Fear and Love

Outsmarting Our Primitive Responses to Fear by Kate Murphy has been featured on The New York Times app since Oct. 26. 2017 for good reason. Its main point is:

If you can sense and appreciate your fear — be it of flying, illness or social rejection — as merely your amygdala’s request for more information rather than a signal of impending doom, then you are on your way to calming down and engaging more conscious, logic-dominated parts of your brain. At that point, you can assess the rationality of your fear and take steps to deal with it….

Dr. Dalrymple is a proponent of acceptance and commitment therapy for managing fear, which has recently been gaining clinical validation. It encourages people not only to accept that they are feeling fearful and examine the causes but also to think about their values and how committing to overcoming their fears would be consistent with who they want to be. The approach forces higher-order thinking, which theoretically disables or diminishes the amygdala response.

I added that emphasis to “think about their values and how committing to overcoming their fears would be consistent with who they want to be” because that element seems particularly important. Do you really want to be one who’s trapped by fear?

But the article concludes with what may be an even more important discovery:

Psychologists and neuroscientists are also finding that the amygdala is less apt to freak out if you are reminded that you are loved or could be loved…. Just as fear can be contagious, so can courage, caring and calm.

That point suggests to me that tapping deep instinctual compassion can help deal with fear. We need not only rely on “higher-order thinking.”

Feedback Please, New Booklet (11/3 Draft)

Your feedback on Transform the World with Holistic Communities: Personal, Social, Cultural, and Political (11/3 Draft) would be greatly appreciated. That 50-page booklet is online at https://tinyurl.com/Transform-Booklet.

To offer input, please use the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GFNWCBK by Thursday, November 16. (Comments here or via email are also welcome).

So far 25 individuals have said they will give feedback on Transform the World with Holistic Communities: Personal, Social, Cultural, and Political (11/3 Draft). Those individuals include long-term activists, academics, former academics, journalists, and others with highly relevant experience. The feedback that emerges should be extremely valuable.

Numerous holistic projects have practiced or nurtured holistic transformation for some time. Recently, promising new projects have emerged. Holistic transformation may be an idea whose time has come. This booklet aims to bolster that momentum.

Holistic community has been a concern of mine for fifty years. Now that I’m retired, I hope to devote more time to this commitment. With this booklet, I sum up lessons from my activism, organizing, and research. The intent is to:

  • Promote holistic communities that aim to empower the whole person and transform the whole society.
  • Serve the common good of the Earth community, so everyone can be more fully human.
  • Encourage personal, social, cultural, and political transformation.

Prior to circulating this draft widely, no one had seen it. So it’s very much what I think. Your corrections, disagreements, and suggested changes and additions will be appreciated. If you disagree, please tell me.

Ideally, this project will become a collaboration with co-equal authors. Otherwise, I’ll proceed with help from people like yourself.

The contents include: Preface; A Purple Alliance; Issues; Three Proposals for Action; Holistic Communities; Related Projects; Training Projects; Conclusion.

The “Issues” chapter includes these sections: Top-Down Power; The System; Spirit; Holistic Politics; Individualism; The Blame Game; Nonviolence; Leadership; Tribalism; A Caring Economy; Self-Improvement; Mutual Support; Beyond Ideology; Evolutionary Revolution.

Unless you ask me not to, I’ll post your comments on the Web so others can review them.

I greatly appreciate your attention, and hope we can work together to make the booklet as good as it can be.

Please let me know if there’s some way I can contribute to your efforts to nurture holistic community.