The Power of Emotion: Logic vs Panic

To quickly demonstrate to you what I mean by the power of emotion, we will start with a simple, fun example. As we proceed, we will specifically compare the importance of logic with the importance of raw emotion. When we are done with that, you will know why I am interested in you exploring this subject with me.


Now, imagine looking upwards and seeing something that you often see: a large group of a certain kind of common bird. If the birds that you imagined are not already still, then imagined the birds landing. Maybe they sit in the branches of a tree or maybe they sit along some kind of a line or wire.

Suddenly, an unexpected and extremely loud noise startles the birds. What do you expect them to do?

Will they totally ignore it? Will they quiet down and calmly wait to see what happens next? Will one bird be sent to investigate, rapidly moving in the direction of the noise?

Again, imagine that the noise is totally unexpected, extremely loud, and not only all of that, but the sound is also persisting. What will the group of sitting birds do predictably in response to that noise? How will they react? What powerful reflex will be triggered in their brain and neurology?

Instantly, they will stop sitting around in the tree and fly away. None of the birds will remain in the tree. All of them will flee, taking flight, right?

Further, as they fly away, is it more likely that they will end up going in many different directions or all in the same direction? Isn’t it also predictable that they will stay together as a group? The flock of birds may begin by going in a few different directions, but they are likely to assemble back in to a tight cluster. Why do they stick together? Because none of the individual organisms in the group are as sensitive as the entire group as a whole.

So, that was my quick example. How important was logic to the whole process? Would the little bird brains delicately analyze the details of their sensations and perceptions? Would they form study groups to brainstorm a few alternate interpretations and then set up experiments to precisely measure which interpretation was the most consistent with the evidence, then, if there was still too much ambiguity, they would invent methods to gather more reliable evidence?

While it is true that humans can be much more intelligent than birds, it is also true that the foundation of the human brain and nervous system is essentially identical with the bird brains. The tremendous logical capacity of an alert, calm human can be suddenly interrupted simply by triggering a deep emotional reflex, just like what happened with the group of birds startled by a noise.

Next, the form of terror involving an overwhelming surprise, like what happened with the birds, is what I call panic. When any species of animal panics, the brain of that creature is flooded by powerful hormones like adrenalin and cortisol. Blood and energy is directed away from cognitive functions to the muscles used for fighting or fleeing (such as flying or flight).

So, when a creature panics, logic becomes totally irrelevant. Logic involves observation, then forming presumptions based on observations, then testing presumptions with experimentation, then refining presumptions and considering a spectrum of alternatives. When a panic starts, all of that stops completely.

Panic instantly over-rides logic. Panic prepares an organism for a very limited range of response: either fight or flight. When fleeing is an option, that is typically the first choice. When there is no perception of an avenue to escape toward safety, then the typical behavioral outcome is to fight (or at least freeze with the possibility of future fighting).

So this is the amazing function of panic: to efficiently interrupt lower priority functions like sleeping, eating, or the logical process of intellectual exploration. Panic is the name for the biochemical, hormonal process of giving priority to safety, to a system for surviving a possible emergency. Panic is a stress response.

Now, much of what I have said so far is no surprise to you, right? You already were generally familiar with everyone I just shared, right?

If so, then nothing I said was shocking. No one would panic from hearing this so far, right?

However, many people are horrified of studying panic as it relates to them personally. They may be comfortable talking about a group of birds panicking, but if I am interested in exploring my own patterns of responding to stress and surprises, then will I be willing to admit the total dominance of panic over logic? Will I even be willing to explore the ways that my human brain can select an action and then, after selecting an action, can also construct justifications for that action?

Note that I just implied that the panicking brain could produce two very distinct outcomes: first, a private action and then, second, a later social justification. The logical process to justify the action might begin after the selecting of the action is already complete.

So, what is the purpose of this site and why would I be interested in you? I am interested in people who are courageous enough to develop their own self-awareness about their own emotional patterns. But why?

Consider that there is an immense wave of panic that is soon to ripple across human society. Prior to that panicking of the masses, I am selecting people who are ripe for not only remaining safe without panicking, but even studying the emerging panic to benefit from the panic itself.

We cannot stop bird brains from panicking in terror about a disturbing noise. We also cannot stop all humans from ever experiencing panic or extreme stress. Of course, the capacity of humans to experience a rapid stress reflex (to panic) is healthy and functional.

What we can do is to study the power of emotion (including the emotion of panic). As we study the power of emotion, we can actually develop our senses to respond far faster than the average human. We can even distance ourselves from certain potential threats and risks that most people may have been programmed to ignore or vastly under-estimate.

By preparing now in advance, we can benefit from the emerging panic. However, once the panic begins, it may be too late to prepare. The logical part of human brain will switch off to give priority to the more ancient neurological pathways of what is called the reptilian or bird brain.

If you want to benefit from the emerging panic, then you must be open to studying it before it escalates. You must be open to take action now.

To learn more about the details of the benefits available to you in the emerging panic, simply enter your primary email address or other contact information (such as Skype ID) in the comment form below. Next, you will receive a link to a schedule of upcoming opportunities for live interaction, plus additional background material.


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