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Humans are "hard-wired" to be angry, fearful and aggressive. Why?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately mostly due to what I've seen in my local, rural area in response to the Obama administration's desire to get immigration reform and gun safety laws enacted AND to get rid of DOMA. Where I live, I can easily feel a palpable anger roiling through the majority of the populace.
So why am I aware of this? Why is this response among conservatives happening?
The truth about human beings is, on the whole, we have evolved to have a "paranoia bias" according to Dr. Rick Hanson, author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. Don't let the title of that book throw you. It's just that Buddhist monks' brain function while in a meditative state have been studied the most since the 1970's by brain scientists in comparison to brain function of a person from western societies. Lots of good info here: http://www.rickhanson.net/
Dr. Hanson has studied how are brains work for decades. He started his career as a psychologist and soon discovered that in human relationships there has to be five positive interactions to counter just one negative interaction in order for humans to simply feel neutral about each another. And he discovered that people preferably "see" things negatively even if they aren't in fact. Humans expect trouble and see potential problems...our "paranoia bias." This explains quite a bit about misunderstandings in relationships and why we often seem to react quite strongly to even the smallest perceived slight.
Dr. Hanson says this is actually normal and natural due to how our species evolved.
There have been about 100,000 generations since hominids started using stone tools. Those who were the most fearful, angry and aggressive survived and passed those traits on in their genes. Those who were calm, creative and gentler didn't recognize danger as quickly and were killed and/or eaten. Also because of this, male domination and aggression ruled in most cultures on earth even ultimately eventually in cultures that had once been matriarchal. Primates are ruled by a dominant male.
We evolved over eons to be more paranoid, suspicious and reactive than to be laid back, relaxed and accepting which, after thousands and thousands of generations, explains why humans resonate with and react to fear more than anything else. Being afraid and feeling threatened then reacting with anger and aggression equaled survival. Being calm, contemplative, and creative then responding in a reasoned and compromising way invited the end of your life and your gene line.
It's why politicians and the NRA can always resort to ginning up fear and loss to get their way. And it's why the side that is on the short end of the stick politically or feels a threat to it's status quo gets ever more entrenched in using fear tactics and fanatical ranting. Haven't you wondered why the NRA a decade ago was all for background checks for gun purchases but are 100% against it now? Haven't you wondered why the GOP has gotten rid of moderate Republicans willing to work with Democrats and replaced them with conspiracy-theory types, racists, Dominionists and anti-choice groups?
It's the natural human response to paranoia of perceived danger. Our species has evolved to behave like that when things aren't the way we want. The bottom line is it works because it's how the brains of the majority of us are hard-wired. The crazier the GOP and NRA get and the farther from reasonable they become is a sure indicator of feeling more marginalized as their power and influence is waning.
It will only intensify...so don't be surprised as you witness this in the future. They will double down on the crazy without being influenced by results of elections. We are seeing this now.
When I was finishing up my schooling I had to take a course called Business Ethics and Management. One part of what we learned was what sociologists and psychiatrists know about our species ----> humans are overall 3 times more negative than positive. We were taught this fact so as to understand what we needed to do to be successful in building our practices. It turns out that, when you factor in all personality types (some are wallflowers and introverts, others outgoing and extroverted), if the "average" person has a positive experience, they tell 7 people. If they have a negative experience, they tell 22 people. And having a negative experience or even just hearing about a negative experience others have will cause you to retain that negative belief for an average of 10 years.
This means if you're in any type of business or profession, you have to have 77% of all your customers, clients or patients be 100% satisfied by your services to get the "word on the street" to be 50% positive and 50% negative about you. This fact opened my eyes both in terms of what human beings are really like and that I needed to have 85% or more of all the people I treat be 100% satisfied by my services if there was going to be more positive vs. negative things said about me and my practice out there in the real world.
So what can we individually do about this "normal" human hard-wired brain?
Dr. Hanson says studies prove that how are brains work do affect our thoughts, BUT our thoughts in turn affect how our brains work as well. It is a two way street! In other words, thoughts can literally change how our brains work over time by creating new neuronal connections.
