Our sense of safety comes from the interplay of our biology and our environment.
An innate biological consciousness sends out a sort of echo location. For a newborn this a cry, what echos back is the smile of the mother. As we grow this becomes a more complex interweaving of thought, language, emotions, culture and all the noise of human life.
It is a span of functionality that connects the whole. Here we see the full range: the healthy and the harmonious to the dissociated, the dis-eased and the dissonant. It is an ancient system that is pre-language, keeping us animals safe.
Harmony and dissonance are vitally important feedback mechanisms. They tell the listener if they are safe or not. Dissonance is the opposite to harmony. It is contained in wavelength form in the sounds of the lions roar or the siren of an emergency vehicle. It is a key that can turn on our sympathetic nervous system, the one responsible for flight or fight, and is appropriate and reasonable if we don’t want to be eaten or run over.
The genius-ness of the human is that we are constantly broadcasting our state, whether is it harmonic or dissonant. It is contained in our eyes whether bright or dissociated, our ability to make eye contact, in our vocal tone, in our shape, our muscle tonicity, how we hold ourselves and how we move. Much of this is subconscious and happens at every moment of every human interaction. We gather up all the cues around us and then broadcast out the sum result informing others of the current state of affairs. It is a viral mechanism. The one who originally heard the soft growl of a predator suddenly becomes rigid with alertness. This is perhaps an inconceivably small change of movement, but signals to others that they may not be safe right now. Hearts pounding, ears strained and eyes wide. Right now we’re one organism, waiting.
Being human means that this system is ON now and always, and is working and having it’s way with you regardless whether you are a kid at their first day of school or a seasoned CEO of a large multinational.