Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Perception of Clear Waters

Imagine you have before you on a breathtakingly hot day ten clear glasses of ten clear liquids, only one of which you can drink safely. Imagine you are a child who cannot read or write, or a person from another culture who cannot understand the labels put beside each glass because they are in a language you cannot decipher. Finally imagine you know nothing of science and have no sense of taste or smell to warn you that nine out of ten of those clear liquids will kill you.

What do you do?

If you don't drink at all you will die but if you do drink the wrong liquid you will also die and in either case the death will be painful and distressing.

In no particular order and with the labels incorrectly placed in some cases, but not all that is what you perceive your challenge to be, The clear glasses contain substances ranging from household items such as white spirit, (used to clean paint brushes) to industrial chemicals like acids and of course pure, nourishing, life giving water itself. More commonly what you actually have before you are 8 or 9 glasses of pure nourishing water but this is where doubt and fear trick us into panic mode.

We can tap each glass to see if the liquids move like water and listen to ascertain if it might sound like it but with no sense of smell or taste there is little more we can do except to wait for another mammal to show us which is safe for us to drink. Even then we would be wise to watch the animal closely to check that they picked the right one.

Life on Earth has always been about fighting to survive and taking appropriate risks to enable survival. We have become so familiar with this process that risk taking itself is in danger of being perceived as being of no risk to us at all. Risks do not change. Only our perception of them does. So the real battle we all have is to be as accurate as we can be about our own perception of the world around us and everything we encounter in it. The good news is that most of the time the very people that everyone fears for being in control are actually helping us to survive.

Governments are like medical teams, they at times have to respond to what makes our societies unwell with sometimes drastic and alarming treatments, which of course none of us like having to swallow. The alternative is ever escalating fear, panic leading to chaos and eventually civil if not global war. Not very appealing and it defeats the primary object of our species which is the same as for any other species - to survive.

All nations want as many people as possible to survive but some seem to be better and sharing why that is the case in nicer ways than others. In effect some trust the intelligence and the self discipline of their nation more than others and with good reason. The more troubled any nation's history is the harder it is for it's leaders to safe guard against more rebellion, turmoil and brutal action and the more interference other nations enter into without consent the more it escalates too. So the solution is quite simple. Calm down and work things through by peaceful means and gain control of the situation together by taking time out when emotions are running high.

The risk of being ill
Many more people in the developed world are becoming ill through fear combined with all the natural normal responses to that fear that occur in every animal species on this planet. In the same breathe that we are wise to dangers and take due care we also end up becoming oblivious to other dangers no less serious to our physical well being.

We know we need comfort to calm us down, so seek it to excess by bombarding medical teams, friends, families, colleagues and strangers. We have also gone overboard with many distraction techniques to cheer us up - from modern gadgets to shopping and art and sport. When that is done we then compare our result with the results others are getting and if they are in receipt of more comfort, attention and reassurance than we are, all too often we sulk, become bad tempered, throw a tantrum and start to demand the same amount as we perceive everyone else is getting for conditions as mild as a grazed knee to truly life threatening conditions such as heart conditions and cancer. It perhaps explains why too, so many become seriously mentally ill when this vicious cycle of behaviour gets established. What really happens to establish all this mayhem though? Why do our perfectly capable brains keep misleading us this way?

The simple answer is that we are merely animals ourselves and that is our basic instincts that we can never counteract completely effectively. They will always seek to bring us back down to our most basic animal behaviours. The instinct to find a mate and breed is only second to finding food and shelter. We are prepared to fight and kill for both. What distinguishes us from other species is our ability to massacre ourselves to get what we want but also, rather more comfortingly, our ability to choose not to and work as a team instead so that everyone can get the basics of what they need to survive and continue our species as designed according to the master plan and blueprints. Where they stem from is also a matter of choice in perception and, as we know all too well a trigger point for many a bitter conflict.

The more complex answer involves not just one science but all sciences that we have today. Here we will focus on just three examples that have hit the news recently, with common reactions to those reports.

  • Our hormones send signals to our brains telling it how to behave.
    (Hang on... brains tell hormones what to do, not the other way round... help!)
  • Nutrition advise is all rubbish unless you know your own metabolism inside out.
    (Oh poo, I don't what do I do now? HELP!!)
  • Strange things called synapses and neurons determine if we can think straight.
    (What are you telling me then... that I'm a waste of effort? HEEEELP!)

It's not that the scientific discoveries are inaccurate - the way they are shared though does get distorted because these things by their nature are extremely complex, so short-hand communication is often used. Hence the above statements are incomplete which leads us all to be curious and seek more information without ever knowing who is the boffin that knows the most on any subject. Bombard them with questions and they cannot do any more work to help us though, can they. When we are calm, we are patient and can wait for updates with ease. When we are distressed or panicking we all too often make matters ever worse for ourselves and the very people there to help us. Our perception of even the simplest scrap of information in highly tense times instantly get distorted precisely because our hormones work WITH our brains and switch to emergency procedure mode of fight or flight.

With regard to food, we are not doing that much wrong really. We can ween ourselves off the major culprits and in most cases that is what any medical team would advise the majority of people to do. Unfortunately too many people assume their metabolism is the rare exception to the rule than is actually the case. If you think about, why would your metabolism be that rare case. Doctors will soon tell you if it is and if it isn't then great, because it's easier to treat as a known problem with known cures is it not?

Some modern food production practices could certainly help us more once science has done it's research to find out which preservatives and flavourings are particularly dangerous and then work through the rest systematically. Many people live to be 100 years old eating all manner of things others say they shouldn't precisely because their bodies can cope remarkably well. Different is never a question of being better or worse; it is merely... different. Getting the right nutrition is only ever going to result in trial and error regardless of whether you see your doctor or not. So why panic?

Brain power
By far the best news of all comes from the mysterious region of research that deals with the understanding our own brains. Increasingly science is learning that we can take ever more control over curing our own thinking and controlling our emotional responses.

This is fabulous news because in essence it means that we can redirect our own synapses (which are like wires that transport signals), to the correct place in the brain. Even better we can also get better control of the neurons (which in essence is the message itself) so that we can all not only cope with fear and danger better but get ever smarter. Think of training neurons in the same way as you would improve your vocabulary or change it to communicate with different people and you're half way there already. We need to be too as we need absolutely everyone's best ideas to ensure we not only rescue our planet from being in danger of running out of resources but also continue to look after it for many centuries to come.

Perception of clear waters is easy when we have the right information and support from others who do know the difference between an acid, white spirit and water. We do not help ourselves by pampering to each others needs to excess nor in seeking such high levels of attention as we have been 24/7. We are far better off stopping and asking our brains this question "Is this situation life threatening this second, minute or in the next hour, week or year?" and "Can it wait just a little until I have rested to think more clearly." More often than not most things can wait. There is no doubt that we are all on high alert for dangers but being on the alert is NOT the same as being in imminent danger. Never confuse the two and all wonderful things are indeed possible.

We can shape our future by what we choose to believe through what we seek to achieve. We at Mindwalking recommend believing in happy outcomes and seeking ways to stay calm enough to never miss the opportunities that are all around us to ensure and secure that future for all.

If you are interested in more information about how our brains work or any part of our bodies, we recommend as a starting point looking for childrens books and websites on these subjects because even the greatest minds in the world often need to read them too to help clear their heads to think straight. We're not sure all boffins will approve of sharing that trade secret, but we know some will be thrilled with us for doing so too! LOL!

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