You feel like you handle yourself in a rational manner with regard to discussion of some issues and situations, but then there are some topics where you seem prone to an irrational adrenaline-generating almost-angry response. Why?
You explain a view on an important topic very calmly and respectfully to a friend or family member, but they seem blatantly closed-minded in their refusal to really engage in conversation about it. Why?
You have a particular perspective on a variety of issues. When you are challenged in a view that you hold very dear, it feels almost like a personal "attack" because that view is so valuable that you associate it with your very identity or "core" self. You might claim to be "open" to correction "if" you are wrong, but you deeply believe that you are right.
I recently encountered an excellent and brief commentary on why our responses to being challenged can vary from civil and intellectual to irrational and strongly emotional. I have modified this quote only slightly to remove potentially distracting context. It was written in a comment stream following a blog post, and it was addressed to a previous commenter. Please share your thoughts.
The way you wrote really gives your neurologically informed reader a clear picture of where the blood and oxygen was flowing in your brain while you wrote and where it was not. When you lash out with personal attacks such as “How…terrible of you,” “You are disingenuous,” and “Shame on you,” followed by sweeping generalizations, you really paint a graphic picture of what the electroencephalogram of your thoughts looked like as you transcribed those thoughts. There is a reason why serious intellectual discourse (as opposed to political sensationalism, demagoguery, and old fashion priest craft) requires civility, politeness and etiquette. When you make a debate personal and emotional the way you have, you redirect the flow of blood and oxygen in your brain away from the higher neomammalian cerebral cortex and down to the lower paleomammalian and reptilian parts of the central nervous system that are responsible for activating the fight or flight responses in a person (see triune brain theory). These centers however are not responsible for higher level abstract thinking, categorization, and compartmentalization. The “knife” of the lower more primitive parts of the brain that your are using in your writing are really a very blunt and dull instrument with which to dissect ideas and decipher their value. In fact, with those lower parts of the brain, the tendency is to set up knee jerk prejudices and a black and white sense of who is a like minded part of your “in-group,” i.e. looks like you and reminds you of yourself, making you feel safe, and who is the terrifying “other” or “out-group” that you don’t identify with you and whom you wish blindly to either destroy or assimilate into a clone of your own image by force.
And that precisely, is the definition of pre-humanism. You don’t identify with all humans as part of your group. You have hard and fast rules and dogmas about who is part of your “in-group” and who is in the “out-group,” and the thought of merging those two groups makes you froth at the mouth, rage, and hurl personal insults. That sounds like a classic example of primitive homogeneous in-group-ism. If you want to join something better and bigger than yourself and become part of a conversation rather than a war, you might want to start with some breathing exercises–yoga perhaps–before you try to join in a discourse so that you can redirect the flow of blood in your brain back up to the higher levels of neomammalian evolution, so we can see if you actually have the capacity to share any intelligent perspectives. - WRITTEN BY Thoth Coon