Saturday, July 13, 2013

Surviving in a Non-dangerous World

Well, lately I've been having a lot of bad brain chemistry attacks, and my usual means of dealing with them--scanning, for instance--is not working as quickly or as well.

Maybe it has to do with eating too much of those substances that have powerful stimulus effects, such as chocolate. I know that eating chocolate takes away the blues for a time. My reintroduction of these substances has had the effect of creating more neuroreceptors which then must be fed. And when they're not fed, they cause trouble.

But even solving the bad brain chemistry problem leaves me with another more intractable problem--going beyond not feeling depressed or anxious or enraged to feeling joyful, content, relaxed, curious, hopeful. Will I ever achieve that? Hopefully it won't take another 20 years.

I go back to my original analogy of the creature who is trying to survive in an environment that presents constant challenges in the form of predators, scarce food and water supplies, threatening weather, rivals and bullies of his own species, disease or injury. With all the dangers, there is little time for relaxation, play, socializing, discovery, creativity. Humans have been in this situation in the past. It is only when people have removed a majority of those dangers, when humans have relatively assured their survival, that they have had the ability to learn and grow, create and invent, "progress," as we term it.

Imagine living in an environment which actually is a daily survival challenge. Many people on this earth, in this country, in fact, are in that situation currently. How can you expect them to progress when they are using all their energies to survive? It's difficult, and those who somehow manage it are extraordinary indeed.

This is the situation bad brain chemistry induces in the otherwise non-survival-challenged person. Your brain thinks you're in survival mode and responds in that way.  In order to experience joy, creativity, contentment, a person must feel safe.  But how can she feel safe when bad brain chemistry is making her feel afraid? This is the dilemma.

I think about the extreme case of a recent NFL player now on trial for murder. He left his environment where bad brain chemistry was an advantage and went to one where it was a disadvantage. He should have been happy that he made it to the big time, but instead he was afraid.  His brain chemistry wouldn't let him make the transition to a safe, easy existence.  His fears made him try to answer a survival challenge that didn't exist.

So taking away the physical challenges doesn't change things for a bad brain chemistry afflicted person. What will change things? This is the question that I can't as yet answer.

But I'm working on it.

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