human brain - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
The paradox of our age is that when we feel the fear we need to educate us about the dangers of a polluted and frightened world, we are pushed down into our primitive brains - the part of us that evolved to deal with immediate danger requiring violent and impulsive solutions. When the fear leaves us, we are able to access our higher brain, the part of us with logic, empathy, self control and steady determination. By this time, however, that feeling of urgent need has passed, biologically we are back in "good times" mode and we fail to act with appropriate urgency. This is the paradox we need to fix. We need to be afraid without being frightened, able to use the higher brain while remembering a sense or feeling of urgency so we make the right choices.
The human brain is akin to a supercomputer built on top of a clunker. The clunker is your primitive, reptilian, survival brain. The supercomputer is what does your proper thinking, it's logical, fair and kind. When you are afraid, the bandwidth of your supercomputer gets used up, leaving the clunker to do all your thinking for you. You go from awesome to primal and basic in a heart-beat.
That means a few things. Firstly, those in society without enough resources to survive, those with more life problems than anyone can handle - will appear stupid. Yet in truth, that level of stress makes everyone stupid, the bandwidth of their supercomputer is maxed out.
Secondly, it means that stressing kids out to make them learn is dumber than a sack of rocks. The more they worry about, the dumber they get. The more relaxed, happy and curious they are, the smarter they get.
Finally, it means that with proper social safety nets, ones that actually keep people fed, housed and feeling secure - the nation gets healthy, smart and cooperative.
So avoid the things that make you afraid, seek what brings joy and love, and soon you'll find you are able to think better, your supercomputer brain in command.
The amygdala is a button they push, an ancient part of the brain triggered by fear. They scare us with so many things to make us easy to control - yet that also brings aggression, societal problems and reduced creative intelligence. So, if you truly want to drive your own brain, to feel its true power and potential - cut out the media, cut out stuff that scares you and replace it with sport, meditation, serenity. It'll feel odd at first and you might even feel an urge to watch a scary movie to bring the familiar feelings of fear back, but you'll be okay. So, come join the living... have the courage to leave the zombie state...
When we see pain in others or danger, the amygdala - the primitive part of the brain for processing fear - gets involved. Then, the brain takes one of two options, empathy/calmness or flight/fight. Either the calming pathways are used and the person uses their empathy and intelligence to help, or the person is alarmed, concerned for their own safety, and becomes another casualty. We need to know our own responses.
If we are calm, cool headed in an emergency, we are the hero type. We go toward danger to help others; we are the ones others co-regulate from. However, if we are the ones who feel an urge to fight or flee, we need to take care to control ourselves and refrain from making more work for those responding to tragedy - and this can be something physical, an event that has caused injury, or it can be a longer response to a systemic failure of government, society or infrastructure. Either way, some of us are wired to be calm and compassionate in emergencies and others, though they also have important skills society needs, lack that capacity.
Everyone is loved and needed, yet we need to know our own strengths and limitations so that we can be an asset, able to give of our talents in positive ways.
There is evolved fear and learned fear. At first, the learned fear part of the amygdala isn't "wired up" to the evolved fear bit; it just sits next to it. Yet with repeat exposure to a stimulus and a fear, it becomes hard-wired into the central (evolved fear part) of the amygdala. So when we see "the bad guy" on the news over and over it rewires our brains to instinctive fear of "the bad guy." But what happens when "the bad guy" is another ethnicity or faith? What if "the bad guy" is another gender, sexual orientation or generation? Then our fear centre is constantly triggered, leading to anxiety and/or aggression. What else could we call these anxieties? Racism? Sexism? Hostility toward youth? Islamophobia? Anti-Semitism? We may naturally be afraid of snakes, yet those who seek financial gain by using fear are rewiring us into a species we are fighting hard not to be.
This organic damage that comes from excess fear, from feeling socially excluded, from anxiety and lack of unconditional love and nurture - it is the damage that damns our age, the age of individualism and materialism.
"The same bit of the brain does moral disgust and disgust from smelly garbage, so since you're so big on judging others, Moira, it's no wonder you treat others like crap. If all you use is your logic and your moral disgust... where's the love? Because hate ain't the opposite of love, indifference is, and you've got that by the toilet-bowl load. Try love, try seeing things from another person's perspective, try compassion, try empathy, try kindness.... try anything that might act like electrode paddles on your empathy centre, because I need to hear that heart beat..."
Sunlight and aerobic exercise boost your serotonin, so go ride your bike, because that's what you need to feel happy, to keep you safe from depression. Go be in nature, watch how the light plays on the trees and the birds swoop. While you're at it, you'll be making new neurones in your brain... play, laugh, be silly... it's what human's need to be healthy.
When we are afraid, when we are under stress, we speed up our brain's "angry-face search app" but, as we get faster, we get less accurate. We start to see angry faces that aren't there, reading calm faces as angry. And the stress hormones don't choose what we fear, they amp up whatever we've learned to fear. That's why society falls apart under ongoing stress - cracking us at our weak-points, spreading hate and indifference like a damn virus.
When stressed and afraid, the human brain is only made better at learning and remembering things we fear - it locks us in with our demons and gives them longer claws. It makes us want to hide in the dark and make no sound, ready to fight if we need to. In this state we invent new monsters, we look for more, desperate to survive... though in truth the stress may have been caused by poverty... the result is that we amp up the fear of whatever we've been conditioned or directed to fear. We loose the ability of the higher mind to hush those fears and restore inner peace; all other types of learning need a more relaxed and calm state. They need a little light to show that the "monsters" are only clothes in the closet, that perhaps a fancy dress costume made an interesting shadow, but everything is okay. Calmness is as the dawn when the real world is seen, and the actors pulling the levers of fear are revealed.
Will power is a finite resource, it burns energy in the brain; then once you run out, you give in. So, for the love of God, stop asking me to make all these pointless choices and then wondering why I can't stick to my resolutions. It's like running an athlete nonstop and then wondering why they can't sprint. So, I promise you, give me some peace, give me a world where everything I do isn't morally wrong in some way, then I can be the person I need to be for all of us, me included.