On a national website where I am featured, I posted a version of this blog post last month. Apparently, the inquiries about what I wrote surprised the website creator and myself. I didn't realize so many were interested in the organ we understand the least - our brain.
Recently, I've noticed most everyone I am aware of is confused with their view of reality right now, whether they admit it or not. Our return to the Age of the The Healthy Body is coming along nicely, but our ability to communicate with others seems to be in crisis. Almost every conversation I hear starts with a "sniffing" routine to establish familiar reference points like dogs on a walk . Handshakes are out, sniffs are in:
"How OLD are you?"
"Four and a half"
"Thirteen next month"
"A certain age"
The following 15 second Bashing Session of all those less old and more old than we are define the safe haven for the rest of the conversation. Why are we not moving past this strangeness? We have an all-out effort to move past racial, marital, gender, environmental, religious, and political bias. We're not doing well with some of these, but no one seems to be at all interested in moving past the massive walls we have built between us and others who had the unfortunate luck to be born at another time than we did.
So, what's going on, and why? Why don't we exercise our brains so we can have healthy conversations with each other?
Many have asked me why I talk about the "new brain." Most don't understand why there may even be a "new brain", and if so, is it an organ donation, new computer, or video game? Did something show up since Darwin when we weren't looking?
Why did I think this might be of interest, only to find out the interest appears to be huge?
There are as many psychological, analytical, mythological, esoteric, mystical, religious, and spiritual interests out there as there are stars, galaxies, and asteroids in our cosmos. We've had plenty of time throughout civilizations to come up with amazing concepts about all of this.
But, here we are in a new century with new cravings for understanding the physical human machine. DNA mapping and new information about how our brain (the driver of our machine) operates has become almost more fascinating than what we eat and where we live.
I am one of those people that can't get enough feedback about our brain. So, if I want to comment on something as gigantic as a three pound brain, maybe I should be prepared to defend myself.
There is plenty of revolutionary new science that supports the concept we came into existence wired for what reality we experience. The "tabula rasa," or blank page of a brain from birth doesn't get much of an audience anymore. Even atheists and theologians are thin on explanations based on conjecture, but not much science. Astrophysicists, Biocosmologists, and even NASA scientists are acknowledging our solar system is being blasted with accelerated energy from the Cosmos, which is affecting our brains as well.
In our new electronic age, our brain might also be described as an "operating system" with software we might choose to use. Version 1.1 may seem to work for some, but it doesn't seem to be operating that well right now for others. Software updates are available, but those of us who haven't downloaded them regularly are getting some interesting surprises in life.
Where and from what/whom would these updates be coming from? Who really knows, and why analyze it when we could just download some of those updates? Scientific instrumentation has proven we use all of our brain, not just a portion as previously assumed. Every part of our brain will light up when stimulated.
Consider the possibilities of this. If we stimulate parts of our brain by introducing new stimuli, what could we experience that we haven't yet? If this is possible, what is real or true to us now that might not be later after we stimulate the parts that are craving a little workout?
It Already Exists
Plenty of recognized authorities since the beginning of our existence believe information on everything already exists. Maybe everything is in our brain already. We are just "remembering" what we already "know," and many of us are realizing these "updates" are critical to our survival because they trigger our remembering and "aha" moments. All we need to do is be receptive to the signal to get the message. No different than using a cell phone to get a signal from a tower. Its like missing out on the lottery because you have caller ID block. You don't want to be bothered because you don't approve of the messenger before you hear the message.
Many have stated the gift of these times is total recall no matter what level of awareness we came in with. But now its fast-track time, and the Universe is accelerating. We may be getting overwhelmed by new information, and recent updates might be the tune-up our brain's hard drive needs right now.
We got comfortable knowing about the usual stuff - how much money in our bank account, names of our friends, status of our relationships, that trustworthy first-issue Mac, when to take out the garbage. But way down the list seems to be what we know about our brain. Part of knowing ourselves is also knowing our brain, how it evolved, and what it might be now and in the future.
So, what is a "new brain" and what is an "old brain"? The "animal" back brain (old) is our limbic system and reptilian complex (stimulated by a good portion of the video game craze). It maintained the survival of all kinds of species that apparently resulted in human species that walk upright and have a very large forehead to accommodate a very large frontal lobe.
The frontal lobe (new) blew onto the evolutionary stage in what may have been the "missing link" described by evolutionist Charles Darwin.
Bam. A newly minted "brilliant human species", very much over-domesticated and not all that good at survival.
When our "animal" back brain was overwhelmed by this whopping frontal lobe, it became the Gatekeeper, controlling messages from the back with our personal jury verdicts and anyone else we decided had more smarts than we did, which dumbed down our ability to survive.
Carl Sagan wrote about this in his book The Dragons of Eden, and so did R. D. Laing in The Politics of Experience. The film King of Hearts was a fascinating production about incarcerated humans with misunderstood brains who were freed after an earthquake shattered their prison. They had the opportunity to act on messages from the back part of their brain and transform an entire town and everyone in it with the front part. Because they were also gifted with the ability to actualize messages from the right and left hemispheres of their frontal lobe simultaneously, the world they created without a jury is still a utopian fantasy. Our best shot at this only lasts for a week out of each year in a hostile desert environment with no water far away from juries. The Burning Man Festival continues to thrive in the thousands who carry it all out there, build a utopian city, and leave without a trace in the dust.
