Threat and the Overkill Response

Consider what we think of as reactions to threat – fight, flight, or freeze.  Now consider a word I think conveys a fourth option – “Overkill.” In bubble awareness, each of these implies an intention to remove a threat with an action. That action provides me a sense of control to mitigate the fear:

  1. Fight – intention to confront a threat.
  2. Flight – intention to escape a threat.
  3. Freeze – intention to avoid a threat.
  4. Overkill – intention to destroy a threat.

Each of the above appears totally justifiable by the one perceiving the threat in that moment. Not necessarily when viewed from outside that perception.

Let’s look at some examples of logic overkill. This represents an over- compensation response to threat. It appears reasonable from the perspective of the one applying the logic. Excessive from outside that perspective. From the overkill perspective, actions taken may not be or ever be enough, yet are totally justifiable. Remember, these are responses to fear:

  • Striking someone to get a point across.
  • If one piece of cake is good, two even better, then more…
  • If I go on a diet, I’ll have to starve.
  • I know I can’t make the rent this month, but I gotta buy this…
  • I’m not good enough, so this behavior tries to compensate for it.
  • Temper tantrums, bullying, showing off, bragging.
  • Winning an argument at any expense.
  • Gossip, spreading rumors, fault-finding, fear-mongering.
  • Flaunting wealth, education level, physical strength, social position, authority.
  • Hoarding.
  • Drug, child, animal abuse.
  • Murder, genocide, prejudice and bias.
  • Self-importance, self-deprivation.
  • Wishful and magical thinking.
  • Poverty consciousness.
  • Revenge, back-stabbing, and other passive aggressive behaviors.

When is enough enough? Timing plays a huge role in knowing when to stop.

How Fear Turns Appropriate Into Inappropriate Action.

My body has two action channels: sympathetic (GO!) and parasympathetic (WHOA!). I use a combination of the two in every perception and action I take. The balance I justify between GO and WHOA determines my judgment of the appropriateness of my actions. This is completely independent of facts, objective measurement, or rational thought.

What might happen when fear causes my GO-WHOA equation to jump into overdrive? At some point, enough GO or WHOA results in overkill. Where is that point? Personally, I’d not like to test that boundary. Instead, I’d rather stay far closer to the neutral balance point. Angry not to the point of enraged. Desirous not to the point of neediness or theft. Etc.

Social Overkill Algorithms

Agreement about a threat can foster swarm or mob mentality that can lead to overkill like genocide. Basically, add sufficient fear to the mix and just about any relationship can devolve into overkill behaviors.

Some computer hackers use social engineering to entice someone to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do – like click a dangerous link. Such social algorithms cause people to do hurtful things they would not ordinarily do. Add societal prejudices to the mix and the chemistry of mass fear will inevitably drive an excessive response.

Prejudice is an example of fear on automatic.

Sometimes that can lead to overkill – when societal fear rises to sufficient levels. One sees examples in the near-extermination of Native Americans in the 17th-19th Century and the Japanese-American internment program during WWII. Many examples exist that reveal the danger and damage of societal overkill.

On a personal level, this societal phenomena shows itself in my rage against opposing political personalities, parties and policies. At some point, I could be persuaded to take extreme action against them or their supporters – overkill.

That is, unless I use my language and/or emotional energy as a cue to question my beliefs. For example, I might think or say, “They always do that!” (referring to something I don’t like). I might question, “They?” and “Always?” That is, can I identify specific individuals or actions I don’t like? And, can I think of an exception to the “always” claim?

Questioning generalizations can sometimes stem the tide before it gets started. A simple question may be all it takes to avoid potential overkill. When enough isn’t enough, I might ask a useful question:

  1. What do I want?
  2. How can I get what I want?
  3. Why this in particular?
  4. Who am I?

Metaphor, a Problem-Solving Paradox

Metaphor takes perception of reality and twists it into a problem-solving paradox. The literal view seeks to defend its perspective as truth – using memory, facts, and logic to resolve paradox. The figurative view seeks to apply meaning to the literal view through metaphor, using imagination and possibility to resolve paradox. Together they seek a resolution to a fundamental problem – life.

Did You Catch the Paradox in the Metaphor?

The choice we suggest as metaphor-thinking operates best as a paradoxical view we experience with others in relationships. Thus, I understand me in a metaphor of my perception of you in relation to me. This is made all the more paradoxical when I act on my belief that you and I are literally separate.

Consider how difficult it is to see one’s own face without looking at its reflection. One would have no idea what their face looks like. With a reflective surface, sufficient light, and a properly working visual sense, and awareness of self, however, I can see a reflection that, although not me, presents a metaphor that I think represents me. Do you see the paradox in your reflection?

