Fear is an Ugly God: The Right Wing Extremist Brain

The basic difference between the new brain and the old brain is that the former performs complex cognitive processes, such as thinking and questioning whereas biology designed the subcortical structures of the latter to do not think. In addition, when the old brain engages, it disengages the new brain for good reason. If a Zebra hears a noise in the bush, he or she runs automatically. That is the old brain in action. If the Zebra lingered to think, “Is that tumbleweed, or is that a lion?” and it was the latter—the zebra would be dinner. Thus, the fight-or-flight mechanism, cannot involve thinking, only doing. Thinking would be disruptive to the process, hence when the amygdala engages it disengages the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC), thereby shutting down thinking. One of the problems with the “survive now ask questions later” philosophy is that the old brain cannot distinguish between reality and perception, so it is easily tricked. 1-3

racisttshirtStudies have found that ultra political conservatives have large right amygdalae compared to progressives. They also found that progressive thinkers had increased grey matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). The ACC is the part of the brain that manages complexity. The study also showed that conservative brains had smaller anterior cingulates, which is the brain region responsible for courage and optimism. 4-6 It is important to understand this, because this shapes our world and the futures for our children. The question of course is, which came first, the chicken or the egg. Are these structural brain differences in conservatives a result of their political affiliation, or are they the reason these individuals are conservatives.

“Basic religious basic religious contours of the 2012 electorate resemble recent elections-traditionally Republican groups such as white evangelicals and weekly church-goers strongly backed Romney, while traditionally Democratic groups such as Black Protestants, Hispanic Catholics, Jews and the religiously unaffiliated backed Obama by large margins.” – Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project

What does this mean? It means the schism that is ripping the United States apart and threatening a Civil War between the red and blue states has a neural basis, which is not resolvable by reason or facts. We have witnessed this as a nation. On one hand, we have a predominantly ultra-conservative Republican congress, operating from the fear center in the ancient brain based on behavior that would rather shut the nation down, damage the lives of their constituents, and place the country at risk, opposed to working with a bi-racial president, whose skin frightens them. 7,8 It is the Zebra spooked by the noise in bush.

Then across the aisle, the cerebral Democrats understand the complexities of America, but their cortical vantage has no fight-or-flight, with the emphasis being on “no fight.” Thus, ineffectual Democratic leaders continue trying to reason with the Republicans, because the Democratic constituency is apathetic, and not easily manipulated and motivated by fear like the Republican base. 9 The Republicans are not capable of reason in many instances, because the inability to distinguish reality from fear-based perception, in tandem with the larger right amygdala has disengaged the smaller complex reasoning part of their brains. Meanwhile the American public lines up according to regional brain volume, and begins tweeting like mad robins on Red-Bull. What becomes of this great political action? Life-long friends alienate each other on social media because they believe in things they do not understand. Meanwhile the bees are dying, the ice caps are melting and the biosphere continues spiraling downward.

obama-turbanConsciousness is interdependent and interconnected. 10,11 Thus, conceivably, the fear permeating America may be from precognitive awareness (premonition) caused by presentiment from the collective human consciousness affecting individual neurochemistry, which affect groups, e.g. political parties, thereby driving political and social behaviors. 12 Fear drives the world; our only hope for success is to reduce fear and anxiety. These are the cardinal concerns:

Stop the War on Women! Gender equality creates economic growth. 13 There can be no free men unless women are free. We are a binary species. If you cut off your left hand, yes, your right hand will become stronger out of necessity. However, it will never be stronger than two fully developed hands. People who fight gender equality are not thinking, they are reacting from amygdala-driven fear in the old brain. 14

Whites must accept becoming a minority. While I want to say, “Come on in, the water’s fine.” That is not true, being a minority is a rough gig. However, it is unavoidable, with China, India, Brazil, and American non-white birthrates. Whites will be a minority soon. Republican leaders consistently get poor whites to vote against their best interests by exploiting this fear. Rather than fear the near future, embrace the day beyond when all races become one.

