Thinking this morning about what it would take to restore and reverse the alarming, systemic, deeply-rooted tribalism and division we see all around us. It’s everywhere – in local communities, in families, in America, and in just about every part of the world. I’d love to know about times when our global community and human race has experienced clearer, deeper, starker lines in the sand that so palpably affect our everyday lives, conversations, communities, families, and behavior choices. Maybe we could learn from history and find a way forward. But today, we go where our people are; eat where our people eat; watch what our people watch; and avoid the “other side” like the plague.
Neurologically, our brain enters a different decision-making and behavior-choosing protocol when we’re threatened. (I’m not a psychologist or neuroscientist, so if someone that is wants to correct anything I have wrong here, please do that. Fact-check me, people. But I’ll share what I think I know.) We are physically incapable of accessing our pre-frontal cortex – the part of our brain responsible for rational decision-making functions – when our systems perceive danger or risk. The amygdala takes over, pumps our brain and body with adrenaline and hormones, and sends tools like rational thought, civil conversation-making, empathy, and creative problem-solving out the window.
The fear in this world today is palpable. It has permeated the air, the talk shows, the circled wagons, the hushed conversations – and the violent outbursts that makes the ground shudder and people cower behind their doors.
How do we reduce fear? How do we lessen perceived risk? How dare I ask that when pivotal, crucial, life-or-death matters are at stake? How dare I suggest we lower our guard when the media will brainwash our children and the other side will steal them away and make them unrecognizable monsters?
How do we make people brave? Maybe then we can start filling in the ruts and moats and trenches.