The Elephant in the room.
The brain is like an elephant– it has been evolving for several hundred years. The most fundamental job of the brain is to protect the person with the brain. So, you look for the threat or advantages of your environment that will create fight, flight, or accept. The brain helps the elephant get what it wants/needs to survive.
The “riders” are your reasoning functions and are relatively new to the evolution of the brain.
The job of reason is to justify what the brain wants to explain why we did something. Also, we want to work with others because that’s crucial to survival. So the reasoning functions of our brain come in and justify why the elephants should get what they want.
This is what makes talking about certain topics difficult. We’re feeling triggered/in danger so our reasoning function steps in when we can’t physically run from our conflict and justifies us saying or doing hurtful things to the person who posed a “danger” to us. This cycles creates “self-righteousness”. We get locked into that self-righteousness and it makes it hard for us to have civil, kind conversations with people we disagree with. Vilifying the other is a result of our brains wiring in this way.
But here’s the good news: You can nudge your elephant… it takes great intentionality.
Reason has three jobs:
1. It helps the elephant get what it wants
2. It justifies why the elephants should get what it wants
As Kingdom person, we need to assign another job to the Rider:
3. Examine, should the elephant get what it wants?
Self-awareness can only influence the elephant if there is something more valuable than the elephant.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 13:1
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal.
1 John 3:16
Here is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. So also we should lay down our lives for one another.