The good news about the limbic brain is that it can trigger enormous amounts of energy. Aggressiveness, in its pure, survival-bound manifestation, is a form of power. It help us surpass obstacles we didn’t even imagine we could overcome.
But there’s a trick: how do we know when to fight and when to smile, pensively, knowing that “there still might be something useful in this shitty situation”? How can we separate immediate, life-threatening contexts from potentially useful (although still stressful) events?
Well, it may be simpler than you think. Discriminating between “life and death” situations and just stressful situations is a matter of learning. So, the answer is in the links we create. That’s what learning is, by the way, making links between things and their meaning.
In our modern world, the “life and death” situations are dramatically fewer than in the Amazonian rainforest, by the way. Technology, science, progress, all these made the present world much safer than it used to be even 100 years ago. But we kinda left the limbic brain at the same level. It didn’t shrink. The evolution went faster than biology, so we now have to deal with a strange situation: we’re safer than we think we are.
Because that’s the bare truth. We face way lesser problems than our ancestors, even less than our grand parents, to be honest. Yet, we mistakenly still link some of our values to survival. It’s not only about the job, you know. Emotional support is also important and it’s one of the most common causes when it comes to aggressiveness. If we feel we can lose the one we love, we become aggressive.
So, we should learn to unlink. To be present and to realize that our survival is, for a much bigger part than we think, granted. Yes, we may lose our job. But there are thousands of other opportunities waiting for us. Yes, we may be dumped from a relationship and yes, it may hurt. But there are 7 billions people on this earth. 7 billions. You can’t even count to 7 billions in your predicted lifespan (it would take you about 220 years to do that if you count one person per second).
As we unlink our values from our survival, as we understand that we can go on just as it as, trusting that everything will turn out ok (one way or another) we will slowly shift from the limbic brain to the neocortex.
And the aggressiveness we generate during the frustration phase, well, let’s use its energy to build another job or another relation. Let’s free that huge power source, let’s take the violence out of it and unleash the raw power for generating a more fulfilling experience.
It’s our choice.