22995632Dominant groups must stop fearing the assimilation of minorities. Racial equality, like sexual equality, promotes productivity. 15 Case in point, the more liberal blue states, which have much better records of racial equality are far more productive than the red states, which are supported by the tax dollars of the blue states. The ACC in your brain easily comprehends this. If you cannot wrap your mind around this, it is because you are being limited to the fear regions of your brain, which are not flexible enough to wrap around anything except a weapon.

The intention here is not to point the finger at any group or person. We are in this together. The point is to try to understand our behaviors in hopes of evolving. We must change our mindset from: “living on earth,” “having of dominion of the earth,” “being the top of the food chain,” etc. to being in a matrix of consciousness within the earth’s biosphere, which includes all organisms. 16 Perhaps, the goal is abandoning our consensual realities, such as class, wealth-based worth, dominant species status etc. and moving towards “beingness” and welcoming a non-local consciousness where we all living things meet beyond top and bottom, east and west, north and south, wrong and right, yellow, brown, black, red and white. Imagine, that kinder, healthier world, as you remain fabulous and phenomenal.

Selected References

1. Jozsef K. [Acquired drives. The cortical mechanism responsible to the emergence and development of social existence]. Neuropsychopharmacol Hung. 2007 Oct;9(3):151-66.

2. McEwen BS. Physiology and neurobiology of stress and adaptation: central role of the brain. Physiol Rev. 2007 Jul;87(3):873-904.

3. Uvanas-Moberg K, Arn I, Magnusson D. The psychobiology of emotion: the role of the oxytocinergic system. Int J Behav Med. 2005;12(2):59-65.

4. Thomas NA, Loetscher T, Clode D, Nicholls ME. Right-wing politicians prefer the emotional left. PLoS One.7(5):e36552.

5. Weissflog M, Choma BL, Dywan J, van Noordt SJ, Segalowitz SJ. The political (and physiological) divide: Political orientation, performance monitoring, and the anterior cingulate response. Soc Neurosci.8(5):434-47.

6. Zamboni G, Gozzi M, Krueger F, Duhamel JR, Sirigu A, Grafman J. Individualism, conservatism, and radicalism as criteria for processing political beliefs: a parametric fMRI study. Soc Neurosci. 2009;4(5):367-83.

7. Study: TD. Conservatives Have Larger ‘Fear center’ in Brain. The Raw story. . http://wwwrawstorycom/rs/2010/12/conservatives-fear-center-brain/; 2010 2010.

8. Bregmann W. Actually, Racism Is Behind the Shutdown <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/walker-bragman/the-shutdown-is-about-mor_b_4067941.html>. Accessed. Huffington Post, 2013.

9. Holland. Why is the Conservative Brain More Fearful? The Alternate Reality Right Wingers Inhabit is Terrifying. <http://www.alternet.org/story/155210/why_is_the_conservative_brain_more_fearful_the_alternate_reality_right-wingers_inhabit_is_terrifying?page=entire>. Accessed. AlterNet (U.S.). , 2012.

10. Nelson R, Bancel P. Effects of mass consciousness: changes in random data during global events. Explore (NY). Nov-Dec;7(6):373-83.

11. Princeton. Global Consciousness Project. Formal results: testing the GCP hypothesis. Accessed.

12. Nelson RD RD, Shoup R, Bancel PA. . Correlations of continuous random data with major world events. . Found Phys Lett 2002;15::537–50.

13. Schober T, Winter-Ebmer R. Gender Wage Inequality and Economic Growth: Is There Really a Puzzle?-A Comment. World Dev. Aug;39(8-4):1476-84.

14. Fanselow MS, Gale GD. The amygdala, fear, and memory. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2003 2003;985:125-34.

15. Aziz J. Less racism and sexism means more economic growth <http://theweek.com/article/index/254170/less-racism-and-sexism-means-more-economic-growth>. Accessed. The Week, 2013.

16. Dossey. One Mind. New York: Hay House; 2013.

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