[Paleopsych] What's the survival value of post traumatic stress disorder?

HowlBloom at aol.com HowlBloom at aol.com
Mon Apr 25 09:00:58 UTC 2005

If you have PTSD (post traumatic  stress disorder), your hippocampus works 
poorly and you have a lot of trouble  storing new memories.  It’s your old  
memories that prevail, the memories of the horrid experience that produced your  
trauma to begin with.  Is this  fixation with a danger in the past helpful to 
your personal survival? Or is it  helpful to something else—to the survival of 
society?  If you suffer from PTSD, does your brain  and body inflict that 
suffering every day to turn you into a signboard--a  walking warning of danger to 
the rest of us? 
Ted Coons proposes that us old  folks lose our ability to remember recent 
events but still hang on to memories  of our distant past for a reason.  Not a 
reason that helps us aging elders,  but a reason that helps the collective  
mind, the mass intellect of society.  We elders, Ted thinks, are storage jugs 
keeping antique memories alive  not for the sake of our personal survival, but for 
the sake of the younger folks  who’ve had no opportunity to experience or 
remember the days when we elders were  young and vigorous.  Those  youngsters 
have had no chance to remember the problems and solutions of our  childhoods way 
back when, the problems and solutions of an earlier generation or  two or 
Can PTSD victims serve a similar  function, as danger markers for those of us 
who’ve never experienced the horrors  that the past-obsessed and 
present-challenged PTSD patients  remember far, far better than they’d  like?  Are they 
walking warning  signs to the rest of us?  Are they,  like all of us, disposable 
modules in the mass learning machine of culture, in  the parallel distributed 
intelligence of the collective brain?
Howard  Bloom
Author of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the  Forces of 
History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang  to the 
21st Century
Visiting Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York  University; Core 
Faculty Member, The Graduate  Institute
Founder:  International Paleopsychology Project; founding board member: Epic 
of Evolution  Society; founding board member, The Darwin Project; founder: The 
Big Bang Tango  Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American 
Association for the  Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, 
Academy of Political  Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International 
Society for Human  Ethology; advisory board member: Youthactivism.org; 
executive editor -- New  Paradigm book series.
For information on The International Paleopsychology  Project, see: 
for two chapters from 
The Lucifer  Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History, 
see  www.howardbloom.net/lucifer
For information on Global Brain: The Evolution of  Mass Mind from the Big 
Bang to the 21st Century, see  www.howardbloom.net

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