Programming the Brain
Continuing a discussion in answer to my friend’s critique: Your idea of de-institutionalizing human life makes sense, but isn’t it simplistic?
To understand the real complexity of Nature, just imagine having to program what our brains know. You obviously can’t program a brain. It would have to be a robot! But that’s what laws are trying to do. Laws are trying to replace what our brains know about species survival, when laws don’t even recognize that species survival is life’s objective. You can make a law against murder. Sounds simple. But, then, you have to write a thousand amendments to that law, to specify what constitutes murder and doesn’t. And you will never come up with an answer all can agree on. If you are not free to react in a normal way to what’s going on around you—even if that means killing, or sacrificing your own life for others—then, you’re not participating in anything. Nothing is going on that has anything to do with our species’ survival.
What happens naturally is this—and, yes, it IS exceedingly complex: Put us in any situation, and our brain is evaluating that situation from hundreds of different perspectives. All of this happens without conscious awareness. For instance, the brain is constantly evaluating the temperature, checking whether we are cold or warm. If the temperature is okay, we don’t know the brain is evaluating it, because it doesn’t produce any feeling that tells us about it. There are always countless things going on that the brain is evaluating, but we’re unaware of it, because 99% of it is okay. The brain knows you don’t have to do anything about it, so it expresses no feelings. Only when we do have a feeling, such as hunger or anger, acceptance, rejection, romance, etc., does the brain tell us to act on it. And that act is automatic: It requires no rational thought whatever, for us to register the fact that we are in danger of freezing to death in the cold. Modern minds will differ, because we are so invested in the belief that our rational minds are in control. But, in truth, the rational part of our mind that we are so certain is in control is too finite to take care of the endless details of living that our subconscious mind constantly monitors, on background, and to which it reacts, by producing feelings that inspire the appropriate response, as needed.
One of the crucial things to understand about life is that our brains have been programmed, by evolution, to manage the unimaginable complexity of life, for the sake of the only objective of life, which is species survival. Humanity doesn’t seem to recognize any of this—either that the brain has a built-in program, or that species survival is the objective, or how complex, how unimaginable, that process is. But it is because the functions of natural life are so very complex that our subconscious minds must continually evaluate our circumstances, always looking for an answer to the question, “How can I best serve life?” Indeed, the reason our brain continually evaluates the temperature is that we can’t participate in our species’ success, if our brain allows us to freeze to death. If we modern humans can see and understand all that, we can also see how absurd it is to create laws to govern our behavior, and then to say that our survival is dependent, not on our Nature-given program, but on obeying manmade laws. And now we understand why the brain is comprised of almost 100 billion neurons.
We have this admittedly complex system of laws, all based on protecting human rights, an issue that is unrelated to, and outright defies, our species’ natural ability to succeed.
Life is a gift. It comes with needs, not rights. So, the issue over which those legislators despise one another, doesn’t even exist in the natural world. In Nature, there are no rights, no giraffes claiming the exclusive rights to massive tracts of land, no baby elephants born with silver spoons in their mouths.
In Nature, nothing is guaranteed. In institutional life, we fool ourselves by believing anything can be guaranteed. The truth is that life is a series of snapshots. Moments. We never know when we will reach the final one, and we are not here to know that. We are here to experience each moment fully. When living in the moment, all we need is the moment. And if we are not free to live in the moment, then the only place where we can possibly satisfy our feelings is in the future. The future, then, becomes the only thing that is important to us. This explains our congressmen’s sincere, but misguided, struggle over an issue that, in reality, doesn’t exist—human rights.
About complexity, a question needs to be asked. Are the few thousand words of a constitution sufficient to order and organize all areas of human life, among millions of people? Does the mere fact of birth into a royal family qualify a person for absolute hegemony over a people? To answer, imagine a “scale of justice,” if you will. On one side are the few thousand words that are the foundation for all the laws of a land, or the brain of the firstborn of a deceased king. On the other side are the brains of every inhabitant in the land. To me, trusting this remarkably complex process to mere written words, or to the brain of a firstborn son, is what’s simplistic. But that is the mindless simplicity to which all humans have innocently, but willfully, subjugated ourselves, for thousands of years.
An excerpt from “The Test for Happiness” Part Four of: Take Us Home, Girls!
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