Friday, October 22, 2010

Rebellious Brain Stem

The emotions that are in the hard-wiring of the brain causes one to think of what survival instincts are active in a fit of rebellion and how that evolve to effect the brain structure.
When you have a "hissy fit" of rebellion it is your hypothalamus and amygdala that are most active. Logically, rebellion is a way of getting to resources (essential to survival, in your primal hard-wiring) that are threatened if co-operation isn't going to satisfy your resource needs. Lets walk through the necessary stages for rebellion to occur instinctively, with and without gaining the loot.
Firstly, through your senses (very animal part of the brain), you must perceive a lack or restricted resources, usually that someone has sway over, but not necessarily. If you are cold, hungry, unsheltered, under fire, or in some way not getting your basic needs met (including sex), and being compliant is unlikely to change that, a set of defiance-for-survival primal triggers in your hypothalamus. You are more likely to "tell someone where to get off" if you are cold, wet, lost and hungry (needs not being met) then if you are warm, dry safe and eating. This includes getting enough social stroking. If a teenager with cold parents gets grounded on a socially important weekend, they are very likely to sneak out for social strokes and sex as a survival instinct.
So basically modern humans take on a "fair" and co-operative based interaction to get needs met, but if basic resources is perceived to be ungainable through the softer (and less energetic) method, at a certain point rebellion kicks in in the fight or flight department, (social, actually resource based"Its unfair"etc) as an alternative way to get needs met.
So the hypothalamus sends a signal to the amydala that homeostasis is inadequate because of the current situation. If we get a hit from the adrenal glands as well (the boss yells at you), it will kick in the defiance-for-survival instinct in rebellion. The irritability when hungry is similar to the feeling of rebellion on a low level. It is the amygdala that causes us to be disgusted with (eg. status quo), and become angry enough to rebel. People are more likely to mob for food then fiber optics. Not only does the amygdala provide us the uncomfortable "red alerts" of disgust and anger as a motivating force, but it controls the fight or flight responses as well. So it works with its close neighbour the hypothalamus to set off the whole fight or slight of hand (passive aggressive) instinct range.
If you look where then hypothalamus, pituarity gland and amygdala are placed in the physical brain, one sees them gather at the top of the brain stem, under the bulk of the brain. It seems to me as a group they are bit of a gate between more conscious thought and brain stem instincts. Where they are is like the frontal lobes if the brain stem were a whole brain. To the brain bulk, the hypothalamus and amygdala are in the more primal hard wired instinct part of the brain. If there was no brain stem, the hypothalamus is at the most instinctive area, and the amygdala is part of the limbic brain, more evolved then the brain stem but still very hard-wired. The limbic system and the stuff at the top of the brain-stem are comparatively like the brain stem. If the brain was a hologram, the limbic/hypothalamus system is the small to the bulk brains big, and big to the brain stem's small.
The hypothalamus is triggered by smell quite profoundly and it could be mentioned here that we smell more then we consciously acknowledge. When we smell a lack in resources it effects us. If we smell others have been eating better then us, or what stage a person is at sexually (resource orientated), it affects our instinctive mood. We may not be conscious of it, it is like the smell of fear, strongly affecting the primal driving force.
Drug addiction is an interesting double link with the rebellious instinct. The hypothalamus is tricked into thinking the drug is an essential to homeostasis, causing the lack of said intoxicant to trigger the rebellious instinct like a positive feedback loop.
Compulsive kleptomania is very much a resource instinct (therefore primal) gone awry. Can't get what you need? Justify it to yourself that "they" are being unfair and then even righteously steal it. The need is met and guilt can washed away with gain and righteousness of fighting the unfairness.

One Liners

I admire old people because they made it to old, and a lot don't.