Ascent 216 – Avoiding The Primitive Mind

Dinosaur BrainsI was reminded today about one of the best books I’ve read on psychology. More specifically, corporate psychology albeit I believe the context is appropriate to general life. It’s a first because I haven’t written about this before.

Dinosaur Brains by Albert J. Bernstein and Syndey Craft Rozen explores the concept of how we all have a primitive brain and frequently revert to it.

If you subscribe to the Theory of Evolution, we went from reptiles to mammals to humans. The brain evolved in each of these phases and the parts pertinent to each are integrated components. For the most part, we’re operating out of our evolved cortex and our human intelligence. We are able to make decisions and create, which separates us from the animal kingdom.

When we’re presented with any kind of stress, trauma or confrontation, we typically slip into Fight, Fright or Flight mode and either attack, freeze up or run away. This is a return to the primitive brain, where our intelligence & reasoning go out of the window and we’re basically living Jurassic Park.

I love the concept of “Like me – good, not like me – bad.” Dinosaurs did not have the best vision capabilities and recognized herd mates by shape, size and color. If they were reasonably similar, then they were one of the herd – like me – and therefore good. If any of those attributes didn’t match, then you’re not like me – not one of this herd – and therefore, bad. Bring on the dino rumble.

I believe this concept is prevalent in society – especially in the work place. I’ve had the experience where I seem to be appreciated & liked initially and after a period of time, feel like I’m an outsider. I’m not better than anyone else and certainly don’t judge people.

I feel that people operate out of the ‘like me – good’ philosophy and veer away from those that they can’t relate to or who act in a different way. I’m open to getting to know anybody and I totally get that I won’t connect with everyone I come into contact with. And, that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with them and there’s nothing wrong with me. Our energies are just not compatible.

I did decide years ago that I am not going to shift in order to fit in anywhere. I’ve spent a significant portion of my life discovering who I truly am, I love it and am not shifting it to appease any kind of a group. That would not be authentic and, in my opinion, would be a dishonor to the group.

Dinosaur Brains is a great read. Despite the psychology reference, it’s an engaging read, presenting the subject in an enjoyable, light-hearted manner with some humor that will have you laughing out loud.

There are some anecdotes that will stick with you, like the MASH Unit and the Captain Kirk Management Style. I won’t be a spoiler and will leave those gems for you to discover at your leisure.

Being aware of the primitive brain and the tendency for those response patterns has enabled me to be more in tune with my energies and step back before I do the dinosaur thing and respond in kind to a situation. Which aggravates certain primitives further because they’re acting out and you’re remaining civilized. I confess I do find that rather amusing sometimes.

If you’re interested in learning more and staying out of the prehistoric energies, you’ll love Dinosaur Brains.


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