Ch1 L4: Fear (Part 2 – anger)

  1. To pick up where we left off, we perceived the thing, its sign was created and stored in the memory, then we felt the fear which was about to trigger either the fight or flight response regarding our confidence level. [1]
The thing
  1. The amygdala which can be analogized to the sentinel of the body is the part of the brain which is responsible for fear, consequently the fight-flight response. As soon as the amygdala detects a danger, the alarm goes off, then two reactions will take place: extra energy which can be called anger will be released to deal with the danger and other parts of body pause their activity to save more energy then to send it to the reacting organs. [2]
  2. Unlike Goleman [3] who applied the common definition of anger and fear to separately and respectively associate them with the fight and flight, I’d rather see them sequential and causal. Fear activates anger [4] which sends the energy to the reacting parts of the body. For example, in the fight mode, more blood rushes to the hands to pick a weapon or just to strike, whereas, in the flight mode, more blood runs through the legs’ veins to bolt. [5]
  3. Both fear and anger bear the inglorious connotation of being negative emotions, though they’re the reason that we’ve survived and evolved for millions of years. Cowards, those who run away from problems, have been socially shamed because the fight has been preferred in most cases over the flight [6]. For instance, if you run away from your daily problems, they’re still there; so you’re wasting your energy to flee from a problem which you finally need to face; or when you’re angry, you may hurt things or people, in an extreme case, you may kill someone for which you might lose your freedom or, in some places, life.
  4. Anger is a natural feeling we experience every day, and there’s nothing wrong with it. It shows that we’re ready to deal with a problem so we need to be able to use its energy wisely; otherwise, if we shoot it outward, we’ll show aggression or if we direct it inward to suppress aggression, we will develop depression which is as unhealthy as the first one. [7]
  5. Stanley Kubrick [8] in “A clockwork orange” [9] showed us the consequences of eradicating aggression in Alex, a sex-offender who rapes a woman and gets busted. Alex accepts to take part in the experiment offered by some scientists, to lose his aggression and sexual drive in exchange for freedom and they succeed to neutralize his anger and aggression without which later he can’t survive in the society because he can’t defend himself from other offenders.
  1. We discussed that when the amygdala goes off, after feeling fear, the non-contributing part of the body will pause, so more energy will be transferred to the reacting parts. Evolutionarily speaking, neocortex, the thinking guy, is one of them; because in a hazardous situation, thinking which is energy and time-consuming  [10] could be even more dangerous. Imagine that a car was coming in your direction and you’re calculating how fast it was; what would happen? you’d be a dead meat.
  2. In social interactions, when we need the neocortex to be fully conscious and functional, this ancient mechanism could be our Achilles’ heel; because we can be easily manipulated. The only thing they need is to show us a frightening problem which induces fear, then to offer their solution. That’s the strategy that mainly the insurance companies use to advertise their services.

We will continue the discussion about fear in the next post and learn more about the brain.

Exercise 4:

  1. how does the existence of an enemy help a government survive?
  2. What can we do to fight back manipulators?
  3. How can we avoid or help others to run away from depression?
  4. Why do we easily lose temper while being hungry? [10]


[1] Link to the previous post

[2] That’s why living in a stressful situation in a long run not only drains your energy but also can cause irreversible damages such as heart attack, ulcer, and a bunch of physiological and psychological disorders. For more information, you can refer to the book “why zebras don’t get ulcers” by Robert M. Sapolsky. [Link to the PDF version]

[3] Refer to “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman. [Link]

[4] If we know that a scary animal or person who is gonna attack us, in the modern situations mostly verbally,  is scared too, first of all, they’ll look less scary, secondly, we can solve the problem and turn the situation if we know the source of their fear.

[5] We can still see the rush of blood in the legs when someone is shaking theirs in a meeting or public place. They most likely feel stressed or uncomfortable. We may also shake our legs when we’re thrilled. An evolutionary example would be running towards an apple tree.

[6] we’re gonna discuss its social roots in the lesson about society and its impacts on individuals.

[7] Depression is different from sadness. Depression can be created when you wanted to react to an unpleasant situation, but you couldn’t due to a bunch of considerations or simply because you’re not strong enough to change it. In other words, if there’s a gap between the reality and your expectations, and your attempts seem to be futile, you’ll feel depressed.

[8] Link to know more about Stanley Kubrick.

[9] A clockwork orange is originally a novel written by Anthony Burgess. [Link]

[10] The brain uses up to 20% of the daily energy though its relative mass is about 2% of an average body.

[11] I recommend you to watch this video about being hangry (?). [Link]


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