The frontal lobe has a right and left hemisphere, each with different "operating systems." The left runs on logic and linear thinking software (do the math, balance your checkbook). The right runs on the perceptual and sensate present (Goodie! Sex! Cool art!), which is about as close to the back brain as we can get with our jury in place. Add the back brain to the frontal lobe with two hemispheres, and we have an operating system we are still discovering.
Dan Pink's bestseller A Whole New Mind gives us hope however. Unlike the linear processing of the left side, the right side is just what we need now to multi-dimensionally manage our new reality in our new century. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist, whose brain stroke took her on a journey of her own right and left brain operating systems, describes it as a "stroke of insight".
If you want a brain journey you won't forget, check out their videos on TED talks.
Many do not consider the brain some new evolutionary development, but a repository of information that has always been there since the Earth cooled off (or we were place here by others). Those lucid dreams some may be having could just be rememberings of past lives, or according to some like scientist Craig Venter, embedded in our DNA.
Many researchers think this accelerated cosmic energy is rewiring our brains, somewhat like a patching of frayed wires that carry bytes through a 'fat pipe" information highway, lost in translation when, like a clogged artery, the flow slows waaaay down.
The more we focus on remembering, the more we patch our wiring and open the main artery to our awareness of what we already know, as well as parts of the brain we aren't giving attention to.
It doesn't take science to notice young children seem to be getting smarter every minute one of them is born, but science is what it is taking to prove it. Evolution on steroids, one could call it.
This is one reason why the Head Start Program was invented decades ago before children started "elementary" schooling or what was called "kindergarten." IQ testing was thrown out. Aptitude testing was thrown in. Out. In. Out. In. We remain so confused about what our brain is we have lost most of our kids to video games, where they can use both sides of their front brain freely without our constant interruption on which side to use. And they are way ahead of us, unless we have been paying attention to our updates and downloading them so we can keep up with them and understand what they are trying to tell us.
The New Century
The technology revolution has created an out-of-control appetite for any electronic message. Our schedule is full of social networking like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Second Life, etc. And just as fast as they are invented, they go out of favor like restaurants.
Backlash. Now the "people movement" has a mysterious urge for human vs. virtual company. We now want more enduring, results oriented and meaningful experiences in life and with each other. And evolved human souls know this is where the route can take a sharp turn in favor of real-time social communities and networks in our favorite third dimension of the five senses and material stuff. Top-tier management in business with, as Dan Pink describes it "carrot and stick reward" has been proven to reduce productivity, not improve it. What delivers better results is self motivated, individual contribution to a mutually agreed upon goal. When this enhances the group experience, the creative and innovative pace surges.
The Multiple Dimensional Now
Do we have a choice or free will in what or how many awarenesses we choose to experience? I think we do, and science is improving on my opinion every 24 hours. Hang out in the third dimension or spend more time in the fourth, etc. where alternate realities can replace or keep company with the third. Or hang out in more than one. Similar to the movie "Back to the Future."
Got a headache yet? Analyze this: which is more complicated and time consuming for you? Your latest computer virus attack or your latest relationship? Your choice, since I do believe we have free will and free access to multiple dimensions (again, do your science homework). You think this sounds like a video game? You're close. Want to stitch together this and the last century seamlessly? Download updates and take you brain to the gym.
This split between a human brain reality and a virtual reality will become more polarized in the next few years, and by 2050 a new definition of "life" here on our little planet will be clearly and for some, harshly defined. The "Transhumanists" are already eager to transcend the density and appearance of their body, disease, brain limitations, dysfunctional relationships, and death, but they seem unclear what to do with the inconvenience of a human soul, it's "imperfections", and Dang! Those feelings we stuff constantly.
I think this dissonance among our five senses and how our brain synchronizes them is causing major chaos right now.
Sure, chaos has been here since The Big Bang, but us humans seem to be raising the bar on winning and losing battles started out of chaos here on Earth.
Ethics in the Future
I don't think this is about religion, politics, law, stem cell research, birth rights, gender rights, artificial intelligence rights (yeah, that exists too) -- and so on. It's about the struggle to comprehend the changes to our brain wiring that are occurring, and how to play nice with others that have different wiring.
Right now, computer language code writers who don't want consensus are battling with each other. Corporate wealth and market share is at stake. And within a year, android communication devices that use a universal code language that is on a free platform (think countries without borders, language, and currency differences) will grab that wealth.
The rest of Life As We Know It may follow in the same footprint.
I think this is how hungry we all are for ending chaos. We are worn out by insisting on our way of viewing and interpreting our world, choosing our friends, and running our countries.
As a favorite lecturer of mine commented "You think you're unhappy because your kids are dating a naturally conceived human that is a different color, religion, gender preference, etc.? Wait until they tell you they plan to marry a virtual or robotic Cyborg they created."
When she stated that, many in the audience audibly demonstrated their shock by gasping at even a tiny possibility of this. They thought the presenter had lost her brain.
We will all need athletic, flexible, adaptable, attentive, and maybe even soul-based brains. Soon.