Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Flight of the Amygdala

I've been thinking about my amygdala.

A couple weeks ago, when I read about our bipartisan impulse to throttle the guy on the other side, to be completely immune to their arguments, and to only view my own 'facts' as the truth, I protested, in my mind at least, that I would never be so unscientific about facts.

Then, I read another article that said something similar. It included the results of a study. I love studies. Oh, I'd dig up these articles for you, but I won't because I have to go tutor kids in forty-five minutes and I haven't showered yet.

The idea is that, similar to when we're cheering for our team, our amygdala gets involved. The descriptions say that an amygdala is that little reptile brain that responds to danger, fight or flight.

Aren't reptile brains, some of them, more complex than that? I hate to think that reptiles have only fight or flight and that they're all emotion and nothing else. That would be miserable. Frankly, I don't see them acting that way. Garter snakes seem quite calm if you approach them quietly. They let you look at them, take their pictures, and don't even freak out when the dog comes along and takes a good sniff along their sides. They just slither quietly into the grass.

But I digress.

Anyway, the amygdala, I am told, is responsible for our safety and when it gets going, we don't make 'rational' decisions. I'd argue that figuring out whether to run or kick a guy in the crotch is completely rational in a situation with a predator threatens to attack you on the street. I've seen it work.

But I digress again. Sorry.

So, all these bipartisan arguments are futile since we're all responding with our amygdalas and no one is seeing the truth.

Is that true? Can't I rely on my team to investigate wisely? Can't I trust the New York Times? What about the Washington Post? CNN? Rachel Maddow?

I can trust their journalism, right?

But then I just now got all emotional and could feel a change in my heartrate.

So, I've been thinking about it, rationally. Or trying.

For me, Donald Trump is the scary clown in the book, 'It' by Stephen King. You know the one I mean. He's everywhere, even in the bathroom with you. He whispers the vile things he's going to do to you. If you go outside, he's there. If you hide in a quiet place, he's there too. Stephen King can make a fucking car scary. He is solely responsible for ruining clowns for me. And fog. I was never scared of clowns or fog before those books. I wonder what he thinks of that whole scary clown thing that happened last fall?

But I digress, over and over and over. You'd better get used to it.

With Trump, there's always pussy grabbing. He said it on tape. I've watched that tape at least six times and it raises my adrenaline each time. Pussy grabbing is terrifying when you're the recipient and you're not with someone who loves you.

And Trump is everywhere. You can't get away from his orange face and pink comb-over. He's in the magazine rack in the bathroom. He's on the coffee table. He's on television. It's like having a fucking stalker.

And I had a stalker, a mild one, but a stalker just the same. Having a stalker grabs your amygdala too.

So, I admit that my reactions, opinions, and yes, even my 'facts' are influenced by my amygdala.

But couldn't this Trump threat just be real enough that fight or flight is appropriate?

Thank you for listening, jules

No comments:

Post a Comment