Regular readers know that Toxins of Power Blog has previously considered the territory that the toxin of power increasingly inhabits, in the sense of idea propagation, or meme propagation, via various group dynamics.
Likewise this blog had a series which discussed how toxins of power can cause ideological change or "memetic morph," once ideas or memes are in memory.
|The amygdala nodes are midbrain between the ears|
That place where the toxins of power begin their mysterious work is called the Amygdala (see also "the lizard brain", a.k.a. "the reptilian brain", not the same, but also strange).
This is a vast subject, however, if we stick to the fundamentals initially, there are elements that can be quickly and easily grasped:
The amygdala's response and regulation are thought to be critical to people's social behavior through the monitoring of daily life events such as danger signals.(Science Daily, "New Clues"). Social behavior is a result, in some degree, of the dynamics of our amygdala:
During studies of the almond-shaped part of the brain called the amygdala – a region associated with processing emotions ... scientists have uncovered a cellular mechanism underlying the formation of emotional memories, which occurs in the presence of a well known stress hormone ... noradrenaline ... by controlling chemical and electrical pathways in the brain responsible for memory formation.(Science Daily, Traumatic Memory, see also Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala). What this means is that ideas or memes that are already in memory, already part of a circuit, can be overridden in whole or in part by subsequent events, using either a technique or a phenomenon called fear conditioning, working on specific circuits:
"This is a new way of understanding how neurons form long term memories in the amygdala," Dr Faber said.
"Our strongest and most vivid human memories are usually associated with strong emotional events such as those associated with extreme fear, love and rage."
"For many of us, our deepest memories are mental snapshots taken during times of high emotional impact or involvement," she said.
There is a large amount of data indicating that the amygdala, a particular structure in the brain, is strongly involved during the learning of "conditioned" fear. However, until now, the underlying neuronal circuits have remained largely unknown.(Scientific Daily, "New Circuits"). Long term use of such techniques or phenomenon can cause damage to the amygdala:
Now, research ... has been able to identify, for the first time, distinct neuronal circuits within the central nucleus of the amygdala which are specifically involved in acquisition and control of behavioural fear responses.
... a primitive region of the brain responsible for sensorimotor control also has an important role in regulating emotional responses to threatening situations. This region appears to work in concert with another structure called the amygdala to regulate social and emotional behavior ... researchers have recently discovered that activation of ... the deep layers of superior colliculus (DLSC), elicits defensive behaviors such as an exaggerated startle, hypervigilance, cowering, and escape. Researchers say it is possible that a prolonged activation of this defense system may lead to emotional disorders.(Science Daily, "Emotional Balance"). These papers work hand in glove with previous posts on Toxins of Power blog.
For instance, in a series beginning with "A Structure RE: Corruption of Memes" we looked at how modification of ideas or memes can occur when circuits of memory are disrupted in individuals.
Then, in the post "The Territorial Realm of Toxins of Power" we attempted to graphically show how these mechanisms work on ideas or memes in the social group context we call meme complexes (see also "ruling group mind" below).
In conclusion, the toxins of power use circuits on the bridge of the amygdala to get to existing ideas or memes, cause a morph, then those morphed ideas or memes propagate within a meme complex (social group), and then ultimately they get to areas outside that meme complex.
The article "What Orwell Didn't Know" by Professor George Lakoff is in accord with this post:
Probably 98 percent of your reasoning is unconscious - what your brain is doing behind the scenes. Reason is inherently emotional. You can't even choose a goal, much less form a plan and carry it out, without a sense that it will satisfy you, not disgust you. Fear and anxiety will affect your plans and your actions. You act differently, and plan differently, out of hope and joy than out of fear and anxiety.(What Orwell Didn't Know, pp. 68-9; cf this). The amygdala can become "propaganda central" since it gets a first look at all incoming sensory perception, that is, before the "conscious brain" gets a look at it:
Thought is physical. Learning requires a physical brain change: Receptors for neurotransmitters change at the synapses, which changes neural circuitry. Since thinking is the activation of such circuitry, somewhat different thinking requires a somewhat different brain. Brains change as you use them-even unconsciously. It's as if your car changed as you drove it, say from a stick shift gradually to an automatic.
So some of the key interconnections of the amygdala — and these connections actually define what it does in a sense, at least with respect to fear — the amygdala gets sensory information directly from the various sensory systems that process the external world. So the visual system, the auditory system, olfactory, touch, pain, and so forth. All of these kind of come together, or converge, in the amygdala.(see video below). Regular readers know that this blog hypothesizes that the toxins of power hijack the process of normal pattern formation in the brain circuitry, so as to convert that pattern into a corrupt pattern.
Thereafter, the meme complex (social group) helps propagate the corrupted idea or meme.
A classic example is detailed in a Dredd Blog post, where an individual knew that a memetic or ideological morph was taking place within his brain, but he was unable to get help or otherwise do anything about it.
Moving on to the civilization level, the issue of mass murder in the form of Ecocide engenders a discussion that focuses on subjects such as the meme complex, vaccime, and other group thinking, such as ruling group mind.
Professor LeDoux on the amygdala ...