Trauma arises when we experience events or circumstances that seem to threaten our survival, or the survival of our family or tribe.
When our survival seems threatened, ancient biology calls us to “lock and load” on the threat. Quicker than thought, we respond with whatever behavior our ancient brains deem most likely to protect us from imminent destruction.
When our survival seems threatened, we rely on the inheritance of our ancestors, all the way back to the reptiles and beyond. Quicker than thought, we fall into the modes of moving, perceiving, feeling and acting that allowed them to survive.
Trauma is not ecological. When our survival seems threatened, we’re not well-equipped to perceive, feel, or think about the big picture or the long-term.
Trauma inhibits co-operation. When we feel threatened, we’re biologically prone to perceiving everything in terms of me vs. you, or us vs. them.
Trauma kills creativity. When our survival is threatened, our ancient biological inheritance says we don’t have time to experiment. We don’t have time to play around.
And since humans learn by playing, if we don’t have time to play, we don’t have time to learn.
Trauma kills creativity.
That would seem to be bad news for planet Earth, for as Einstein said, “We can never solve a problem from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Creativity is required to meet critical challenges like global climate change, resource depletion, and overpopulation.
So trauma is public health enemy number one not only for humans, but for all our relations.