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Intolerance and being Interconnected…

January 11, 2011

What on earth is the problem… It looks like we are facing an increase in angriness, frustration, greed, and intolerance. There seems to be more aggressiveness, unfriendliness  than we have ever witnessed before. Hold that “witness” thought for a moment…

First I want to explain that all of these emotions are variations of something more basic. It is called fear. Fear is the base emotion that triggers the biological fight or flight response of every animal we know.  And guess what, that includes us. If we then add group behaviour to the mix, it’s getting very interesting… You might remember people that as individuals are “not so bad” or even “nice” to you, but when they are part of a group, they suddenly look like a different person. Especially the male life form seems to “suffer” from that. Back to the individual though…

Individuals are the result of the sum of all their experiences, during their entire life. Education, school, anything that happened and happens around only one person: YOU. Your world. Your life. Way back in history (e.g. Middle Ages) most individuals experienced, what I’d call, a very small physical world. Only a few would travel far distances and meet other communities, cultures etc. This way they learned by, what I’d call, life experience. Bringing back stories (which is already their very own interpretation of what happened to them of course) and experiences of what they thought was useful. On the other side, if a stranger from out of town came by, that was a huge happening for the local community. And: “You have to be careful with things unknown.”

This has not changed today! We still are afraid of things unknown. The only huge difference is that the speed and frequency of close encounters of the unknown has increased! And definitely increased by modern technology. I want to very clearly distinguish between: Physical traveling (more often and faster) to other worlds, communities and experience those worlds yourself OR: Reading limited, mostly biased stories of those worlds on the Internet or other media. Never before so much “information” has been available and accessible by so many people. And that’s the caveat here: Information. The human brain does not make a difference between something you have experienced by being a life witness of something, or:  Reading some story about the same experience. Perhaps the life experience is more intense (hence why the entertainment industry wants to get as close as possible to the “real thing”…) but your brain reaction is about the same…

So here we are… What exactly is it that you are then a witness of?! It mostly is a story, told by others with certain objectives. You have not been yourself at the accident site, attack site, or more positive a theatre, and you have no idea about the triggers or drivers behind what happened there. You do however have an opinion, more or less influenced -or should I say, triggered?- by the story and of course your own conditioned mind. As most people read (or life experience!) only what fit’s best in their own expectations, triggering their own fight or flight response (which has been created by previous experiences), you just created yet another experience. For good or for worse…

The problem? By the growing amount of information, stories and the immense fast communication of that information, we currently are getting an overload of experiences. And there is no way to incalculate every single aspect of events anymore; therefore we have become masters of filtering and pro-actively (unconscious) excluding of information.  Add to this that somehow quite some people are more attracted to bad than good… (yes, fear) and you have created more intolerance. That can spread faster than ever before. In my opinion it is about time to reverse this. Start really using those frontal lobes.  Accept life as it unfolds to you right now and take nothing for granted…

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Suicide…

October 7, 2010

Just heard and read that a famous Dutch actor died by committing suicide (age 44). Wow… Had a chat with my girlfriend. Nobody expected that…  Of course…

I think that we only see a tiny bit and per definition always the outside of someone. Shocked? Well, yes and no. Asking the famous why question is killing and doesn’t lead to anything… A shocking occurence like this however, shows that every human has a unique set of values and drivers. I said to my girlfriend: You can look so shiny, healthy and happy from the outside. But if you have to play that role all the time (so, NOT being your real self), even towards your beloved ones, it will haunt you… and sometimes even kill you. This is no judgement on my side of this specific event. I just reflect to my own experience.

As last year I also took the most drastic decision in my life so far. I left my wife and children because I didn’t want to play that game any more. Some see that as plain egoistic, I see it as being honest towards my children and ex-wife. But also understand the pain and grieve. The difference is that I am still alive (divorce is sometimes called death without a corpse). Again, what do you, outside, know about the deeper inside of me? The one you have a mature relationship with, isn’t she/he supposed to at least come close?

 I feel sympathy with the ones he left behind. I have no clue on what they experience right now. But the rest of us: You can’t do much more than (trying to) accept what happened. Yes, it does make you think…

Yes, nobody expected this. Because not a lot of people come close and  can actually look into your soul…

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Going forward by thinking backwards…

October 6, 2010

That’s such an ironic part of life; by looking backwards you actually could go forward. Let me explain a bit about this and why I said “could go forward” as we seem not really learning…

The brain, especially that part that takes care of survival, seems to be programmed to act as “Hem” in  “Who moved my Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson who wrote the book in 1998. And I’m just wondering, even if we learn it the hard way, why we still go on as if the learning exercise had never happened.

That’s short term survival mode of the amygdala that obviously still controls us, and we’re not even aware of it! It really doesn’t matter if we eat that nice donut, drink that great wine or have sex with someone we actually don’t have an “official” or proclaimed relation with; the amygdala rules in many (or most) situations. In essence that is, since we also have the celebral cortex, or that what we call sense (well, amongst other functions). It makes us think about what we want to do or are doing. But always after an unconscious decision has already been taken. Roughly said, it makes us, what we call human.  Without it we would be mere zombies.

Now, go and have a look around on an average Saturday in a shopping area; scary hmm?  So in other words, we think we’re so clever and act civilized but the truth is that we’re biological survival beings. In the end that survival mechanism takes over. Not by behaving like caveman (although, watch that shopping area again). But yes, even you buying that flatscreen TV, is basically survival related, or wanting to be the first in a queue…

Thinking backwards, learning from our mistakes… a tough gig!

Note: This post I wrote a while ago. I edited it slightly and added some more thoughts.

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Entering the Blog world…

October 5, 2010

Configured what is hopefully to stick around as my blog…