The Red Mist


Just this week a young man, 20 years old, was attacked with a shovel by two men after a service station ‘parking row’. Very likely not pre-meditated this appalling act of lethal violence is an horrific example of how our ancestral bio-emotional loops kick-in and destroys lives.

Let’s think for a moment of how our muscles react when anger takes hold – okay? We clench our teeth by tightening our jaw muscles – a throwback to pre-speech when our hominid ancestors snarled and exposed teeth as a display of anger and strength.

We tighten our fists, preparing to strike out. We rise on our toes, preparing to run into battle. Our shoulders lift, our breathing becomes shallow and rapid. (Lots of other stuff is happening too, as a response to anger – hormones and other chemicals pour into our blood stream) and before we know it a red mist takes over and we revert to our ancestral primate behaviour and become barely aware of our actions. Until it is too late.

It doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way – know  we are responsible for our actions because we have self-awareness and because of this we CAN reverse the clenched teeth and fists; relax our shoulders and breathe slow and deep. We CAN smile instead of scowl and then something remarkable happens – our anger hormones switch off and the red mist fades away and a young man lives to see another day and no-one goes on the run and hearts remain unbroken.

My book, Homo spiritus, is about reversing this and other  bio-emotional loops that evolution has bequeathed us. It is about transforming our natures into something a little more sane.

It isn’t easy but well worth the effort. Have you got it in you to be a Homo spiritus?


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