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To this, we evolved neocortex, crowning glory of homo sapiens. Or is it? Magnificent as it may be, it has its limitations. The lower brain will always rule, emotions will always take precedence, because they’re necessary for survival. When we fear – and in today’s world our fear can be totally symbolic (your boss yelling at you) – we get “hijacked.” We are “flooded” with emotion which is specifically designed to shut down our “thinking” (our ability to reason) and we act, i.e., we act without thinking. We are constantly at risk of tiger within us becoming confused and primitive, like Montecore, and doing something we would not ordinarily do.
Montecore has been performing for many years. Something went awry, something was different, and he reverted to self-preservation tactics, by all reports. In fight or flight, he decided not to attack anyone, but to get himself and Roy to safety. If he attacked Roy, same principle applies and we will never really know.
Something emotional happened, and among mammals, emotions are contagious. You know this if you’ve been in a newspaper office day they announced it was closing, or been around when someone got chastised in public. Was it something with Roy, same thing that caused this magnificent physical specimen to slip and fall? His birthday? Wondering, as I do, why fascination with “big hair.” (How many friends of mine have told me their cats love to lick hair-sprayed hair… or did it look like “fur” to Montecore?) Was he overly tired and less able to concentrate – having celebrated his birthday, or being about to? Was he preoccupied with thoughts of Big 6-0 on horizon?
When Roy fell, it was something Montecore had never seen happen on stage before. If he was bonded with Roy, he may have feared for Roy, who knows. But it was change – big change – that thing that throws all of us.
Then stage hands rushed out, more commotion … fear. One reverts. Bad things can happen. We can hurt people we love. We can hurt ourselves. Prey as we are to beast within, all we can do is be aware, and to learn to manage. This is Emotional Intelligence. And this, Roy understood about his beloved tiger. It wasn’t Montecore’s “fault”…nor do we routinely “blame” animals, lacking a neocortex as they do.
However, in regards to humans, we continue to battle this out in courts, and in our own hearts and minds.
It is for sure we never want to hear ourselves say, “I didn’t mean to kill her, I love her,” or “I don’t know what came over me,” or “That wasn’t like me.” We are as capable of as serious injury to others as Montecore is, physically, and also emotionally, because we have words, and when we disable our neocortex, we are left with same equipment Montecore has.
Our prayers are for all concerned, including show’s workers, described as “family,” who must also cope with possibly losing their jobs, another EQ dilemma. Because we are humans, our brains are often at odds with one another and we suffer conflict, guilt and shame. As one worker said in a newspaper quote, it was awful to be worrying about herself at that time, but she was a single mother and it was her job. Let us say means of preservation for herself and her children. We need to keep learning about our emotions. As Childre and Martin say, “The emotional frontier is truly next frontier to conquer in human understanding. The opportunity we face now … is to develop our emotional potential and accelerate rather dramatically into a new state of being.”
Photo of Roy with baby white tiger: http://www.siegfriedandroy.com/news/images/sprint_commercial.jpg
“Look for magic that is around you in nature, flowers, and all animals that share this planet with us.” Roy Horn
©Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology, cEQc, The EQ Coach™, http://www.susandunn.cc . Emotional coaching to positively impact all areas of your life – career, relationships, transition, learning, leadership, resilience, self- and other-management. Take The EQ Foundation Course©, and visit the eBook Learning Center: http://www.webstrategies.cc/ebooklibrary.html . Mailto:email@example.com for FREE eZine.