George Kohlrieser on Fear and Loathing in Politics

Question: How are politicians ideological hostages?

Kohlrieser: There are a lot of hostages there in Washington D.C. without a gun to their head. They are hostage to party ideology, they are hostage to political forces all kinds of things that do not allow them to truly focus on where we need to go. And, of course, that confusion stimulates confusion in the American people. I myself as I read and look at this I say, “Where is the truth here? Where do we need to go?” And leadership means somehow bringing people together, and it’s a very sad state when we cannot get a clear vision where people see that where going to go. Now, what we do know is negative does work, fear does work. The brain is oriented, it’s an early warning system, and it’s natural to look for danger, for pain. But if you don’t control it, you then get taken hostage to that fear and we have so many opportunities here to feel that fear and get pulled into the worst of what can happen. Now, what we have to do, and I’ve heard some people talked about this, how do we turn this into the best option, the opportunities? And that means you have to have people who stand up and have the courage to lead and guide. And the sad story is it appears that now there is a lot of partisan bickering and pulling into camps as opposed to building bonds. You see the other part of what makes really effective leadership is that you have to build collaborative relationships and that’s not what I see happening. It’s a lack of vision, lack of good clear cooperation, and being a secure base where you’re building trust, what we have now coming out of Washington is a lot of fear and I hope they understand that not only are they fearful but the American people are fearful and people around the world.

Question: How can politicians resolve their partisan conflicts?

Kohlrieser: Probably get out of the media spotlight long enough that they could sit down and have some good heart-to-heart dialog. Conflicts can be resolved; however, you have to come back to what the common goals are, where are the common goals and then start building a bond. Here’s what happens in a hostage negotiation. It’s a very simple process in one way with the complexity of emotion that involves a lot of risks, a lot of danger. But good trained hostage negotiators are able to build a bond, build a relationship with a hostage taker, and these people are not your most lovable people. They are not the kind of people you want to invite home for dinner. But through that relationship, you are able to help them see a benefit to giving up their hostages, giving up their weapons, come out knowing they’re probably going to go to prison. You’re in effect selling pain in a way for a greater benefit. And what is fascinating is that 95% of hostage situations are resolved through hostage negotiation techniques, 95%. Now, leaders don’t come near to that. They don’t come near to that level of effectiveness and my personal mission is to help leaders find that personal power, not for their own interest, but for common goals, common interest to be able to sell pain, drive the change process because in effect, we really are talking about how do leaders deal with change and uncertainty because we live now in times of change and uncertainty, and this is where leaders have to stand up and build these fundamental relationships, be a secure base, what we would call, where you build trust, and when you have that, you then shutdown the brain, the mind’s eyes tendency to activate this early warning system to see pain and danger. When you’re around a secure base, you tend to then not be looking for the danger because you feel protected. The problem is we do not feel protected. We’re driven by too much fear and the sense that there’s too much danger out there. It is there. It is there but you can’t focus on it because then you’re taken hostage.

Just as in hostage situations, George Kohlrieser says politicians need to build bonds and understand what the other side truly wants to overcome their partisan divides.

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

Discovery of two giant radio galaxies hints at more to come

The newly discovered galaxies are 62x bigger than the Milky Way.

I. Heywood, University of Oxford / Rhodes University / South African Radio Astronomy Observatory / CC BY 4.0.
Surprising Science
  • Two recently discovered radio galaxies are among the largest objects in the cosmos.
  • The discovery implies that radio galaxies are more common than previously thought.
  • The discovery was made while creating a radio map of the sky with a small part of a new radio array.
Keep reading Show less

The secret life of maladaptive daydreaming

Daydreaming can be a pleasant pastime, but people who suffer from maladaptive daydreamers are trapped by their fantasies.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Mind & Brain
  • Maladaptive daydreamers can experience intricate, vivid daydreams for hours a day.
  • This addiction can result in disassociation from vital life tasks and relationships.
  • Psychologists, online communities, and social pipelines are spreading awareness and hope for many.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Massive 'Darth Vader' isopod found lurking in the Indian Ocean

    The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.

    SJADE 2018
    Surprising Science
    • A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
    • It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
    • The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
    Keep reading Show less

    Why it's important to admit when you're wrong

    Psychologists point to specific reasons that make it hard for us to admit our wrongdoing.

    Credit: Adobe Stock
    Mind & Brain
    • Admitting mistakes can be very difficult for our ego and self-image, say psychologists.
    • Refusing to own up to guilt boosts the ego and can feel more satisfying.
    • Not acknowledging you are wrong can lead to psychological issues and ruined relationships.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast