The reptilian always wins...or does it?

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I have done a whole lotta thinking about great names for workshops this weekend. What got me started is that I’m working with a couple of other women to do a cooperative seminar, and, because I love playing with design and color, I volunteered to create a flyer, which meant designing a logo, which meant coming up with a name. Being very precise with words is important to me—even in casual communication this is so, but most particularly, when the intention is to convey an energy, a perspective, and a potential, such as you do when you are creating an invitation to a spiritual growth event, it is crucial. I see using words as putting wrappers around energy, and the more appropriate and fitting the wrapper, the more accurate the delivery. In playing around with ideas for our little group’s flyer, I really got in the mode, and besides finding a great name for our cooperative seminar, came up with some ideas for possible workshops of my own.

I was also nudged, because of an email I got that I wanted to respond to, to look up some information I had read before about the function of three primary brain structures in marketing. In so doing, I did a search for the phrase “the reptilian always wins.” I remembered it because it stood out to me, and if you go to this website, you’ll see why (of course, if you’ve read Recreating Eden, you already probably know why such a phrase would stick in my head)! At any rate, a researcher by the name of Clotaire Rapaille has made a lucrative career for himself out of being a consultant to corporations that want to understand what motivates people to connect with and buy various items. He’s worked for a Who’s Who of biggies like Chrysler Corp., Nestle, DuPont, IBM and many, many more. Mr. Rapaille has discovered that we respond to things based on the original coding that occurs during our first exposure to things, and that the first part of us that is developed is our reptilian brain—we’re born with it operational—and that's why the reptilian response overrides the cortex and the limbic responses. (This is WAY oversimplified—to read a superb interview with him that gives a great overview of his theories, go to ) Thus, his motto is “the reptilian always wins.” He says that no matter what else you appeal to, unless the survival-oriented reptilian brain buys in, there’s not a powerful enough hook. The intellect and the emotions are important, and a marketing strategy must utilize all three, but it needs to appeal to the reptilian brain if it is going to really motivate someone. The primal reptilian response, according to him, is always more powerful than the intellectual or emotional responses, and thus overrides them.

I, of course, having written a book about what happens when the reptilian brain grabs attention away from Spirit, am fascinated and somewhat horrified to read what he has to say. (Of course, you can’t really define Spirit as dwelling exclusively in any part of the brain), so I kind of wonder if maybe that’s the trump card Spirit holds--of course, the real trump card is that Love is always more powerful than fear, since fear, and every other energy is a derivative of Love …At any rate, being that my intention is rising above the reptilian-driven ego and helping others do the same, I wonder how to use the knowledge about appealing to the reptilian brain to somehow grab people where they are and get them to rise up in frequency where the reptilian brain holds less sway! Can that even work? Is this approach destined to failure? Will appealing to the reptilian part of people somehow bring the aspect of themselves that we are trying to subdue to the fore, or will it, instead, be a successful strategy to get people where they need to be? It’s interesting to consider. I have the image of luring a crocodile with the promise of something it wants and then rubbing its belly till it is lulled into unconsciousness…

I'm sure I'll have more to say on this concept—I can already think of much more to say, but I've written enough for now.

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This page contains a single entry by Julia published on August 8, 2005 4:58 AM.

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