We have a simple process of dealing with threat that harks back to our primitive ancestors. We have the fight or flight reaction. Or in extreme cases, the rabbit in the headlights reaction. I don’t think anyone, to my knowledge, has come as close to understanding the complexities of such a simple automatic life preserving reaction, transposed in to the extremely complex role we now play in modern society, than Daniel Goleman in his book “Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self-deception”. The brain process is quite simple and based upon the simple needs of survival. You have endorphins and ACTH. The former is a process of numbing and therefore protecting the organism from feeling pain. This probably happens to animals that are prey to ease the suffering (is there a god?). The ACTH acts to increase awareness, where as the endorphins decrease awareness. The increased awareness enables the animal to either escape or fight back against the attacker. For animal life, this is perfect and simple. But for modern man in society, with all the complexities inherent. This instinct is vastly out of place and can be disastrous. The system that once dealt with physical threat is now trying to deal with psychological threat, existential angst, the stress of the taxman. Wondering if you can make your mortgage repayments, and the anxiety that accompanies the risk of Love. The system that once used to be needed briefly, is now permanently turned on by the anxieties that are constant companions to our lives. Emotional and psychological threats. The trouble with this is that we have a very simple response to threat. Fight or flight or shut down. None of these fit in with the comlexities of the modern anxieties.

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