Thursday, July 07, 2005
choosing courage in a culture of fear
then a series of bombs went off in london, and it felt even more exact. as the news of the bombings saturated the news media today it seemed impossible to escape the escalating sense of fear permeating the airwaves. as terror alerts were raised and that good ole sense of impending doom was revamped once again my mind turned to down a cynical spiral of thoughts. but only for a moment because then i thought of the book.
i remembered the key points they make in the opening chapter about how fear is used in our culture, why we are all so afraid and what the reality is. i won't cover all of it here, you'll have to read the book to get the full message, but the main point that i found solace in today is that as humans we we're designed to cooperate.
as they state in the book:
this is a refreshing perspective to hold as we consider the dilemma of violence in our world. we are meant to cooperate. rather than letting our minds turn to thoughts of frustration, meaninglessness and numbness, which are so easy to succumb to when confronted with such violence, we can choose another set of thoughts. thoughts that remind us that not only are we designed to cooperate but that change is possible. that violence is not inevitable and each of us can have an impact.
Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta used MRI scans
to detect brain responses [during]...the well-known Prisoner's Dilemma game - used to explore cooperation and conflict in groups and often to prove how self interested we are - the researchers found that the brightest signals arose when subjects were cooperating. These responses, said the scientists, suggest "that we're wired to cooperate with each other."
if you decided to ignore any thoughts of hopelessness and choose courage over fear what might you decide to do to make an impact in the world?
as always, i'd love to hear.