Article Index

  • Our human brain is a contiguous mass of masses so it is difficult to exactly delineate one specialized segment from another; the boundaries are not always sharp.  One classification identifies seven segments labeled the medulla, pituitary, pineal body, pons, cerebellum, thalamus, and cerebral cortex.  There are other classifications that may be related to function as well as anatomy.  The seventh segment, the cortex, is the one that distinguishes us the most from other life.  For simplicity, let’s label the six earlier segmented masses of cells the animal brain.  The “human brain” includes the animal brain plus the cerebral cortex.  The influence of the older segments remains dominant until balance favors the newest segments.  Remember, the perspectives of the older segments persist; they remain eager to prevail. 
  •   We have labeled humankind Homo sapiens sapiens – the species that not only knows, but knows that it knows.  Scientists estimate the earliest life to qualify as humans emerged about 150,000 years ago.  They also tell us that our human brain increases in complexity and size more rapidly than any other organ.  The huge dinosaurs which became extinct about 650 million years ago had a huge muscle mass but very small brains relative to the size of their other organs.  It appears we are the growing edge of the creative force that has gotten us this far, and we are continuing to progress to even greater sophistication.
  •   No other species can use symbols to influence themselves and everything about them as we do.  Circa 50,000 ago, our intelligent cortex invented sophisticated symbols to add a private mental reality to co-exist with our commonly shared physical reality.  Thus, we simultaneously dwell in two worlds: (1) the common physical environment we share and (2) our personal mental universe. By assigning meaning to symbols, we empower them to act as signals to turn on energy.  For example, a religious symbol – a Christian cross, or a word – “fire,” may turn on energy by triggering a physical signal such as a nerve impulse or release of a chemical.  Some symbols turn on more energy than others.  By creating a glossary of symbols, we increase the power of our cerebral cortex.  We continue to invent new symbols as we grow knowledge.  A basic glossary is provided in stren #100.
  • As our human brain manipulates symbols to create new combinations, we imagine new alternatives.  We discover nature’s secrets – knowledge of cause-and-effect.  We store the knowledge we discover, share it with others, and pass it forward from generation to generation.  It is said that we stand on the shoulders of the giants who preceded us and learn from the easy availability of their wisdoms. 
  • We extend our personal store of knowledge through a data system of libraries and instant communication technology.  Information is the basis of “knowing.”  Knowledge of cause-and-effect is our source of immense power.  Increasingly, we make ourselves godlike creators and destroyers.  We create words and symbols that identify events and ideas, record our history, promote current events throughout the world, and predict the future with more or less accuracy.  Other earth creatures “know” their environment primarily through their immediate experience; their level of consciousness and use of language is limited.
  •  Our mental experience has “perspective.”  We may travel through time to dwell on the past, present, and future.  We may revisit and “freeze” time.  For example, “resentment” is a repetitive dwelling on a past experience while “optimism” is a sustained anticipation of a future experience.  We not only travel back and forth in this life but we create elaborate assumptions about an afterlife.  Such assumptions profoundly influence our life’s experience.