Staying Alive

Our brain’s main job is to keep us alive and continue our species

Our brain’s survival functions are mostly non-conscious

The human species has survived over hundreds of thousands of years because of our brain’s ability to think, plan, and work together. When we need to drink or eat, our brain tells us we are thirsty or hungry. When we feel threatened, our brain readies us for a fight – or for a flight from danger. We cooperate with others to secure resources, support mating and child-rearing, and to care for those we consider part of our “tribe.” 

However, our group behaviors have a darker side. Early in life, our brains naturally and relentlessly begin to categorize the world into “us” and “other.” “Us” tends to encompass persons with similar physical appearance and cultural behaviors. Throughout our lives, we tend to empathize with and display compassion for those who are “us.” And we tend to ignore, fear, dislike, or seek to dominate “others.” This propensity to exclude or strike out against “the other” may have once contributed to our survival as a species. But now it often expresses itself as racism, xenophobia, and even genocide; it causes great suffering and creates barriers to working together to address urgent challenges and improve lives. These impulses threaten our survival as a species. 

We can learn to manage our deeply embedded, destructive impulses. Join us to discover knowledge from neuroscience that will help you survive and thrive!