Fight or Flight Revisited
About This Episode
As we approach our 150th episode, we're revisiting some topics we did early on at the beginning of the podcast. This episode is about the human tendency to go into fight or flight mode in response to anxiety provoking realities.
We quote from the book "Failure of Nerve" by Edwin Friedman a few times. Below are the excerpts cited:
the possible exception of the first half of the twentieth century, since. While there have been other half-centuries of extraordinary progress, few have involved such fundamental change of direction all across the board. A person born in 1492 could have witnessed in their lifetime: an extraordinary flowering of artistic imagination concerning form and perspective in painting, sculpture, literature, architecture; the Reformation led by Luther and Calvin, ramifying out into almost every subculture and presaging the way religious differences would be formulated for centuries thereafter; the invention of the watch, enabling an unheralded fine-tuning in the measurement and coordination of daily time periods; observations of space and experimentation with lenses that would lead to the creation of the telescope; and the dissemination of the first newspaper, initiating the effects of widespread information-sharing within a community. Underlying all of this artistic, philosophical, and scientific upheaval was an even more basic, all-embracing change: the two worldviews by which European civilization had oriented itself for almost fifteen hundred years (based largely on the scholarship of the second-century Greek thinker and mapmaker, Ptolemy) were turned on their heads. One misperception was the view that the land mass on our planet was situated entirely above the equator, extending contiguously from western Europe to eastern Asia, with the Indian Ocean a land-locked lake. The other was the notion that our planet’s relationship to the rest of the planets and other heavenly bodies was “geocentric”— that is, the other planets and stars revolved around the Earth, which according to this orientation was situated at the center of the universe.
Friedman, Edwin H.. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix (Kindle Locations 596-613). Church Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Anyone who has ever been part of an imaginatively gridlocked relationship system knows that more learning will not, on its own, automatically change the way people see things or think. There must first be a shift in the emotional processes of that institution. Imagination and indeed even curiosity are at root emotional, not cognitive, phenomena. In order to imagine the unimaginable, people must be able to separate themselves from surrounding emotional processes before they can even begin to see (or hear) things differently. Without this understanding, it becomes impossible to realize how our learning can prevent us from learning more. After all, when Galileo, a century later, tried to reorient the cosmic perspective of his world, he offered in rebuttal to those who were unwilling to learn what he had learned a look for themselves through his telescope. And there were people who not only disagreed with his views but, when offered the opportunity, even refused to peek.
Friedman, Edwin H.. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix (Kindle Locations 617-624). Church Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.