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Hard-wired Human Survival Instincts
So are humans wired to survive? It sure seems like it. There are many examples of hard-wired human instincts that help keep us alive. Perhaps the most obvious case is the fight-or-flight response, coined by Harvard University physiologist Walter Cannon in 1915. When humans are faced with danger or stress, a biological trigger helps us decide whether to stay and fight or get the heck out of there -- flight.
When we're stressed or staring danger in the face, the brain's hypothalamus is activated. It initiates a series of chemical releases and nerve cell responses that gets us ready for the impending scenario. Adrenaline is released into the blood stream, our heart rate increases, blood is pumped more quickly into our muscles and limbs. Our awareness, sight and impulses all intensify and quicken. You can thank our caveman ancestors for this one. Early man faced a lot of dangers, and the fight-or-flight response evolved to help them evade or battle those dangers in order to survive. Today, it's what allows an ordinary Joe to rush into a burning building or a mother of three to lift a car off of one of her children -- a phenomenon known as hysterical strength. It also helps us out in non-life threatening situations like a boss screaming in your face or possibly fleeing -- or getting involved in -- a barroom brawl.
Metrosexual is a neologism derived from metropolitan and heterosexual coined in 1994 describing a man (especially one living in a post-industrial, capitalist culture) who displays behavior stereotypically associated with homosexual men (such as a strong concern for his appearance), although he is not homosexual. Debate surrounds the term's use as a theoretical signifier of sex deconstruction and its associations with consumerism.
The hypothalamus is responsible for certain metabolic processes and other activities of the autonomic nervous system. It synthesizes and secretes certain neurohormones, often called hypothalamic-releasing hormones, and these in turn stimulate or inhibit the secretion of pituitary hormones. The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, and circadian cycles
The study of anxiety is fast merging with the science of memory. No longer focused just on symptoms like social isolation and depressed mood, scientists are turning to the disorder’s neural roots, to how the brain records and consolidates in memory the frightening events that set off long-term anxiety. And they are finding that it may be possible to blunt the emotional impact of even the worst memories and fears. The war in Iraq has lent a new cultural urgency to this research. About one in eight of the troops returning from combat show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, or P.T.S.D., which is characterized by intrusive thoughts, sleep loss and hyper-alertness following a horrifying experience. Many are so traumatized that they fail utterly to respond to antianxiety medications, talk therapy and other conventional treatments. When mammals sense threat, at least two important brain circuits swing into action. One pathway runs through the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex, the layer of the brain that regulates consciousness, thinking and decision-making functions.
The other circuit is more primal, running deep into the unconscious brain and through the amygdala, a pair of lozenge-sized nubs of neural tissue (one on each side of the brain) specialized to register threats. This unconscious circuit is “quick and dirty,” a primal survival instinct that increases blood pressure, heart rate and alertness well before the thinking cortex is fully aware of what is happening.
The difference between the two may be crucial to understanding how an irrational fear forms. The amygdala records sights and sounds associated with a harrowing memory, and it is capable of sending the body into high alert before a person consciously processes the stimuli. Most drugs currently prescribed for anxiety, like benzodiazepines and antidepressants, work to ease the symptoms of anxiety and have little effect on the underlying trigger. But scientists are now taking tentative first steps toward altering the brain’s age-old dynamic.
Researchers have been experimenting with a heart disease drug called propranolol, for instance, which interferes with the action of stress hormones like epinephrine. Stress hormones are central to the human response to threat; they prime the body to fight or run, and appear to deepen the neural roots of a terrifying memory in the brain. When the memory returns, these hormones flood again into the bloodstream.
But in one series of studies, people with P.T.S.D. who took propranolol reacted more calmly — on measures of heart rate and sweat gland activity — upon revisiting a painful memory than did similar subjects who took a dummy pill. By blocking receptors on brain cells that are sensitive to stress hormones, experts theorize, the drug may have taken the sting out of the frightening recollections.
Originally posted by NoRegretsEver
I think that when you begin to ignore fear, you begin to dumb down your instincts of survival. The less you are dependent on your own instincts, the less chance you have of being able to rely on those instincts when needed.
But when you look at both aspects we even have saying that can excuse "flight", such as "You get to fight another day". Is this a correct term, or state of mind? Does this seem logical, and can it be used as an excuse?
Now dont get me wrong, I do think that some people may have a slight disorder, but having fear is not a disorder, but another form of us wanting to protect ourselves, and our surroundings. Drugs are now the way to get those who are scared of the government, fluoride, and all those "crazy" things to settle down, because things aren't that scary.... but aren't they?
To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour..... William Blake
I am afraid of heights, does that mean that I have a useless phobia, or maybe my survival instinct is telling me that I am unable to properly use my senses in a situation where I am very high in the air? Do I know better? Or does a doctor with a prescription pad?
How do some of us want to prepare while others see no need? What makes some people ignore what is right in front of them, while others spend their entire lives preparing for the worst? Have we lost our initial survival instinct? Do we now think that danger was in caveman times, and not a thing of the future?
Is the separation between those who want to survive and those who do nothing about it, just another way of us evolving by the weeding out process?
Originally posted by NoRegretsEver
I agree that we have the ability, what I am concerned with are those who either dont know that they have it, or it has been dormant for so long that when needed they will not know what to do with it. The number of people that are not aware, or refuse to believe that we as a species can be in danger is a very high percentage.