Brain, Meet Your Brain
We know we have a brain and we know what it does…it thinks. But it’s not quite that simple. The human brain has three parts, two of which are non-verbal, meaning thoughts cannot be formed there. But all three play key roles in how we experience the world.
• The reptilian brain is the oldest part from an evolutionary perspective, which makes sense since it’s charged with ensuring the survival of the species. This part of our brain scans for danger, and if it thinks it sees some, it sounds the alarm—generally by seizing control of our body, as in the famous “fight or flight” response.
• The mammalian brain is something we share with most other mammals. This part of our brain drives us to seek safety and security by joining the herd, so to speak. In modern, human terms, it drives us to form social bonds and to seek the approval of others.
• Finally, we have the primate brain. This is where language lives, and where, therefore, we create thoughts, ideas and narratives in our mind. It’s responsible for all great inventions. But it can also invent what feels like a real experience out of something illusory. It is responsible, in short, for our subjective interpretation of our lives.