Dear Global Self-Reggers,
Towards the end of the Iliad, after Achilles has gone on his murdering rampage, Apollo describes how: “Achilles’ mind is unbalanced, nor is his thought kept in check in his breast; his thoughts are wild, like a lion who gives in to his great force and overmanly heart and goes against the flocks of mortals, to seize his feast; so Achilles has lost pity, and there is no abashment in him” (24.39–45).
Achilles has been led to this state because of his overweening pride and his shame, because of his responsibility for the death of Patroclus. His “mental imbalance, as Homer tells us in the opening line of the poem, is what has brought about “the rage of Achilles.”
Three millennia later, neuroscience has been able to explain what is going on in the midbrain when such an atrocity occurs. Surprisingly, there is ample evidence that someone who has become unhinged might feel no rage at all while hurting innocents.
There are many different types of aggression, each the result of many different neuroaxis running from the Amygdala to the Hypothalamus and down to the midbrain. RAGE, FEAR, PANIC/GRIEF, DOMINANCE, PREDATORY LUST. All can be involved, creating a complex Brown Brain neural storm. The effect is to shut down self-awareness, the social brain, and empathy. The end result is a severe homeostatic imbalance, much as Homer said!
We are all feeling hopeless, and we must fight that feeling. We must do what we can to bring those who are still reachable back into their consciousness of shared humanity. We must help all those who are terrified for their own country. And we must do whatever we can as Self-Reggers to help heal those who have gone beyond freeze into the darkest realm of tonic immobility.
We must fight this horror by bringing Self-Reg to as many as we possibly can. That is our duty and mission.
Self-Reggers of the World, Unite!
– Stuart Shanker
Looking for more learning with Stuart Shanker?
- Read Stuart’s previous letter to Global Self-Reggers.
- Check out Stuart’s 6-episode podcast series on the issues of our time.
- Join us on May 27th, for a live webinar with Q & A with Stuart Shanker facilitated by Susan Hopkins.
- Check to see if Self-Reg Global is coming to you in our wold virtual tour: Hello Self-Reg
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