In Part 1 we discussed the difference between a ‘real’ question and a ‘rhetorical-why’ loop, and how the rhetorical-why-loop is more like an indictment because of its intent.
Here we look at how rhetorical-why-loop questions trip up our brain in ways that impair essential operations.
That’s dangerous. Why?
A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that the subconscious has a much larger impact than science previously held on our response to perceived danger. This effect can impair our ability to rationally assess danger.
When the body’s in survival mode (and fear puts the ego-self is in charge of bodily processes), it makes little distinction between physical and emotional threats to survival – a snake in the woods and a comment perceived as rejection are handled in similar fashion. The one and only goal of the body is to protect, defend, erect walls, and the like, for the purpose of survival.
The holidays are officially here with the celebration of Thanksgiving, the official kick-off for the holiday season. Like many, you may have mixed feelings of joyous expectation on the one hand, and dread on the other wishing you could “enjoy” the holidays this year without stalling your healthy-eating and exercise goals – or feeling emotionally drained by the demands and expectations of family and the season.
Questions are great brain boosters. They can energize us to start a new behavior, or to break free and let go of an old one. That’s because questions can stimulate powerful emotions, such as curiosity or wonder, which put our brains in first gear, raring to go and learn. Some questions, that is.
A ground-breaking study by Swiss researchers published in Nature revealed that, though the neurons of the amygdala play a key part in processing fear, other areas, more specifically, the higher cortex can also play a key role in regulating the fear response and modulating new emotional learning. Thus fear does not have to debilitate our capacity to make better choices.
And, when it comes to dealing with fears, a good question can empower us to muster the courage to face challenges and fears, and perhaps discover new possibilities in the process!
Not all questions, however, energize optimal processes and our brain’s amazing capacity to learn and create new understanding in the process. Some questions achieve the opposite, and some of these aren’t ‘real’ questions.