I was hesitant to write anything pertaining to the events in Paris because even though I have a general feeling of sadness over the violence, I am also far removed from it. And this is going to sound terrible, but it's really just one of many violent events that has happened in recent history. And I'm sure it's not going to be the last. It has definitely crossed my mind of if and when these type of jihadist events will happen on the west coast. Will it just be a matter of time? But I refuse to think further down that road and live in fear. Instead I think about what could be a possible solution. Killing all radical Muslims isn't the answer, because inadvertently those actions would harm civilians (the non-radicals) which would lead to further antagonization. This is literally a question about world peace. And I think some of the answer lies in understanding how humans think, in our neurobiology. If you're not already, you need to be watching The Brain with David Eagleman on PBS, but especially watch episode 5 (Why Do I Need You?). Watch the whole episode here or if you don't have the time here's a short clip (this coincidentally aired on Nov. 11, days before the shootings). In this episode they explain how humans who once lived in peace for generations can suddenly kill their neighbors, friends, and colleagues during mass genocide. It's complicated, but in a nutshell ordinary people can become violent, cruel and destructive because their brains are manipulated (through propaganda) to shut off the areas of their brain responsible for empathy. They start viewing those people in the out-group more like objects and not a fellow human being (in terms of brain activity when a person is looking at a person who is part of an out-group, their brain is less active in the region of the medial prefrontal cortex. What this means is that in terms of brain response it's like they were looking at an inanimate object like a cup.) And people do this through mental avoidance. They avoid seeing the humanity of those who are not a part of their group. I know this isn't going to solve our problems right away. But as the world shrinks with the global reach of the internet I think it's important to that we all start realizing we're all part of the same team. We're all humans. We all feel joy, pain, fear, and love. We all need each other and we are all connected.