COGJAM IN THE NEWS: Black or White Reasoning

Good morning! “COGJAM IN THE NEWS” installments begin this week. I hope you find them useful as you sort out divisive community and fractured science crossing your paths.

Today, a Florida story shared the plight of a moderate congresswoman. She was sitting on the fence about the impeachment inquiry. Eventually she encountered enough evidence to decide she favored it. A conservative politician publicly proclaimed that it showed she was not really a moderate, but a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” in fact aligning herself with socialists.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The conservative politician’s overboard reaction is actually an example of our old friend, the gut brain, trying to jump in and save the day.

When highly aroused, fight or flight activates. Parts of the logical brain are temporarily blocked, so maximum energy can be funneled into any immediate activity needed for survival. It kept us alive when running from the lion or fighting off attackers. To do this, we first had to identify the “bad guys,” and quickly identify and bond with “good guys” who might help offer protection. Immediate survival left no room for contemplation of gray areas. Only two extremes mattered: safe, or dangerous.

Today’s threats are different, but our ancient arousal chemistry persists. That knee-jerk black or white response is still there. Truth be known, we all succumb to it. And pieces of fractured science like the one above, when dumped onto others, create divisive community: cogjam, on the loose.

So what do we do when we see ourselves or others fall victim to it? Following is an approach The Cogjam Effect – and the Path to Healing Divisive Community and Fractured Science would suggest for processing the conservative politician’s reasoning error.

Consider this: if the moderate politician said she’d decided to oppose the impeachment inquiry, would he then say she was aligning with fascists? Of course not. He opposed it, and he was not a fascist. Nor would he describe his fellow conservatives that way. But when the fear response is allowed to call the shots, disconfirming data is never allowed to surface.

That’s why these days extremist potshots abound when, in fact, any position or concept taken to the extreme becomes absurd. It is the gut brain gone awry. When allowed to rule what we say or do during these times of severe political stress, we both alienate others and blow our own anxieties out of proportion–a very uncomfortable place to live.

Fortunately, we all also have the power to let our calmer, common sense brain step in and help us move beyond immediate fear responses.

We are resilient.

A Great Chance to Practice Cogjam Recovery

Over the last few days, impeachment proceedings and worries of where they may lead us have taken center stage. Community stress, especially socio-political stress, is on the upswing. It’s so easy to take sides.

Stress wiring urges us to quickly bond with those whose paths are similar to our own. We jump to the offense/defense to protect joint needs or beliefs and block information or beliefs that may get in the way. And, especially in today’s circumstances, it leads to escalating the pointless back and forth that is cogjam.

The good news: The cogjam effect has been outed. We can see it, hear it, taste it when it rears its head because we can recognize it for what it is. We can choose a different path, rather than let it control us. We can let the logical brain step in and give the gut brain a breather. We can be emotionally healthy, in spite of whatever dysfunction surrounds us.

How is this accomplished?

The Cogjam Effect – and the Path to Healing Divisive Community and Fractured Science offers suggestions. For impeachment back and forth, one possibility looks like this:


Here we have a human being.






Here is another.






Here’s’s a whole roomful of human beings . . .

. . . and here are a few more.

All of them are currently taking potshots, based on how their jobs fit in with this drama. But in truth, these are simply individual human beings doing the best they know how. Each of them has dreams and fears, goals and beliefs, families and friends, and personal gifts and quirks, just like the rest of us. And, as common humanity, we are actually one with them.

  • To let compassion rather than reactivity rule, we must first strive to understand them.
  • Only by listening and empathizing with their individual humanity and concerns do we truly understand where they are at.
  • Empathic understanding leads to caring compassion, which cannot coincide with pointless reactive hostility.
  • When we recognize that we are all one as common humanity, side-taking becomes irrelevant.

And adopting this mindset, rather than the cogjam mindset, delivers us inner peace.

Understanding the Journey

What is the first step of the journey? Where does story of cogjam begin? Two main characters hold center stage.

First, the antagonist: the gut brain, affectionately known as the inner lizard. He looks innocent enough, hiding in the shadows. But he’s a formidable foe to any who dare threaten.



Next comes the protagonist: the logical brain, seeking to bring wisdom and practical know-how to the inner lizard’s automatic alarm system. He’s more inclined toward thinking things through than knee-jerk reacting.

Unfortunately, these two guys haven’t been getting along very well these days.


Here’s how Chapter Two describes their relationship:

“The prevailing view of today’s strained society is of two extreme positions duking it out, with both trying to claw their way to the top of the food chain. This certainly paints the most tangible picture of what we see and hear. And it’s definitely the arena that stirs up the most cogjam misery.

