Following on from my last blog, I now want to write a further word or two about the origins and subsequent evolvement of the array of coping resources that human beings now have at their disposal. Fortunately for all of us, the likelihood of realizing and bringing to fruition at least sufficient of the inherent potential of brain to make a difference, is much more predictable and dependable than the weather. Moreover – and unlike the weather – the brain lies within our range of influence and possibility for change and – as we shall see throughout this series of blogs – adaptation to different (and even new) experiences, is its forte. How then might we catch, even so much as a meaningful and enabling glimpse, of millions of years of natural but purposeful development, of an order that has brought us to this point in time of actual contact and communication with each other in our mutual search for a way forward. Often in my own past, I have found it beneficial to construct a simple, schematic overall picture or plan of whatever happens to be the focus of interest at any given time; how it came to be; what it portends for the future etc. and that is precisely what I propose to do here concerning the brain. For some reason, I tend rather to favour “pyramids” for the task which I have in mind, wherever of course, they can be made relevant and shown to be appropriate as, I would suggest, is the case here.
Now a first requirement as we mentally ‘view’ our pyramid, is to slice it horizontally, so to speak, into four slices or divisions, the purpose for which will unfold as you read this letter (bearing in mind as we do that any such proposed division and separation is purely in pursuit of our schema and is as far removed from reality and actuality as it could possibly be). Logically enough, we will deal first with the bottom slice, since this forms the base or foundation of the entire structure, sometimes referred to as the reptilian and thus most primitive brain. Herein then are ‘housed’ command centres governing the earliest and most basic needs of existence and survival: for example, breathing, circulation of blood, body temperature, waking and sleeping, together with the acquisition, distribution and metabolism of essential nutrients, as well as what are sometimes referred to as primary drives, for example, hunger, thirst, and sexual activity in procreation.
The brain evolved and developed all of the above, handling them with an efficiency born of millions of years of trial, error, further experiment and ever-increasing achievement. They combine to make up the pyramid’s broad foundation and since the colour green signifies growth and progression, we might as well – at least in our imagination – colour it green. This period of development lasted some 200 million years. There is more of course, that we shall need to add and this we shall do as we continue through the next couple of blogs. However, perhaps you will just bear with me whilst we get our schema or model ‘up and running’. (Cont’d in next blog). (C)SB..