In our not too distant past, in our early evolution, we existed as small furry animals, hiding under rocks, running from danger. We may have taken to the trees at one point, then we moved on to caves. Within the structure and development of our brain, all these previous structures still remain, the structures built upon as we evolved, grew outside these core structures, but the core structures themselves remained, unchanged. We developed new areas of brain with direct pathways to these earlier structures, areas such as the anterior cingulate, designed to monitor and manage these primitive areas. At times of danger,  or threat, these earlier structures developed powerful instinctual urges designed to protect the organism. In our new environment these urges are more a curse than a saviour. We now rely upon areas of the prefrontal cortex and these pathways to be able to regulate,  overcome and tune out these instinctive urges. At times of stress, anxiety or doubt, this inner animal brain tries to take over, and in many cases succeeds, if but for a short while. It tries to apply it’s simple dichotomous answer to threat. Such an answer, these days, is highly detrimental to our own wellbeing and the structure of our modern lives. Our emotional development relies upon the structures and pathways of the prefrontal cortex to be able to effectively regulate the primitive core brain. High levels, especially prolonged high levels, of cortisol, the stress hormone, damages the early development of the prefrontal cortex and it’s pathways to the primitive core brain. Our ability to manage and regulate our emotions relies upon strong pathways between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, pathways that develop as the brain is in its fastest growing phase, both in the womb and in the infant’s early years. It is now clear that damage and impairment, due to prolonged periods of stress, in the development of the infant brain, far more so than genes, is responsible for what we now refer to as; pathologies, neurosis, dysfunction, emotional imbalance and any other of the myriad of classifications for dysfunctions of the human mind. It is now quite clear that the internal conflict that arises from the inability of the higher brain functions to communicate and regulate our primitive brain functions is the root of all human dysfunction. It may be, that all that we call evil is behaviour that has at it’s root a misapplication of our primitive defences against perceived emotional, psychological or existential threat or danger.

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