12.08.2015

Are You Mental?

Sometimes people say and do weird things and I want to ask them, "Are you mental?" It's probably not PC nowadays, but Wayne Campbell said it in Wayne's World, so I think it's valid pop culture vernacular.

Human behavior can be explained pretty easily. There are two brains at work in people. The thinking brain and the emotional brain. The thinking brain gives people higher reasoning and analytical powers. The emotional brain gives people feelings. Biologically, the thinking brain is the neocortex, the curvy folding surface layer of the brain. Everything people think of as intellect happens there. The emotional brain is composed of the lower levels of the brain and brainstem. Some call it the "reptilian brain" because it is evolutionarily quite old and makes up most of the brain of reptiles.

Thinking is great and people should do it as much as they can. But there's a problem. Evolutionarily, the thinking brain hasn't been around that long compared with the emotional brain. As such, the emotional brain is much more potent than the thinking brain and it can sometimes overwhelm and short circuit the thinking brain, especially when the two are at odds.

Here is where it gets interesting. The emotional brain can sometimes hinder the thinking brain but it can also augment the thinking brain.

This is highly correlated with good and bad emotions. Good emotions like love and happiness foster thinking. Bad emotions like hate and fear hinder it.

When you have a creative hobby that you love and that gives you joy, you think positively and rationally about it, and this allows you to succeed at it and think of ways to be more creative.

If you are angry or fearful or sad, this tends to create negative thinking that is self destructive and not creative. Negative emotions make thinking difficult. For example, bigoted people who hate or fear minorities are immune to acquiring knowledge and information that could educate them about reality. They will avoid or ignore information and are unable to engage in objective analytical thinking.

In conclusion, think more and have positive emotions. Your life will be a lot better if you do this and avoid negative emotions. It's generally a good idea to avoid emotionally negative people too - haters, insecure people, whiners, passive aggressive people, easily butt hurt people - because they will suck your life force out lickety split.

I am lucky to be a fairly positive person, largely free from negative emotions, and to be in a relationship with a smart and positive woman who also uses her brain a lot and keeps me honest.

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