Every educated person needs to know that the mind, spirit, soul, heart,
personality, self, feelings, hopes, desires, values, preferences, personality
all exist in the brain. We have old metaphors such as the “heart,” “spirit” or
the “soul” that suggest otherwise, but the liberating truth is that it is all in
the mind and the mind is all in the brain. This is not to argue against the
body, but it is to notice that body, brain and mind are one integrated whole
The human brain is a wonder of computational ability and the brain initiates
and supervises its own training. The foundation of intelligence lies in
the tuning ability of the brain and tuning circuits appear in the first animals
alive on earth. Animals must tune into what is going on around them in order
navigate through a world-space to find required materials such as water and
food. An animal is more intelligent if he or she tunes accurately into what is
going on and finds what is needed without injury or death. Despite an
increasingly complex, manufactured world, most humans continue to do what all
other animals do.
All humans who survive are capable of tuning into the basic events that are
occurring out-there. With a little help from friends, family and community,
children grow, learn how to survive.
basic idea behind brains is to bring information about the outside world
together with information from inside the body. In the human mind, images of the
outside tend to be detailed and explicit in consciousness. In contrast, monitor
images from inside the body are vague and variable. Information
originating inside the body is not clearly represented in consciousness. Inner
senses belong to two groups - the most ancient chemical kind and a more modern
and rapid electronic kind that travels along nerve networks that reach out to
every cell in the body.
The human mind and human behavior is more comprehensible if you recognize
that the brain is a multi-layered modular assembly of functions that retains
features hundreds of millions of years old. The newest features were invented in
the past few million years. The idea is that the human brain we are now
enjoying was more or less complete about 200,000 years ago.
A brand new baby is an old creature who could live in a cave and learn to
make stone tools or live in an air conditioned house in the suburbs and watch
TV. As children grow and develop, you witness displays of old animal behavior,
good and not-so good, that must be selected and modified to achieve a happy
citizen of planet earth. As you learn from your children, you will develop
valuable insights into the workings of your own mind.
Each human brain is a more or less modern computer built into and on top of a
museum of neurological parts. Human experience and behavior manifests this
layered, multimodal assembly. Humans manifest behaviors that are common among
all animals. Humans feel feelings that many animals feel and have social
tendencies that all primates share.
Some old feelings are wild and exciting and some are disturbing. They come
from a distant place and another time. Wild feelings and drives may interrupt
the flow of a modern rational existence and propel an individual on an
irrational adventure, sometime leading to discovery and liberation; at other
times, to disaster.
New babies are not born with the new brain programs nor are they a “clean
slate”. Brain programs are built in and need not be reinvented by each child.
Old programs include some of our most negative qualities - predatory and
territorial aggression, anger, rage and some of our most positive qualities -
the tendency to bond and form social units with altruistic features.
Our destiny as a species still lies with the programs in the old brain.
Individuals can transcend the old programs by diligent learning and
compassionate practice but individual effort and learning does not change the
genome. Whatever we value about civilized human existence - culture, knowledge,
social justice, respect for human rights and dignity must be learned anew and
stored as modifications of each new person's neocortex.
Children are not little adults, nor are they modern beings. They are ancient
beings who are not ready for modern human life for 20 or more years. Parents and
other adults have to show these ancient little beings what we are doing these
days, but before they update their children, they have to allow them to develop
the basic skills and tendencies built into their brains.
To become a smart and nice citizen of planet earth the new infant must start
learning to transcend old negative programs and parents lead the way by
displaying the attitudes and behaviors that they want their children to
manifest. It doesn't matter what you tell a child, they are going to copy
what you do.
More reading ... go to Brain Center