Even though I hear your voice doesn’t mean I hear your words. Just because I hear your words doesn’t mean I understand their meaning. Even when I hear your words and understand their meaning doesn’t mean I understand your concept. Sometimes I want an example to help me get to the meaning of a concept. That example is not the concept – it is a metaphor to help me understand the concept in an alternative form. Do you hear the paradox in these words?

What If Metaphor Presents a Problem-Solving Paradox?

Living in a problem-solving mind creates a paradox that connects solutions to problems through justification. Justifying the solution is a problem because it defends one against alternative solutions. The defense focuses attention on only one option rather than to search for alternatives. Once justified, this solution presents a mental scotoma – a problem that mind has difficulty resolving through ever-limiting repetition.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” (Albert Einstein)

This sets up a self-referential paradox in which problems justify solutions that justify problems. As the paradox expands, it further limits the range of awareness. This limits my realization of me as both me and not me.

Reinterpreting what I defend as a solution can’t be done – due to its defense of problem and solution. Sounds like a catch-22 situation. Oh, no! Not another PROBLEM!!!

This makes metaphor inevitable and necessary.

When I consider, “This is not as it appears,” I open my conscious awareness to metaphoric interpretation. And loosen the grip of my narrow focus on literal interpretation.

Did you catch the metaphor in the paradox?

 

Challenging The Non Sequitur Fallacy

A non sequitur is a fallacious statement of logic. Basically, non sequitur logic follows the format, because this, then that – where this and that are unrelated or disconnected. Yet, appear to me to be related.

Consider that your mind tries to make sense out of everything. When faced with a situation or event, my mind tries to connect data dots into logical conclusions.

When a situation is inexplicable or when faced with insufficient data, my mind does its best. It tries to connect whatever dots it can find – and makes up the rest to suit my appetite for justification. This can result in false equations I defend.

Below are some examples of non sequitur equations. They follow the format, “Just because [ fact/perception ], it doesn’t necessarily follow that [ conclusion ].” These often use “so” or “therefore” to connect one or more questionable facts to one or more questionable conclusions. These may look familiar:

  • I can/am, so I should.
  • You agree with me, so I must be right.
  • I feel afraid because it’s dangerous.
  • I know it, so it must be true.
  • You’re going a different direction than me, so you must be lost.
  • Something didn’t work out as I expected, so I must have failed.
  • We disagree, so you must be wrong.
  • I lost, so I must be a loser.
  • You did something I don’t like, so you must not love me.
  • I can’t find a solution, therefore no one can.
  • I like it, so it must be good/right for me.
  • Because I think I understand/comprehend something, I must [understand/comprehend].
  • It has always been that way, so it must continue that way.
  • Because what you did hurt me, you must have intended to hurt me.

Non sequiturs are sometimes logic level leaps between BE, DO, and HAVE. For example, one might leap from DO to BE, DO to HAVE, or HAVE to BE, and etc. That is, one part of the non sequitur connects one logical level to another. For example, a DO logical level connects to a BE logical level in, “I failed to DO something, therefore, I must BE an idiot! ”

To challenge a non sequitur, one might challenge its premise or conclusion, “Is it true?” and, “What if my fact/conclusion is not true?” I might inquire into presuppositions with questions like, “What would a person have to believe in order to connect those facts with that conclusion?”

Non sequiturs can be useful once exposed. That is, I can play with my associations to bust up false, hurtful, or useless ones.

For example, connecting DO to BE in the equation, “I failed my science test, so I must be a failure,” is a non sequitur. It’s also a false equation. Just because I failed a test doesn’t necessarily equate to I’m a failure. I could just require more study time or a different understanding of the subject.

Because my mind has the false equation, I’ll continue to prove failure even where there is no or refuting evidence. Eventually, I so believe I really am a failure that I seek out or make up “evidence” to prove it. “See! I was right! I AM a failure!” Thus, a non sequitur proves a confirmation bias.

What if I assume that one or both aspects of my non sequitur equation are untrue or incorrect? Assuming my facts are untrue means my conclusions are suspect. Assuming my conclusion is false means my facts could be suspect, too. In either or both cases, I’m challenging my non sequitur. Thereby offering myself new possibilities, new perspectives, and new opportunities.

That can be quite useful, indeed.

How About A Consciousness Reset?

Sometimes my digital device starts to run slower. Maybe it has caught a cold (virus) or filled with bits of digital detritus. It is then that I consider a reset – that clears out all the cruft and makes it “like new.”

On my device, I can select a number of reset options. For example, one might preserve my settings, another my data, and yet another reset everything to “new.” Each reset option has advantages and disadvantages. I select the option that best serves my purposes.

Sometimes my consciousness seems to run a little slower, or maybe off just enough to bother me. Maybe I’ve noticed that my old thoughts, judgments, and feelings are starting to disrupt my life. Similarly to my digital device, my consciousness might benefit from a reset.

