The Amygdala Hijack

I guess I should put the “this article may trigger irrational feelings of anger, frustration, and inadequacy in Marines” right here so anyone who wishes to avoid such feelings can stop reading now. Otherwise, if you are intellectually curious, read on brave reader. But I seriously I don’t think a former Marine can read this blog post and NOT have an “Amygdala Hijack” moment.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “don’t go there” or it’s a touchy subject” with regard to avoiding a particular topic or line of conversation with a person? Odds are they have an overly emotional response to that topic and are subject to an “amygdala hijack” that turns their otherwise rational thinking capabilities into a stone age caveman “fight or flight” level of response.

Sometimes you’ll get a response like, “fuck you you flaming asshole,” (this is the fight part) “you are so not worth it I’m just fucking done with you!” (this is the flight part). The inability to stay in a conversation means that this person is simply not thinking, they are having a huge emotional response to an idea that is so scary they cannot think rationally.

Understanding what an amygdala hijack does to a person is key to understanding why Liberals are so afraid of conservative speakers at colleges and universities. If the very words coming out of someone else’s mouth made you feel like you were being attacked (because you amygdala is going ape shit on the threat response) you’d probably want a “safe space” with stuffed animals to cuddle and coloring books too. After all, such an intense emotional response will likely cut the functional cognitive ability down to that of a small child. Others have rightly called this the “infantilizing” of education:

Recently Snafu Solomon went off on LTG John Nicholson (US Army), who was involved with the Fox Company’s removal from Afghanistan. If you read the comments in articles you’ll see that MARSOC is vigorously and vehemently defended no matter how badly MARSOC screwed up: and

Many of the conspiracy theorists that think the Army was out to get MARSOC like to point out that the men charged, Major Galvin and Captain Olsen, were not convicted. However they also fail to notice that a Department of Defense IG probe into whether or not the SOCCENT commander was correct in what he did removing Fox Company from Afghanistan and recommending charges, also supported LTG Kearney.

“His actions were based upon repeated operational and command failures within the company that led to loss of confidence in the company’s ability to successfully conduct its assigned missions,” DOD IG report.

The “amygdala response” can happen to anyone, such as an Army veteran who was “triggered” into tears (the “freeze/submit” portion of the amygdala hijack) by standard coursework: or a Marine Veteran like Snafu Solomon who wrote:

“dude that is an article that was printed to push the Army meme…you’re ignoring the Free Beacon article in the here and now…. but fuck it. i’m done debating you. you’re just another Army drone. you lost more than a few cool points on this one and you’re no longer allowed to comment on Marine Corps matters that i cover on my blog. if you can’t take criticism of dumbass moves by Army leadership then you don’t get a fucking opportunity to weigh in on gripes that i have with Marine Corps leadership.i was playing the interservice rivalry game before it was cool.. .i just didn’t know that it was still being played. live and learn.”

The idea that was so disturbing to Sol was that just quite possibly MARSOC forces weren’t doing great things for the war on terror and deserved to be pulled from Afghanistan for the damage they caused to the mission there. That’s it. That’s what caused the amygdala hijack of a Marine. It is impossible to have a conversation with someone who cannot logically process information once their amygdala takes over. I just isn’t possible, they are effectively a five year old having a temper tantrum at that point.

Solomon thinks that he is a fair critic of the USMC because he criticizes the leadership of the USMC when they make decisions that he doesn’t think is in the best interest of the USMC in the long run. That isn’t criticism, that’s griping. A good way to understand this is to ask yourself, if the “criticism” of the Soviet Regime would be allowed under the Soviet regime, is it really criticism?

“The current leadership isn’t enough like Stalin!” is simply praise disguised as criticism. “We aren’t enough like Lenin!” is also praise disguised as criticism. “We haven’t realized the true classless society because our students aren’t being taught enough Marx!” is once again simply praise for the past wrapped up in disguise as a criticism for the present. It is criticism that that is inconsequential.

“The USMC is betraying its members by becoming the seagoing 101st!” isn’t criticism for the present, it is praise for the past of a USMC that was. Whether or not the nation actually needs the USMC to become a “seagoing 101st” isn’t up for debate here, because the point isn’t to actually open up the USMC to real criticism, but to praise the past Marines for their glory and honor of the Corps.

Now whether or not the MARSOC unit was “set up for failure by not receiving enough support” as some have claimed is another matter. Of course if Marines are expecting the SOCOM to set them up for success by pulling resources from others to give to them they’ll have to wait a damn long time. It may be insightful to review the “big boy rules” of SF which dominate SOCOM: and pay special attention to the “Catch me fuck me” rule.

When you are operating under Big Boy Rules, and you get caught stepping on your cock, you can be assured that the “fuck me” portion of “CMFM” will apply.

But to someone who really, REALLY loves their “beloved” Corps, they would rather believe that the Army is the problem. Of course this comes from the USMC image that they have carefully crafted and honed over the decades to perpetuate the biggest lie, that the United States Marine Corps is “elite.” The original Marine Raiders in WWII were disbanded in part because the rest of the Marine Corps worried about having an “elite within an elite” would make the rest of them less “elite.”

The USMC is not elite. The USMC is an organization that turns over 80% of its employees every three years (I guess that is better than McDonalds with 60% turnover per year). That is the sign of an organization that knows how to recruit but not retain talent. When the bulk of your organization has the experience level of a first time recruit straight off the street, you aren’t elite. You can create an elite organization inside that by creating a harsher and more discriminating selection process (how the Ranger Regiment gets new blood from the Regular Army) but the myth that all Marines are part of an “elite fighting force” is marketing, not reality. The Marines sell the Corps as elite as a recruiting tool, and when Marines find out how much BS that was, they get out. But because Marines are good at publicizing themselves, the myth of “elite” lives on and even former Marines who didn’t do jack or squat in the Corps have a vested interest in not exposing the man behind the curtain.

If you think I exaggerate, here is what the Marines say about their first term turnover rate (those who don’t re-enlist).

The Marine Corps is the youngest of the Services and has a high first-term turnover rate.  Approximately 62% of our Corps is under 25 years old, and 66% of our Marines are serving in their first enlistment.

And just to illustrate why the USMC isn’t elite, when you call the elite, they come.

“The TOC received disappointing news; the Marines from Khe Sanh were not coming to the rescue. With only seven Americans [SF team] left in the bunker, the Marines claimed they would lose more than seven Leathernecks in a rescue attempt.”

Another way to describe this is that if we use SOCOM as the yardstick for elite, this is what elite looks like:

Special Ops troops aren’t fresh-faced, straight-out-of-high-school recruits. Despite the pressures of such a high-octane job, they are, on average, married with kids. The average age for an enlisted member is 29 and for officers, 34. They generally have eight years of experience in the conventional forces. Chances are, Special Ops troops probably didn’t start their military career in special forces. They most likely had training in another sector of the military before being recruited into special forces.

To illustrate the point even further, the USMC robbed Peter to pay the F-35 and now so many of their Sea Stallions are falling out of the sky that even the normally adoring public is sitting up to take notice:

But don’t worry Marines, your public affairs team has your back, and will keep pushing the story of “relentless pursuit of perfection” every single chance they get:


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2 Responses to The Amygdala Hijack

  1. B says:

    You are a glutton for punishment by continuing to read that driveling blogger. Although I suppose like horror movies some folks get a charge out of the amygdala hijack 😀


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