Welcome to the I AM Podcast presentation of A Master’s Class on Fear Part 2. I’m your presenter, Sean Webb.
Last class, we covered the basics of fear and we introduced my model which includes the emotional influences which explains the exact process the mind follows to create the fear and emotion response. This class, we’re going to dive in to that model to explain the details of the emotional influence system and we’ll introduce the first ever infallible definition of the emotion of fear. So let’s get started.
First, we need to understand the difference between the brain and the mind.
The brain is the 3-pound mass of nerve cells, neuroglia and connective tissues that make up the central portion of the body’s nervous system. The mind however, is something else altogether. Personally, I like the definition of Dr. Francis Crick, the world leading neuro-scientist who won a Nobel Price for the co-discovery of DNA. He basically defined the mind as the experience we have because of our brain doing its thing. But what exactly does it mean when we say the brain is doing its thing. Well the brain is made up of trillions of brain cells and what are cells? Cells are living, breathing, eating, eliminating, thinking and decision making creatures who come together in a symbiotic society to serve a larger purpose than their individual existence. Now, science conditions us to ignore the consciousness of our bodies by discussing it like its machines similar to a car. Just as we might explain the doors containing passengers inside the vehicle, the engine creates power for the motivation, the transmission provides motion to the drivetrain And the exhaust removes the waste from the system. Doctors would tell us—the heart pumps the blood around the circulatory system, the cells catalyze the oxygen in to action, the kidneys purify the blood and the bladder removes the waste and when you’re a kid, this honks the horn (pressing my nose). Beep!
It’s ridiculous how much we don’t know about the human body and the independent intelligence of our brain as the central portion of our consciousness within it but here’s what we can assume just by looking at basic evidence. Our bodies are clearly more intelligent than we are. On day 1 of coming out of mommy’s belly, it’s our cells that already know how to crawl up mommy’s belly, suckle on a nipple and do all the things necessary to digest the milk into that wonderful, wonderful waste (can you tell I have a two year old?). So, just from that alone we can tell that the cells are super intelligent if we need a proof of their consciousness, we can look at the things like the activity of the white blood cells, which in their charter can form what are called “pseudopodia” which are fake temporary feet to crawl up stream against the flow of blood to get a brand new pathogen the world has never seen—that denotes an intelligent decision making ability. When you burn your hand on the stove, the message of pain doesn’t even make it to your brain before this guy, somewhere in your backbone says—the cells in the hand are being hurt and we should initiate the muscles to move the hand to avoid further damage. Your brain doesn’t even get to chime in. Science of course calls these things “autonomic” or involuntary. But involuntary from whose perspective. Really, t’s not involuntary from the perspective of the conscious, intelligent cell, in fact it even makes logical sense from their perspective. It’s only our own hubris of existence that doesn’t allow us to think that we may not be the most intelligent creatures on this planet, well on the universe. More evidence? Placebos can influence the cells within us to cure deadly diseases without any medicine if you simply believe the disease in to non-existence.
Ok so, now getting back to fear. Although you come in to the world with your brain cells being fully intelligent, your mind however is pretty empty and it turns out, this is actually great design feature.
See the world is an ever evolving ever changing environment and because of this, we as the waking hours custodian of the body actually need to come to the world with a clean slate so that we can fill that clean slate with what we learn about the environment which we are born in to. An environment which could be totally different than the one that the last generation had. And so, actually it’s a survival mechanism that our mind is almost totally blank when we’re born. It’s so we can then learn about our environment and about how we fit in within that environment so we can remember where the food and water is and so we can know where to find shelter and so we can learn the language for saying, “wanna shack?” So in this charter of the mind starting out blank so it can help define the world and your existence in it. It’s not unreasonable to think that it’s pretty important for the mind to know that the definitions and lessons its learned are correct because when you’re talking about learning that its safe for a hundred feet from up there but it’s not safe if your 99 feet from up there, if you’re wrong about that 100 feet thing, there can be some dire consequences to that mistake. And this, this need of needing to have our definitions and understandings of the world be proven correct within the mind, there’s not only a reason for our constant judgment within the mind but it’s also the basis for the first component within the mind that helps cause fear—the equation of emotion.
So the equation of emotion is simple. Expectation or preference as compared to reality as perceived equals some type of emotional response. How it works generally is when expectation or preference matches the reality as it’s perceived, a positive emotion as a result. When expectations or preference is different than the reality as perceived then a negative emotion is the result. Here’s an example: Let’s say you like a certain sports team. So your expectation and preference is that they win the big game, so when they win the big game, the equation of emotion is more balanced so you experience positive emotion as a result. If your team loses the game there’s an imbalance in the equation of emotions which means you will experience some sort of negative emotion. Now, here’s a cool negative proof of this equation: If one side or the other of this equation isn’t present, no emotion is the result. For instance, you don’t care about sports. The game happens and you experience no emotion when you found out who won. Similarly, if you do care but the game has happened and for some reason you don’t know the score, no emotion about the game exist. Yes, it could be driving you nuts that you don’t know the score of the game but that’s another instance of the equation of the emotion where your preference is that you know who won and the reality is that you don’t. And if you think about it, this fits perfectly with the charter of the mind which is to help you understand the world and your place in it so you can survive and when something isn’t as you expect or prefer, a mini melt down occurs in the form of negative emotions. Now, fear has a specific definition and that definition is: at any time there’s an imbalance in the equation of emotion related to a potential threat to anything the mind associates with its definition of self, fear occurs. Now that sounds more complicated than it actually is so, let’s talk about the component of the mind that is connected with the understanding of self for a second and you’ll see just how simple it is.
