Thursday, September 12, 2013

That is Not My Daddy

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
Does fear bubble up inside of you, emanating from your subconscious amygdala, to automate a reaction when you see photo of the President of Russia?

Or does it prevent you from reading an op-ed in the New York Times which he penned?

If so, that is your cultural amygdala, an extension of your physical amydala which develops as your "birth amygdala" before it has been "customized" by your society, the culture around you (The Cultural Amygdala).

What goes into our cognitive system, our 2% conscious brain and our 98% unconscious brain, is not under our conscious control:
Probably 98 percent of your reasoning is unconscious - what your brain is doing behind the scenes. Reason is inherently emotional. You can't even choose a goal, much less form a plan and carry it out, without a sense that it will satisfy you, not dis­gust you. Fear and anxiety will affect your plans and your ac­tions. You act differently, and plan differently, out of hope and joy than out of fear and anxiety.

Thought is physical. Learning requires a physical brain change: Receptors for neurotransmitters change at the synapses, which changes neural circuitry. Since thinking is the activation of such circuitry, somewhat different thinking re­quires a somewhat different brain. Brains change as you use them-even unconsciously. It's as if your car changed as you drove it, say from a stick shift gradually to an automatic.
(The Toxic Bridge To Everywhere, quoting Professor Lakoff). You and I are sensitive beings, that is, our cognition is tied to our five senses.

What our five senses detect is handed off first to our amygdala for processing:
... the amygdala gets sensory information directly from the various sensory systems that process the external world. So the visual system, the auditory system, olfactory, touch, pain, and so forth. All of these kind of come together, or converge, in the amygdala. And then the amygdala on the output side with all the systems involved in the emotional reactivity. So, when you encounter sudden danger, you might freeze, your blood pressure and heart rate begin to rise, stress hormones are released, all of these things happen as a result of outputs of the amygdala.

So the amygdala you can think of as this circle with one input coming in being the... or the input coming in being a sensory, flow of sensory information from the external world, then outputs being connections to systems involved in controlling the responses. But we have to expand those inputs, so it’s not just getting one sensory input, but all sensory inputs. So each sensory system is coming in. And it doesn’t stop there because in addition to getting information from sensory systems, it also gets information from higher-order systems, like the prefrontal cortex and higher-order association areas involved in various kinds of integrative activities in the cortex.
(The Amygdala in 5 Minutes, quoting Professor Le Doux). Reactions to external stimuli in the form of sound, visual events, taste, feel, and smell, which first go to the amygdala, are not primarily formed by our conscious thinking.

In the extension of our primitive amygdala, an extension called the "cultural amygdala", the cultural "spin or propaganda" of our society, as well as the "spin or propaganda" of our "local world", is fused to sensory input.

What comes out to then be given / transferred to our conscious brain is substantially up to our amygdala, not up to our conscious brain, which gets the package last.

Our conscious brain does not unilaterally decide these fear and other issues, even though we may sometimes struggle with fears using our consciousness against the customized fear output of our physical and cultural amygdala.

So, some of the responses to President Putin's op-ed in the NY Times are based on past propaganda and/or current news media machinations within our two cultures.

President Putin wrote:
RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.

Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.

The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.
(NYT, "What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria"). Our physical and cultural amygdala will work on that sensory input, that writing, so that we can't completely believe it.

Years of propaganda in the two nations have put people at each other's throats, so much so that the concept of peaceful co-existence is made more difficult for all of us.

We are too exceptional for peace anymore (Exceptionalism In A Nutshell).

Peace should be the norm, but it isn't.

The warmongering wartocracy embedded within our two cultures engenders the dynamics that form our antagonistic, fearful, cultural amygdala.

We suffer accordingly as the elite of our nations celebrate their war profiteering and deal with us as if we are children (Security: Familyland, Fatherland, or Homeland?).

The next post in this series is here.

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