Sense of Self and Fear: The 'Conditioned' Brain

“When you struggle against disturbance, or defend yourself against outer or inner threat, you know you are conditioned.” Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known
Sense of self in the brain Interactive Brain

Amygdala: Fear and body’s alarm for survival

How Our Brain Preserves Our Sense of Self - Scientific American
" Psychologists have long noticed that a person’s mind handles information about oneself differently from other details. Memories that reference the self are easier to recall than other forms of memory. They benefit from what researchers have called a self-reference effect (SRE), in which information related to oneself is privileged and more salient in our thoughts. Self-related memories are distinct from both episodic memory, the category of recollections that pertains to specific events and experiences, and semantic memory, which connects to more general knowledge, such as the color of grass and the characteristics of the seasons.

SREs, then, are a way to investigate how our sense of self emerges from the workings of the brain—something that multiple research groups have studied intensely. For example, previous research employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a method that uses blood flow and oxygen consumption in specific brain areas as a measure of neural activity, to identify regions that were activated by self-reference. These studies identified the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) as a brain region related to self-thought."


The idea is that the brain has developed to such a point that it might transcend its primary function of fear based on self worth.

The evolved brain sees that nothing really matters?
In the sense of K’s “I don’t mind what happens “? (Different from ‘caring’ what happens?)

Some studies have shown that love deactivates parts of the prefrontal cortex and amygdala. Love can diminish self-centeredness and fear, perhaps evolving a “transcended” brain. Love, however, is a very complex process involving different parts of the brain, neurotransmitters and hormones. Maybe increasing love frequency and duration can produce lasting effects on the brain.

K had talked about a mutation in the brain, maybe love is one of the mutagens (as well as silence).

The “love” under consideration in these studies is basically desire, or sexual attraction and attraction to a mate. This process is of course highly important to our survival as a species, essential really for most of our history and the history of sexual reproduction and care for offspring in general.
It’s not surprising that anything that might get in the way of the reproduction process, like our general fear of others, distaste at our personal space being invaded etc would be mitigated (chemically or otherwise).

The absence of fear here is a mechanical process that we are dependant on, just as we are usually dependant on the mechanical process of fear.
It is similar to taking drugs.

If we consider this to be a move in the right direction, it would be like finding a drug, like MDMA, but without any bad side effects, and administering that to the population.
We would have created the perfect conditions for human flourishing - but we would still be dependant on conditions.

No longer being limited by our experience, transcending conciousness, is not a dependance on conditions nor conditioning, but the opposite of that.

Not so much that nothing matters, more that : “What I want” is not all that matters

Yes, the article acknowledged there was an overlap between love and desire in their studies. From my experience, there is love without an object or desire, and it does have an effect on the brain. I’ve also experienced love reducing fear. I was happy to read this article and will experiment with what I’ve learned. This article helped me see the possibility of K’s “mutation in the brain” when love deactivates the amygdala and parts of the pre-frontal cortex. Nice to have internet in the palm of my hand for access to a world of information. I will find out for myself. And this is an excellent tool: Interactive Brain

My curiosity at this point is what would be the combined effect of co-occurring love and mindfulness meditation (choiceless awareness) on the brain? There have been more than four decades of research on mindfulness meditation.