in sequence do not see altered sequences in their own actions or areas.

In a media-drenched world, in which highly edited environments are presented to almost hypnotised audiences, it’s possible that, over time, some people begin to fail to see correct sequences at all. Thus you get groups demanding unrealistic or even insane things because they have not considered sequences.

Small children sometimes struggle with the idea of a sequence — it means having to wait for food to be prepared, for example, before it can be eaten. A young child can get very upset about not being able to eat instantaneously until they get this idea of having to do things in sequence to achieve a product. Older children struggle with education sometimes because they cannot quite grasp that one has to be able to do one thing before being able to do another.

3. Something about Time has changed — either there is too much of it, or too little, or none. Time is a special case of the the ‘missing’ factor.

You see this all the time in social media. A story flashes up in your newsfeed about something outrageous and you react and fume and write an angry reply — only to realise later that the story was to do with events of years ago and is no longer relevant.

Or a person is stuck in the past and thus seems incapable of responding to events in the present.

Or someone is fixated on future events which are unlikely, to the exclusion of any kind of interaction with their contemporary environment (pushing attention into the future is another definition of ‘anxiety’).

Sorting out time — labelling information according to its correct time, responding to present time, and having the right amount of attention available rather than being fixated in the past or future — is a fundamental part of sanity.

4. An apparent untruth has been added — something which seems out of place when other facts are known.

Lies might look like an easy departure to spot. But you actually need more than the lie to detect what is true. If you hear a lie in isolation, there is nothing with which to compare it and so it might seem true, at least for a while. A workmate who tells you that the new recruit is a crazy person has given you a datum which may, as far as you can tell, be true. Only your own experience of the new recruit will give you adequate data to draw the conclusion that your workmate was lying.

Some people try to spread lies in social situations, hoping that their own statements will not be argued with in a group context and so will hold sway over the scene. Some people spout lie after lie quite brazenly, until the receivers get apathetic and don’t know what to believe anymore. Only when someone of integrity stands up and challenges the statements can the lies be seen for what they are.

Two facts which seem contrary, suggest that one is probably a falsehood or both are.

A false person, job, action, purpose, anything that pretends to be something it isn't is a departure of this kind — unless you’re talking about stories, which of course don’t claim to be true.

Don’t be dismayed by the frequent riposte ‘What is truth?’ usually thrown out as an attempt to put you off the track. It’s quite easy to detect lies when one has comparative data — truth and lies depend on context.

5. Significance has been exaggerated or reduced in some way.

Things can be assigned importances greater or lesser than they should actually have; things which should have different importances can be assigned a single level of importance. These are all departures.

If you walked into the living room mentioned above with an ideal in mind, and found that someone had boarded up all the windows because ‘the light was too strong’, or conversely removed part of the ceiling ‘to get some fresh air’ or heaped all the furniture into the middle of the room ‘as it wasn’t needed’, you would know straight away that you were dealing with insanities to some degree. It all depends, as all departures depend, on what ideal you’re projecting onto the environment.

One special case of this is when someone assigns a wrong aim or goal or target: a government attacks a group believing them to be responsible for crimes but it’s the wrong group; a revolution occurs, bringing down a government which was actually the only hope for the society; an argument on social media continues because both parties fail to see the correct importance of various factors; an alcoholic thinks that drink will solve his problems; vast amounts of money are spent on the wrong things in the belief that various ills will be remedied.

You get the idea.

These are all basic departures which, seen for what they are, can lead to better health, better relationships, better jobs, better societies, better environmental conditions — if they are used rationally instead of being reacted to.

Stay tuned.


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