☉︎ in 16° Taurus : ☽︎ in 11° Scorpio : Anno Vvi

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

To my Unknown Friend: Greeting and health.

I gave my final lecture to my very first class of high school students (taking a college-level class) this evening. I’d like to share it with you.

Many of you have picked the week on racism to be fascinated by the connection between racial prejudice and the amygdala. I too was fascinated by that—hence, why I presented it to you.

But I’d like to clarify something so there are no misperceptions as you leave my class. This can be your last lecture.

You are not racist because you have an amygdala. If you are racist, it’s because you lack critical thinking skills that come from exercising the frontal lobe in conjunction with the information gathered by other areas of the brain.

Allow me to explain.

The amygdala is part of the limbic system, or what many call the mammalian brain. This is that evolutionary part of the brain that popped into use from when we were (theoretically) finally crawling up out of the creek beds and climbing up into trees. See where I’m headed with this already?

The amygdala works on a reflex because of three simple questions that our distant ancestors (no matter how you explain them) had to answer about every creature, nonhuman and human alike, that approach them:

Are you trying to take my meal?

Are you trying to take my mate? 

Are you trying to take my tree?

That’s a fear response. That’s a bias response. That’s a tribal response. That’s an us vs them response.

See? The origin of the racial bias is nothing more than preservation of self and tribe (before you jump at that statement, wait until the end). The amygdala instantly jumped into action and said, “FEAR THAT THING! IT WANTS YOUR STUFF! KILL IT! Dude.” And we have the beginning of aggression and war.

As we evolved into a more advanced mammal with better frontal lobes, we started to push the instinct from the amygdala back into a slot that said, “You’re useful, but I’ve got better tools.” Mostly. Some people still react out of fear to the unknown. That’s the amygdala churning away in there doing its primitive monkey mouth imitation, screaming those same three questions.

Are you trying to take my meal?

Are you trying to take my mate? 

Are you trying to take my tree?

Only it doesn’t realize that we’re not really in the Savana anymore fighting lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

But also keep in mind that racial prejudice in the sense of tribal bias.

Because now it’s adds the fourth question:

Are you trying to take my tribe?

That tribe over there is bad because they are different from our tribe. They are different because … insert any number of reasons here … even when they have the same color skin. Take the white guys in military cosplay storming the Michigan capital recently. Think they have anything in common with the police officers at whom they were screaming just because they were the same color (in most instances)? Two different tribes going on there.

Remember, race is defined not merely by biological differences but also by social differences. It was originally a language difference before it was a skin color (or phenotypical) difference.

Think I’m crazy? Listen to people talk about the backwater hicks of the South or of the Appalachian areas of Kentucky and Tennessee. Just because they’re white doesn’t mean that we don’t have racist thoughts (prejudices) against them. We just don’t call it that because they’re white and we’ve been indoctrinated to think that racism is a white-on-[other color] thing only. That’s merely the most predominant form. Racism is nearly always a dominant culture violating or disparaging a subordinate culture—that’s how you can work that out.

There is no justification in 2020 for racism. When we come to realize that each individual has unique gifts, each for themselves, capable of contributing to a whole, there is no room for us vs them. We are all capable of being a part of something greater than ourselves and our lonely little tribal notions. But this would take a whole other lecture to get into. My point here was merely to ensure that your takeaway is how the amygdala works from the mammalian brain looking out for its meal, its mate, and its tree (and, by extension, its tribe) and not that all my students are seething little white supremicists underneath it all. The former is true, the latter is between you and your frontal lobe (but I would nope not).

Love is the law, love under will.