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  • Bumper Stickers and Zero-Sum Thinking

    For the last year I’ve been developing an idea for a documentary film tentatively titled “Sticker Movie” about bumper stickers and how they express tribal identity and territory. Someone inquired about the status of the project and this was my response. Consider it a glimpse into the creative thought process.

    “Sticker Movie is on hiatus for the moment, mostly while I seek funding and further develop the concept. However, the more I’ve meditated on the idea, the more I have come to believe that stickers indicate something very fundamental about the human psyche, specifically the amygdala and its function in society.

    Humans behave differently when they feel threatened; brain function shifts from cerebral cortex to amygdala, which mediates flight/fight response. I believe stickers are associated with territorial instinct, as originated from the amygdala, and that much of the definition of “liberal” and “conservative” rests on how specifically people modulate their amygdala/cerebral functions. I believe this is partially genetic and partially environmental. People’s early experiences (bullying, racism, teasing, aggression, prison, certain sports) can definitely activate a “zero-sum” mentality which is dominated by the amygdala.

    It’s been observed that siblings are more competitive but less successful than only children. Siblings fight amongst themselves for resources and attention, while only-children may have more opportunity to be creative. Zero-sum vs. positive sum thinking, IMHO.”

    I’m an only-child. And I believe that if we can deactivate the amygdala in our political discourse, we can positively affect the world. What do you think about stickers, the amygdala, and zero-sum thinking?