This is a background about our brain and how it developed. A lot of this will be referred to in next weeks post.
The Human brain
Our brain is compiled of 3 main areas; protoreptilian complex (brainstem & cerebellum), paleomammalian (Limbic system) & the neocortex. Developing in respective order. This began from a study by Paul Maclean in 1960s since then we have done a lot more research and discovered that a lot of the facts about reptile brain vs mammal brain isn’t entirely true. i.e. most animals with a spinal cord have a limbic system and neocortex once thought unique to humans can be found in lower class mammals.
However the separate brain parts all do have different functionality and developed for a reason and may be at war with itself.
The earliest part of our brain is the part we don’t think about. It’s instinctive and done naturally. Such as heart beat, breathing, releasing adrenaline or chemicals in the brain to improve certain functionalities i.e. You get aroused, heart beats faster, testosterone is increased and other certain bodily functions may happen.
Even as fixed as this part of the brain is, it can still be trained or improved upon. This part also controls balance and body temperature. Some of us have a greater sense of balance and some monks can regulate the body temperature enormously.
That being said this is still predominately the instinctive a part of the brain
The next part to developed found in early mammals. This part started to recognise behaviors and memories. It is responsible for the motivation and emotion in feeding, reproductive and parental behavior. Simply it’s the emotional center of the brain. When someone says they feel it in their guy, it’s actually their limbic system.
Often a gut feeling can be mostly correct because the limbic system might be accounting for some subconscious memories that your thinking/conscious brain missed.
The newest and largest, developing in early primates. Where we started to evolve true consciousness and effective communication through language. It’s also responsible for logical thinking, abstraction, planning and perception.
This part of the brain has almost limitless learning abilities and is what’s thought to develop human cultures.
Even those these are all seperate parts of the brain, they still work together i.e.You watch a scary movie, you perceive the danger and project yourself in it (mammalian) then your body responds with respective functions (reptilian).
This means your brain is still one thing and all works interconnectedly. As a species we do need to do a better job in controlling this communication.
Now with our knowledge of the universe and the brain parts sometimes contradict the technology we have our brain often contradicts what its spent millions of years evolving to. For instance we see a lot of lollies, and eat them all. This made sense back in hunter gather days yet now it can have terrible effects on our body. Or fear of one another, it’s hard for us to completely eradicate war or weapons because of the instinctive fear of ‘the other guy’ has them then I need them.
Yet with the logical neocortex it should be easy to get passed all that. Then think, ‘we’re one species, one planet. Let’s act like it’. Yet that’s not how it currently is.
Our ancient ancestors, the dinosaurs were around for 165 million years! that’s a long time. Then something happened, and now they’re gone. They didn’t get to write down any historic records, or even write. They never made a spce program yet they were here 165 MILLION years! Homosapians in contrast have been here for a mere 180,000 years.
Yet will we go the same way as the dinosaurs or will we become something more?
…Find out next week! 😉