Three Brains and Two Minds
The Chemistry of the Mind & The Brain
We are said to have three brains and two minds. The human brain has three parts; the old brain (Brain Stem – Medulla & Pons), the midbrain (limbic system) and the new brain (Cerebral Cortex). The old brain is located in the back of our skull, or I must say at the brain stem, where the spinal cord meets the base of our brain. It is responsible for our very basic survival functions. This is the part of the brain that directs our breathing, heartbeat, motions, reflexes and food/digesting. In other words, it tells us when there is danger in the atmosphere. This is that quick moment when you can tell that your life is in danger so that you can avoid.
Next, it helps control the movement of our body. It tells us how to raise our hands, how to put one foot in front of the other to walk. Another core function of the old brain is food! Yes, food! It tells us to eat. That’s the part of your brain that reacts when your stomach is empty and it’s time to eat. Lastly, it is responsible for our sexual desire. Sexual desire is indeed an important part of our survival skills because most living mechanism has to mate in order to reproduce. This is why a man finds a woman “sexy/attractive” or vise versa. So anything that you do subconsciously; such as seeing, hearing, smelling, touching is being done by the old brain. This means that everything that we don’t have to really think about to do is being done by the old brain.
The midbrain, as stated, is located in the middle/center of our skulls before the cerebral cortex. The main purpose of that part of the brain is for our feelings and emotions. For instance, when you are feeling sad or happy, this is your midbrain working. How does it function then? Well, what it does is; it examines your surrounding and report back to your old brain so that it can tell your body what to do.
For instance, if you’re at a comedy show and the comedian pull out a gun (you don’t know if part of the props) your midbrain start to analyze the situation to tell you whether to put your body in motion or to sit back and laugh about it. It tells you how to reach to certain situation. In a way, this is where your context clues are processed, and most of your memories are stored. Beside sadness and happiness, it is responsible for our anger, aggressiveness and anxiety. Although this part of our brains controls emotions and reactions, it does not control rationalism. This is a task for the next part of the brain.
The new brain, A.K.A the Cerebral Cortex, is of course located at the front of our brain. To be more exact, it is located at the top of mid & old brain or right under the top of our skull. Its main purpose is for our rational thought process. When we do something deliberately or on purpose, it is being process through our new brain. What this mean is that everything that we do consciously is because of our new brain. This part of our brain is the reason why we can evolve and create new things.
In a sense, it is responsible for how intellectual or intelligent we are. The new brain has a slower processing time than the midbrain and the old brain. This is the reason why in dangerous situation, our midbrain and mainly our old brain take over. But when it comes to decision making or when you are thinking about something, it takes place in our new brain.
I first stated that we have three brains and two minds. We have talked about the brain. Now to switch gears, let’s talk about our two minds! In reference to mind, this is more related to the psychological functions of our brain. This is consists of the rational (conscious) mind and the emotional (subconscious) mind. In the rational mind, this is what we use for most of our critical thinking. This is how we able to invent things or be logical. One thing that must be pointed about the rational mind is the fact that it also links back to how we feel. For instance, when you’re hungry, you can’t seem to be able to focus or use your rational thought because it’s like your old brain counteracting with the new brain.
So in other words, the effectiveness of your rational mind is a way based on your emotional state of mind. Speaking of emotional mind, it operates faster than the rational mind. That explains why we get emotional right away in a situation. This is where we have perceptual biases. This is the home of our imagination, the way we perceive things. In reference to the brain, it will be located amongst the old and midbrain contrary to rational mind that operates in the new brain.
This is why in our emotional mind, that’s where we have desires. Although we don’t necessarily have a third mind, sometimes we use both of our mindsets. This is where rational meets emotional. You know when some people can make a rational decision in an intense emotional moment; you call those types of people wise. What they are actually doing is, they are weight both mindsets and choosing the correct reaction to the situation. So remember, we have three brains And two Minds!
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