The component within the mind that is actually defined as the mind’s definition of self is called the ego. Now for our purposes, the ego can actually be mapped so we can watch its development from early childhood forward. And so early in our lives, the ego starts out kinda empty. Images, smells, sounds, mom and dad start the chain then mommy starts pointing fingers and teaches us you, mommy, doggy, aunt Patty. So we start to identify with our bodies, we start to identify with other people’s bodies. We learn about our gender and what being a boy or a girl means to society then later we start to attach to other people, places and ideas of identity as we grow up—grandma, friend, where we go to school. Then more complex stuff—religion, politics, sports teams, jobs, societal status, marital status and all that is supposed to be in your mind, your parental status and how you consciously or subconsciously act in that role. And all these stuff comes together in your mind to create your conscious and subconscious mind’s picture of you. Now, if you noticed, the various things we palced down here on this map landed in various distances from the center of the map. We did that for a reason because not only do attachments do various things occur in different people, they occur at different power levels for different people also. For instance, you may be very attached to grandma if she helped raise you while someone else might not be attached to grandma at all because she lived in Germany and you never met. Some people are not so big on sports while others get so attached to their teams they shed tears when they lose. And so this attachment power varies and serves two purposes in our understanding. First, the fear you experience about one of your attachments is directly proportional to the attachment power of that attachment. If you’re just a little attached to something, you feel level of fear about it. If you’re very attached to something, you will experience a more pronounced fear and these two measurements—attachment and power of attachment together become well representative how billions of people in the planet can be individuals regardless of other things that make us different like brain chemistry, etcetera. And what else this component does is allow us to give fear an unmoving, unchanging definition that works for all people on the planet 100% of the time. And that definition being fear occurs at any time anyone of these things we’re attached to falls into potential threat situation, a potential devaluation. And with Psychology saying fear is a learned emotion, with our new understanding, we can see that its clearly not a learned emotion and that it’s the same reaction within the brain every single time that’s something on the cognitive ego attachment map falls into jeopardy of being devalued. What is learned is when an individual winds up attaching to as the definition of their existence. That’s what is learned. And it because the mind attachment map looks different within each individual on the planet, that’s why fears within each individual vary. That’s why a person who identifies with their body as the main portion of their existence sh*ts their pants when a bear walks out of the woods when he’s peeing in front of ‘em and while a Buddhist monk who does not identify the body as self can fearlessly douse himself with gasoline and set himself to fire in the final act of war protest. And the rest of our fears prove out the model here as well. When a car sliding out of control in our direction, the level of fear that we feel is substantial, thanks to the high level of attachment we have with our bodies. When grandma has a heart attack, the level of fear we feel depends on how attached we are to grandma. If we’re closer to grandma, the fear is greater of losing her. If she’s a stranger in Germany whom you never talked to, a mild concern might surface. If that when a certain sports team is about lose the game, if we’re a fan of that team, we get concerned. If we’re not even attached to the sport, we couldn’t care less who wins and feel no fear in relation. But the thing that doesn’t change is the fact that there is a threat to an attachment of the mind’s definition of self. And it’s because of that the brain reacts in a pre-wired fashion by initiating the fear response including the adrenaline rush and capillary constriction and the heart rate increase and the focus to tension reactions, etcetera. The most common fears in the world—fear of the dark isn’t a fear of absence of light, it’s what out there in the dark that’s a threat to me. Fear of heights isn’t the height, it’s the potential threat of the fall and its effects on the body. Fear of public speaking isn’t the words that must be spoken but the fear of the potential threat to your idea of self or what others will think of you if you screw up or when people will judge you by looking at your body while you’re up there because if you don’t have those specific attachments or you learn to get over those attachments, you get over those fears which wouldn’t be possible if it were only the brain’s evolutionary features that dictated fears that neuro science suggest. And regarding Psychology’s understanding, the innate fears that Psychology must exclude from their current understanding of fear as a learned response like when the doctor performs the Morrow on a newborn baby like we discussed in part one. When you’re dropping that baby down suddenly, that throws the perception of a potential threat in to the baby’s consciousness regarding its body and its ability. And remember, the body is one of the first things we connect to, so the current Psychological definition of fear isn’t complete either. But things like the Morrow and irrational fear fit perfectly in our new model of understanding. So now you, officially understand fear better than current Psychology and neuron science PhD. What’s next though is to fully understand how this process creates havoc in your life and for you to also understand your exact ego map so you can then pin point the catalyst that cause fear within you in various situation because the model works in reverse also so if you know what you’re afraid of, you can figure out what your attachment is that creates that fear and learn more about your mindful self which can bring about a heightened level of inner peace which what we’re gonna talk about in part 3.
So we’ll see you next week. Thanks for being with us and for the I Am Podcast Master’s class on fear, I’m Sean Webb.
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