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Tribalism pp 1-22 | Cite as

The Primitive Self and the Power of Catastrophic Threat

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Abstract

Humans are genetically primed to be alert and ready to react to a dangerous world. Humans are protective animals with deep brain structures that override conscious thought and are part of our origins, playing a major regulatory role determining how our brains and bodies function. Fight and flight are reflexive responses, and the fight-flight response is nested in deep, primitive brain structures that developed for survival and are hypersensitive to the threat of loss or actual loss. Our responses to threat of the self, the family, our loved ones and the tribes to which we belong alert the brain and body to concentrate, act without thought, and ignore the vagaries of sound argument and compassionate consideration that might delay the need to rapidly and decisively respond. They cue hormones, blood, and muscles, and signal tribal affiliation behavior for mobilization of the protective response system, as only the tribe was powerful enough to protect the individual and family as humans developed under evolutionary pressures. Our tribal genetics are expressed in ways that dominate the political landscape, and religious and cultural violence.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behaviorial SciencesRush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA

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