However I beg to differ in regard to what it is we’re really looking at. I suggest that this conflict we’ve entered into is a reflection of something much deeper and more profound, an allegory of epic proportions. What we experience today is only a bump in a story that has been unfolding for many thousands of years.”

“All would be well if the two brain functions knew how to play together nicely. But that’s what’s only beginning to get sorted out in the grand history of the evolving brain. More typically, no matter how gently or firmly the gut brain tries to keep cognition from getting in the way, the logical brain becomes all the more insistent, believing it’s the better lobe for the job. As a result, the restricted flexibility of the stress response can become self-defeating.

Thus the real conflict is not one of opposing social attitudes, differing philosophies and worldviews, or cartoonishly polarized political parties. It is the ultimate battle between fear and logic, two yet-evolving brain functions going head to head. What spins around us today is merely the joint echoed cry of each individual’s inner struggle between logic and gut.”

And there you have it – the evolution of cogjam, playing in an arena near you. Except, we don’t typically recognize it as such. Instead, we tend only to see political perspectives busily tearing into one other. We react. They react back. And the beat goes on.

But there is hope: resilience, proving itself stronger and mightier than antagonist and protagonist alike.

To be continued . . .

It’s Here!

And healing is near. No matter who you are or how today’s polarizing stress shakes up your world, The Cogjam Effect – and the Path to Healing Divisive Community and Fractured Science has answers.

Healthy community can be restored. Likewise, we can reestablish the common sense, logic, and and evidence-based thinking that has served us so well for eons. But first, we must break a few entrenched patterns and seek new ways.

What might help you travel these troubled times? Chapter One suggests this is the right book for you if you seek to:

  • Be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
  • Take control over what currently spirals out of control.
  • Discover strengths you never knew you had.
  • Experience greater inner peace.
  • Clear up confusion, and regain self-confidence and sense of certainty.
  • Heal and strengthen relationships with those you hold dear.
  • Better fend off the slings and arrows of ongoing dysfunctional politics.
  • Help choose and plant seed for the next era–which can only sprout from the muck left behind by cogjam.

Everyone is welcome to join the mission of healing common humanity. All aboard!

Find The Cogjam Effect at Kharis Publishing ( and many major outlets. Release date: September 2, 2019.

Everyone’s Gone to the Moon

Fifty years ago today, humankind was taking its first steps on the moon. I especially recall one particular summer day, images forever etched in memory: sitting on the lawn, staring at the moon in awe, with teenage friends whispering to one another “we’re up there right now.”

Thus was I doubly blessed. Not only did I come of age in an era where challenging outdated norms brought major advancements, but also witnessed the incredible things passions and talents could do when people work together–even a moon landing.

Today I took my own small step for a woman, including fantasies of a giant leap for humankind, provided others meld with the mission. You see, today I finished mailing 500+ pre-release copies of The Cogjam Effect – and the Path to Healing Divisive Community and Fractured Science to every sitting member of the U. S. Congress and Supreme Court.

Why them, before anyone else sees it? Because they deserve it. Politicians have valiantly struggled with cogjam much longer than the rest of us. It feeds the roots of ineffective problem solving and political divisiveness, tainting anything they might try to accomplish. The lessons of recent brain science, trauma research, and disaster experience, and how they apply to today’s polarizing, may well help them break pattern and move forward.

As all of us can do in our own lives, in our own way:

  • Reducing cogjam in relationships, in communities, and within our own minds.
  • Stopping the bleeding, healing the hurt, and finding healthier directions.
  • Figuring out how we got here in the first place, and doing our darnedest to keep it from happening again.

Every individual effort counts, no matter how small or whether it gets immediate results. Cultural change is slow, and the world can only be saved in increments. We should rejoice in these increments as they happen–that in itself is healing. Even retired baby-boomers can contribute in ways that reap future benefits, without our still being around to witness the final results.



And for you younger generations . . . the sky is still the limit.




Kharis Publishing plans to release The Cogjam Effect – and the Path to Healing Divisive Community and Fractured Science in September 2019. Stay tuned!

We’re Almost There!

Kharis Publishing has slated release of The Cogjam Effect . . . and the Path to Healing Community Divisiveness and Fractured Science for September 2019. That’s only a little over a month from now!

Soon, there will be guidance for traversing these chaotic and confusing political times:

  • Simple nonpartisan advice, based on both state-of-the-art brain science and collective wisdom dating back 5000 years.
  • Straightforward and practical directions for applying this wisdom during day-to-day trials and tribulations over political fallout.
  • How to address intellectual chaos, and settle back into the common sense reasoning we’ve honed since birth.

Stay tuned, everybody!