The idea of taming your lizard brain may seem daunting, but the alternatives are much worse. Observe the world around you. You will see conflict and co-operation. Groups fighting the ideas of another group. Groups reaching out with a desire to understand and mend fences. But conflict seems to be prevalent. Fundamentalist Muslims hating and lashing out against everyone who isn’t like them. Fundamentalist Christians hating fundamentalist Muslims. Right wing politicians demonizing left wing politicians and vice / versa. Some political groups trying to work together to solve real problems. What you see is the ebb and flow of the Lizard Brain in a social context.
If you start looking more carefully you will see this everywhere. Street gangs. Church burnings. Abortion doctors being shot. Hate crimes against Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, gays. Church led protests at soldiers funerals. Burning of the Koran by a Christian group. Relationship arguments are a classic case.
The causational nuts and bolts of this rampant strife boils down to a kind of evolutionary glitch. The Lizard Brain’s job is to keep the organism alive. Unfortunately, it cannot cleanly differentiate a real threat. With it’s limited ability to separate real threat from a simple difference, it creates all kinds of havoc. So, LB is wired to protect identities because it equates identity with the entire organism.
LB is fired up when a group that one of it’s protected identities is attached to is threatened. Again, this is a false equation. Survival is not actually threatened, but it equates ideas and beliefs with identity. To an LB, an idea can be threatened. So, in the way that it functions, the dangerous idea and anyone who espouses it becomes the enemy.
LB cannot see true motivation, but projects It’s fear onto the motivation of others and groups it opposes. This defense mechanism masks its ability to see reality and colors everything threatening with anti survival activity.
LB has no empathy, although it will form a bond of co-survival with others who share the same identities or values that come with the identity of the person or group.
For those of you who really want to change yourselves and change the world, there is a lot that can be done. Here are a couple suggestions to get you started. For much more, see our upcoming book: “Integration and Your Lizard Brain”.
Work diligently to deprogram your own Lizard Brain. Question every motivation & belief. Observe your reactions and judgments.
As you see the Lizard Brain at work in society, persons or self, bring it to the light of reason, reality or truth. See if you can do it without being triggered by a survival message by your own LB. Sometimes you may need to remain quiet through the survival reactions hormonal rush until you can reach the clarity of differentiation, and maintain the principle of inclusion and a nonjudgmental attitude. Your frontal lobes need to come back online.