I had a slight epiphany yesterday while listening to a podcast. The host mentioned how humans are still often controlled by the amygdala. Also known as the reptilian brain by some. It’s the part of the brain that that basically controls our response to outside stimuli and how we respond/react to those stimuli (among other things I’m sure. This is random thoughts, not a scientific paper. 😀 ) The flight, fight, or freeze response comes from this area of the brain.
The flight, flight, or freeze response is because of a fear we have of something. For our ancient ancestors it was the rustle of leaves in the bushes that made them jump into action for fear it was a large cat only to find out it was a mouse. It was helpful then. We wouldn’t where we are today if our ancient ancestors hadn’t run for their lives when they heard a noise. Who knows, maybe there was a large cat behind the mouse. 🙂
The problem we have as a species is that we’re stuck back there in ancient times, but we’ve got the prefrontal cortex which sometimes balances things out. And I mean sometimes. I realized yesterday that we’re maybe a step or two ahead of animal. If that. We have the possibility to be a wonderful species. However, currently I don’t see us anywhere near the place. We are in a perpetual state of toddlerhood throughout our lives. Toddlers with the ability think abstractly.
I could go on about how horrible we are to each other and the rest of the planet. But that’d be too depressing. I will focus on a question I asked myself yesterday. If I can find it in my heart to understand that a child or another animal is doing the best they can with what they have (cognitive abilities and the like), how can find the place to understand grown adults who are supposed to be more evolved? I would really like to find a way to be ok with where my species is in it’s evolution.