What Is A Consciousness Reset?

How might it manifest? How would I initiate it? What are my options?

Perhaps we should acknowledge that consciousness is a huge and arcane program. How much do you understand of the operating system on your iPhone or laptop computer? Consciousness as a program may be infinitely more complex and mysterious. Fortunately, one doesn’t have to understand every nuance of a computer program to operate portions of it. The same may apply to consciousness.

Because I operate within the program, consciousness resets manifest for me as experiential awakenings – ahas. That is, heightened awareness and clarity of mind relating to repetitive emotions in experience. These offer an opportunity for long-lasting change to perspective, understanding, and intention.

Such granular control over reset options gives my conscious self some leeway. My mind doesn’t have to overhaul everything it understands in one giant reset. It can do the job in “baby steps.” Think about what happens when you reset your phone’s display from “normal” to “dark” mode. A tiny change results in a huge experiential difference.

Consciousness resets are backed by new intentions that serve to increase the benefits of those intentions. Thus, any change intended towards greater awareness is a consciousness reset. Increased consciousness heightens awareness of our connections to others. That in turn makes for a heightened awareness of the ways in which one can serve to benefit all life.

That level of consciousness increases opportunities for greater awareness of accountability and service. Before reset, I tended to resist opportunities for greater awareness and service. What I resisted in fear tended to persist. With reset perspective, I could address my resistance in a different way than from comparisons to loss. This changed everything for me.

Resetting Intention Changes Everything

I reset my intention towards a person, place, or thing when I answer “no” to the question, “Is this what I really want?” This type of questioning sets up new future responses to those kinds of experiences. Resets encourage future resets.

Resetting intention resets perspective and is represented in a new person. A reset perspective is proactive in that it offers a different interpretation of feedback that leads to seeing the difference between old and new ideas. A change in my perspective affects everything in my perception.

Perspective is based on identity – who I believe I am within an environment. A reset would realign perspective to a new identity. This might appear as a change in attitude about specific relationships and about life in general.

What Would Indicate Or Precipitate A Consciousness Reset?

One might precipitate a consciousness reset with a change of thinking/feeling about one’s:

  • Environment
  • Relationship
  • Education
  • Career
  • Health
  • Location (address)
  • Self-image
  • Financial status
  • Social standing
  • Religion/philosophy
  • Government/Law

I might consider a reset to:

  • Realize my acceptance of accountability.
  • Change mental/emotional/physical capabilities.
  • Recognize my freedom to act.
  • Mitigate my perception of my environmental and/or physical restrictions.
  • Help me adjust to changing moral and social norms.
  • Make significant changes to my beliefs and prejudices.

To name a few.

In Conclusion…

You might ask, “I like the idea of a consciousness reset. Can I do it right away?” The answer is YES, YOU CAN RESET RIGHT NOW. Why? Because you can “simply” change your mind – in an instant.

Yet, because we believe in time, it may take some to see the results of your changes. And in that time, your native defenses will resist – because it’s their job to resist. Be patient with yourself. I can’t tell you how many “ahas” it will take before you realize noticeable changes in your life situation.

I leave that up to you.

Embrace Distraction to Awaken Inspiration

What if distraction is a useful characteristic of mind? I have the ability to be distracted – comes to me via evolution. Evolution favors that which is useful over that which is not. Just because I think it’s not useful doesn’t make it so. I ask again, “What if distraction is a useful characteristic of mind?”

What would make me believe that I’m actually creating a distraction? If I were to realize my creation, might I then put it to use? What would happen when I change my perspective about the way I think about distractions? Might I be able to utilize my ability to be distracted by asking, “What did I create this distraction for?” (seeks purpose). How might I utilize the distraction?

Perhaps I can use distraction to:

  • Sharpen my mind
  • Redirect attention
  • Help me identify hidden needs
  • Find new information
  • Get inspired

Where is inspiration and innovation?

Usually in the distraction zone. A distraction often involves a break in attention from a hypnotic state. Sometimes that seems like a break from something important to something less important – “Oh, look, a birdie!” How do I know what’s most important in this instant?

“Pay attention!” Perhaps a distraction is an attempt of mind to understand from another perspective. My limited awareness state of mind works in associations – this related to that. Because of that characteristic of mind, I wonder how all distractions are related. What is a distraction telling me? That everything is related, even those, like the birdie, that seem completely unrelated. I can use that to help me understand who I am.

Could a distraction be an opportunity? Inspiration rarely resides in strong narrow focus. One might say inspiration resides in the blink rather than the stare. The blink offers a distraction from the stare – an opportunity for new vision.

So, embrace the distraction! Maybe in it, you’ll find a new focus.