The Filter of Reason

Human society is nothing but an artificial construct imposed on us humble apes by our fellow inmates. Being a good human has a lot less to do with how dedicated I am at work than how dedicated I am to myself. It sounds Narcissistic, but it isn’t. I’ve always wondered at the Zen masters’ assertion that we should look at the world like a blank mirror. Being a good human isn’t about shuffling papers or fixing computers. It’s more about using the best part of our brains. The Cortex is the crowning achievement of Evolution. Or God gave it to us, if that’s easier to swallow. It allows us to perceive the world through the filter of reason.

We have all the brain parts going back to the beginning. We breathe through the same mental mechanism as a dog or a cat. What’s different with us is that we’re capable of “higher reason”. We don’t use it too much. Maybe we will when we evolve the super cortex. Stands to reason that, left unchecked, we would eventually evolve something beyond the pre-frontal cortex. Or God will give it to us in a ROM upgrade, if that’s easier to swallow.
Most people I meet don’t look at the world through their Cortex. I see it the most when I’m driving. I’m sure you’ve experienced it, too.

You’re turning onto a street, and there’s a car far away, coming towards you. You start you’re turn, and the other driver stands on the gas and the horn at the same time. I’ve seen the same response from a fish eyeing a lure. Once the lure starts to move, an aggressive response is triggered in the fish. It lunges towards the target, sometimes involuntarily. It’s wired into the fish’s brain to strike targets that act a certain way.

You’re speeding down a road. Somehow, the person behind you still wants to go faster. Tailgating is a strange phenomenon. It doesn’t matter how fast you go, they will still tailgate. It’s not about speed; it’s about the tailgater’s aggression.

If you asked each person in a calm moment, they would certainly say that tailgating and aggressive driving are dangerous. They still do it, though. I contend that they’re being lazy when they drive… not using the advanced part of their brain. The “old” brain, the part we share with other animals, reacts aggressively to most situations. That’s how a fish or a dog gets fed. I get fed by the supermarket. No reason to practice hunting on some unsuspecting motorist.
What part of your brain do you use the most?

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