There's a saying, "neurons that work together wire together." Of course we now know our brains have plasticity and the capacity to continually change.
It turns out the key is "where you place your attention," something I harp on about all the time. If you place your attention on something for just 30 seconds, it starts changing the neural networks in your brain. We can choose our thoughts then keep our attention there to change ourselves by changing our brains.
Purposefully and proactively directing your attention to something will change your brain over time. It takes effort and dedication, but it does happen. You have to do it repeatedly for a while to achieve a truly differently wired and thus differently thinking brain.
The way our brains have evolved naturally to be predominantly attentive to anger and fear can be re-wired to be more attentive to the calm, contemplative and spiritual. This isn't just a concept, it is really how are brains work. You don't have to wait for hundreds of generations to change the way your brain works. We know this now from studying the brain scientifically and seeing the way Buddhist monks' brains are wired from purposeful attention.
Do you purposefully choose your thoughts? Do you choose where you put your attention? How do you re-wire your brain?
Latest Updates on Kossack Regional Meet-Up News Below the New Day sunrise cloud
Let's build communities!
Every region needs a meatspace community like SFKossacks.
We take care of each other in real life.
I urge YOU to take the lead and organize one in your region.
Please tell us about it if you do and we're here for advice.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY
Click >>>HERE to see a list of all the regional Kossack groups that have organized for social and activism events. There are handy links to contact each organizer to join.
>>>Instructions on HOW TO FORM A NEW DAILY KOS GROUP
Saturday, March 23rd
LAKossacks Monthly Meet-up
TIME: 2:00 PM
LOCATION: Casey's Irish Pub
613 S Grand Ave. • Los Angeles
ORGANIZER: Send Dave in Northridge a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: LA Kossacks: REMINDER - Meetup at Casey's NEXT Saturday, March 23
1. Dave in Northridge
2. Joe Bacon
7. otoelbc (Mr. susans - New Kossack!)
Saturday, March 23rd
Central Ohio Kossacks Meet-up
TIME: 6:00 PM
LOCATION: The Tap Room in the Brewery District
150 W. Sycamore St. • Columbus
ORGANIZER: Send VetGrl a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Central Ohio Kossacks MEETUP: March 23, 6:00 at the Tap Room
3. Silvia Nightshade
4. Don midwest
6. Spirit of Life
8. Major Kong
10. Mama Nightshade
freeport beach PA
Saturday, March 30th
Houston Area Kossacks Meet-up and Potluck
TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: Libby Shaw's house
[Address] • [City]
ORGANIZER: Send Chrislove a kosmail to attend and get address.
Latest diary: Houston Area Kossacks: April 6 Meet-Up RESCHEDULED for Saturday, March 30! (Please RSVP again!)
3. Libby Shaw (host)
4. Mr. Libby Shaw (host)
5. Alan Luckey (honorary Kossack, Organizing for Action)
7. Mr. suesue
11. mister mustardhead
New York Hudson Valley Kossacks
NY Hudson Valley Kossacks' First Meet-up
LOCATION: Hudson House
2 Main Street • Cold Spring, NY
ORGANIZER: Send boran2 a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Diva waiting...
Wednesday, April 3rd
SFKossacks Protest Pres. Obama's Fundraiser in SF to Stop XL Pipeline
TIME: 5:00 PM
LOCATION: 2870 Broadway at Baker
2870 Broadway • San Francisco
SFKossacks After Protest Meet-up
TIME: 7:00 PM?
LOCATION: TBD, a restaurant nearby
Saturday, April 6th
Kossacks Meet-up for Dave in Northridge
[Address] • [City]
ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to attend.
