In business school my favorite class, by far, was business strategy. Multi-varied inputs and as few rules as possible and finding creative ways of positioning a company was actually fun. The basic guidelines of SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and the inputs one could conceive of could produce some pretty novel concepts.
The Brain operates in a similar fashion and to best prepare it to work to its fullest capabilities, we must understand that we must both Vertically and Horizontally Integrate some rather unusual suspects.
Vertically, the brain is arranged from top to bottom and composed of three very disparate personalities. The basic anatomy has been called the Triune Brain, like so many metaphors and psychospiritual concepts.
The bottom, and most primitive brain is known as the “Reptilian Brain” and though it isn’t much of a creative thinker, it keeps us alive automatically modulating many of our bodies physical and vegetative functions. It is also the center of sensual perceptions such as smell, touch, and taste as well as being responsible for our primal urges and pleasure center.
The Nucleus Acumbens interfaces with the lower to the Substantia Niagara (Dopamine), and higher to the Limbic Center (Emotions) supplying us with our primal motivation center. Sex, chemicals, music and any number of repetitive habitual activities are reinforced here with dopamine release.
The Id as described by Freud, is a wild fella who must be inhibited by our Superego consciousness, lest we all transform into lustful hedonists. This thinking has unfortunately led many of us to repress the feelings we naturally, and thankfully all have, and transform our superego into a overbearing authoritarian parental figure. When children are living freely in the moment, as they are naturally propelled by their unreasoning dopamine enhanced Id, a swat on the bottom and an attempt to reason them out of their essential self fosters an eventual self-enhancing conformity, repressed guilt and shame and an arrested creative expression.
The Middle Brain (The Limbic Brain or Mammalian Brain), endows us with emotions and the feelings attached that automatically interpret our purely reactive Idish reptilian brain, and guide us by reinforcing life enhancing behaviors relative to life diminishing ones.
Our mammalian brain also modulates memory and the sensual and emotional feelings of itself and the reptilian brain, and encodes memory into our higher Neo-Cortex (primate brain). Which hemisphere and how our memories are encoded, depends upon the ease at which our brains are allowed to store information naturally, relative to our higher (superego) cortical suppressions (leading to unconscious Repressions) and our particular hemispherical dominance and integration.
Humans possess a robust neocortex that has allowed us to outwit all other earthly lifeforms (as far as we know) and has led us to accomplish much in the way of adapting and transforming our environment to suit our needs. The primary functions of this brain are to seek meaning through gleaning knowledge and creating novel solutions so that we may both survive and thrive in our lives.
As a natural consequence of our three dissimilar brains, our higher functioning neocortex tends to assume control and lord over its less structurally sophisticated brethren. Our lack of understanding, and hence our lack of acceptance of how our brains are constructed and how they function best together, is a major cause of neurosis, psychosomatic dis-ease, lack of generalized well-being, muted self-expression and pervasive emotional-intellectual arrested development in our world.
We must nurture our reactive reptilian brain and tend to its needs, lest it consume us.
Heed the guidance of our emotions, lest they organize a mutiny and forsake us.
And allow or superior thinking apparatus some tether to create Intuitively, as it only can when all three brains are horizontally integrated.
The guilt and shame that build up in so many of us for what are natural feelings and seemingly uncontrollable emotional eruptions, must be understood, nurtured and accepted within ourselves and others.
Judgement, suppression of ourselves and others, loss of empathy, conformity, division between people and groups of people are all directly results of our misunderstandings and overuse of superegoic and false-self abstractions, and lessen us all.