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Breathe

Dear Editor:

I am reading a piece about a part of our brain — the amygdala. This is the smaller-than-walnut part of our brain that is the most primitive and shared with other species. It governs our reaction to danger and surprise. It quickly responds to these stimuli by changing our pulse rate, blood pressure and release of adrenaline. It gets us into a survival mode. It does not reason and depends on generalizations and stereotypes to classify dangers.

Today, it seems to me that there is an abundance of action based primarily on our primitive reaction to dangers, real or not real. Today, the world was/is to end. Tomorrow, our economy will collapse. We see revolution coming or we seek it. Both “sides” appear to be in full survival mode with its attendant reactions without reasoning, anger without thought, stereotyping without seeking to understand. We seem to have lost the ability to think, perceiving the dangers to be so close to us.

I hope, as we approach the New Year, that recent events and non-events will give us pause to take ten really deep breathes. Pause to consider just how real the threats from our friends and neighbors really are. The rest of our brains can reason, if we will take the time to get beyond stereotypes, to talk out our fears and differences, to care enough to let a little love show through.

Happy New Year.

Tom Cruse

This story was posted on December 27, 2012.