The Wolf Mentality Revisited

In the context of the Triune Brain model, I have been rethinking the Wolf Mentality or more to the point the number of actual wolves out there. I can only think of one off the top of my head and he is a very pragmatic retired sailor. In TWIWC II Thorin wrote that to be a wolf you have to follow one rule:

Think for yourself.

It sounds easy enough, however with my observations using the Triune Brain model in ConCom that rarely happens. The neo-cortex is the rational part of our brains, the unemotional problem solver without any bias. Most of the time we are in our limbic systems, the social-emotional part where emotions and beliefs reside. When we are here, we react reflexively to feeling and perceptions. How often do you stop and think during a conversation? Small talk is a good example of us not thinking, it is a script everyone usually follows.

A study was done to see which parts of the brain lights up when discussing politics during an fMRI. It was not the rational part, it was the emotional one, and it can hijack you according to Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence. When we are in this part of the brain the ‘wolf’ is dormant, in fact you could say we are sheepish since emotional people are predictable and malleable. From there we argue about how we feel about where we belong (hierarchy/group), how to do things (rules), where do others belong who are not part of the group, and label them. All based on our view on how the world should work, not what is actually happening.

I think to get started towards being a wolf you would have to loosen your emotions control over you. A person could acknowledge the emotions, set them aside so biases are minimized, and approach an issue like a math problem. Definitive. Being adaptable, they can build their own system of ethics and beliefs, while keeping in mind that the word view is intangible and not falling into the same trap as religious zealots or secular ideologues who attack any opposing opinion with rage and insults. The more emotionally invested or rigidly self-identifying with something the less rational we are, even if it is a code of our own creation.

I think being a mature wolf is an ideal, impossible to reach 100% of the time, like the Stoic Sage or Zen Masters. At best, most of us are cubs and juvenile wolves who are working to grow up one day. Remember that it is a process.

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