As a boy, I suffered from anxiety issues but they were entirely related to the environment I found myself in. Public school in particular. I learned to control stuttering (which only emerged at school) in 3rd grade, then in 6th grade, I learned to control a computer with my mind (biofeedback with noises and basic video games) and guided meditation, each which assisted in self-control in various environments.
Ultimately, after reading books like Summerhill and Unschooling when I was 13/14, I found a private school with an essay contest offering one free scholarship (wasn’t free – no such thing in the end, but it was cheaper), wrote two essays and did several interviews, and got in.
K-12, 200 students total. Much better environment for me. No longer needed to “breath through my feet” and I didn’t have to self-monitor anxiety states as much. New environment, new me, more liberal, even declaring myself “bisexual” in high school in the days just to shut people up about the girlfriend question — and helped me sort people out. [people with more liberal mindsets became better friends, people with more conservative mindsets were creeped out and stayed away], resulting in even less social anxiety.
So, perhaps a shitty environment can lead to a larger amygdala and a better environment can lead to a larger anterior cingulate gyrus?
Am I conservative or liberal?
I dunno. But environment makes a difference in any case.
I’ve always been risk shy. When I’d be bold and daring it was only after research. I should be an insurance adjuster. Yet, I seem to hold more liberal ideals rather than conservative about most things. So, I dunno. Maybe I’m really a conservative only believing I’m liberal? I guess I never found my political ideology yet. Taken tests but even though I find the ‘idea’ of political movements fascinating, politics itself is generally dull to me, although it’s gotten a little interesting.
If I’m “liberal” and have a larger anterior cingulate gyrus, (I don’t know if true or not), then this might apply:
If I’m “conservative” and have a larger amygdala, (I don’t know if true or not), then this might apply
My amygdala is overclocked but I’ve had to learn to keep it in check from a young age.
I suspect if I ever gave into it, I’d “turn conservative”. But I’ve always challenged myself to look under rocks to find forbidden interesting knowledge, looking in directions others are ignoring, finding gems wherever my interests take me.
I availed myself of the school library, then the public library, then the internet as each was available to me. Wore out my library card several times as a kid.
For me, constant curiosity conquers fear.
I’ve known conservative kids and liberal old people. The general adage of “if young liberal, if older, conservative” isn’t something I’ve experienced (to my knowledge) for myself. It might be just be folk proverb, it might be true, I dunno. I tend strongly towards individualism so I sometimes have difficulty taking many generalizations seriously although some I give some weight to. I try to be careful though.
Different domains makes sense. For example, in personal finances, I can give you a workable conservative framework that minimizes risk and maximizes returns while at the same time, engaging and encouraging risk in those that can handle it — and even those that can’t handle it, if it’s really what makes them happy and they’re ok with the potential for catastrophe.
Man, I just had a hurricane come over my house (six days without electricity, just got it back yesterday, most of my neighbors don’t have it yet)… and the idea of being at a FEMA camp *is* a bit scary, although no more scary that being stuck at a greyhound bus station overnight or missing the last train in NYC as a teenager… except over and over and over again… man.. that’d suck.
I don’t mind labels/boxes for “temporary sorting”. A lot of these distinctions are, to me, “personality sorting tools” and that’s fine as long as they can be taken off when they no longer serve the purpose or the glue starts to stick too much.
I think that’s why I’m “conservative’ about assigning a permanent fixed genetic basis for observed behavioral patterns. Circumstances can change people. Some things are likely more or less individual tendencies – personality traits that run deep – but I think a lot of modifiable given the right circumstance or motivatio
Some on divergent thinking: I wonder if divergent thinking is a more liberal thinking process whereas convergent thinking is more conservative?
“Psychologists have found that a high IQ alone does not guarantee creativity. Instead, personality traits that promote divergent thinking are more important. Divergent thinking is found among people with personality traits such as nonconformity, curiosity, willingness to take risks, and persistence.”
“Activities which promote divergent thinking include creating lists of questions, setting aside time for thinking and meditation, brainstorming, subject mapping, bubble mapping, keeping a journal, playing tabletop role-playing games, creating artwork, and free writing. In free writing, a person will focus on one particular topic and write non-stop about it for a short period of time, in a stream of consciousness fashion.”
I guess with two years worth of everything being put into liberal/conservative, communist/fascist, etc, shoehorning anything and everything into binary slots, it’s affected me too.
Never liked politics, whether office politics or government politics. I know it’s a reality but it’s annoying human behavior, especially when I catch myself doing it.
Thanks Jane. I coped well being offline but I prefer the much larger variety of people online than offline plus I prefer typing to talking any day.