2. Dave in Northridge
Saturday, April 6th
TIME: 2:00 PM
LOCATION: ColoTim's home
Address given by Kosmail • Denver
ORGANIZER: Send ColoTim a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Colorado Meetup - April 6th, 2013
3. Ginny in CO
5. State Senator Irene Aguilar
7. Colorado is the Shiznit
11. blind cynic
Sunday, April 7th
DailyKos readers who live and/or work in New England
(Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont)
Connecticut Kossacks Meet-up
[Address] • [City]
ORGANIZER: Send Phil S 33 a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Last Chance Meet-up in Connecticut (for me)
1. Phil S 33
April: Post Tax Day
Southern Cal Inland Empire Kossacks Meet-up
[Address] • [City]
ORGANIZER: Send SoCaliana kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: So Cal IE Kossacks: April Meetup
Kansas & Missouri KossacksFriday, April 19th
LOCATION: Springfield Brewing Company
305 South Market Street • Springfield
ORGANIZER: Send tmservo433 a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: [Diva waiting...]
Dkos Asheville's First Meet-up
LOCATION: The Bywater
796 Riverside Dr. • Asheville
ORGANIZER: Send randallt a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary:Dkos Asheville Open Thread
3. Otteray Scribe
5. people power granny
9. GordonNC (UID 5123 & City Councilman)
13. Captain Sham
14. Sandy on Signal
Land of Enchantment
alicia (plus two)
From randallt: "DKos Asheville is hosting a meet up and we've managed to cast a wide net! Asheville NC is the epicenter of cool progressive in the heart of the mountains and we have folks traveling from Eastern Tennessee, the Southern Highlands and Charlotte. So don't let the distance keep you away, come to Asheville, sign up today! You know you want to."
Netroots Nation 2013 in San Jose: Plenary Session Table Reservations
June 20th - 23rd • REGISTER HERE
1. side pocket [First Lieutenant]
2. mrs. side pocket
6. Cali Scribe
7. Glen the Plumber
10. Mrs. jotter
4. boran2 (Honorary)
5. BeninSC (Honorary)
7. Senor Unoball
Native American Netroots:
2. Meteor Blades
3. 4Freedom (maybe)
4. no way lack of brain
6. Kitsap River
7. Charles Curtis Stanley
9. TFLS's guest
10. TFLS's guest
Central Valley Kossacks:
6. Caddis Fly
8. peregrine kate (honorary)
9. ProvokingMeaning (honorary)
Lone Star Kossacks:
Cheers & Jeers:
1. Bill in Portland Maine
2. Common Sense Mainer
5. Spousal Unit
Los Angeles Kossacks:
5. Dave in Northridge
NYC and beyond:
2. belinda ridgewood
3. belinda ridgewood's guest
Community Quilt Project:
1. Sara R
4. ramara (Arizona)
5. Horace Boothroyd III
Hopefully we can put together whole tables for them.
Military Community Members:
3. angelajean (Maybe)
4. exlrrp (Maybe)
Misc. registered Kossacks + regions:
Community Quilt Project NN13 Flash Mob Photo
smileycreek is organizing and asking all Community Quilt recipients to bring their quilts to NN13. We'll assemble at a pre-designated location and time for a group photo with one of the NN13 professional photographers. It will be a group hug celebrating one of the most beloved community building projects we have here at Daily Kos with Sara R and winglion at the center of it. navajo and Glen the Plumber are going to scout out and select a location in advance for all to meet with their quilts for a memorable photo opportunity. Stay tuned.
Date: TBD Time: TBD
2. Dave in Northridge
8. llbear (not attending, quilt only)
9. Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse (may not attend)
10. Smoh (not attending, quilt only)
12. belinda ridgewood
15. Kitsap River
16. Charles Curtis Stanley
Glacier National Park Kossack EPIC Meetup!
LOCATION: Glacier National Park
402 9th St W • Columbia Falls, Montana
ORGANIZER: Send arizonablue a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Glacier National Park Meetup - Part II w/ lodging and campground info!
5. Ojibwa - arriving for the weekend
13. state of confusion
14. Lute the Norwegian
15. Josh Blue
Ed in Montana
Send navajo a kosmail if you post a diary about an event so we can update our round-up.
Okay. Floor's open.
Tell us what you are doing on this NEW DAY?