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The Tri-une brain proposed by MacLean (1990)
(Similar symbolic representation)
1. Reptilian Brain (Routines/non-verbal social communication
2. 'Limbic mind' (Experience of emotion/sense of what is true or important)
3. Neomamalian (Neocortex, visual, auditory and somatic systems directed towards outside world

The three 'different brains' linked facilitate problem solving, learning, memory and allow us to translate feelings into ideas. Return ST

The Tri-une brain

Alternative states of consciousness are described as being the product of three 'different brains'. MacLean (1990) suggests that the human brain evolved through three distinct stages. The earliest brain, the reptilian, is associated with routines in behaviour and non-verbal social communication. The second, the limbic system, is involved in the experience and expression of emotion, possibly amplifying or lowering the intensity of feelings. The system is described as having the capacity to generate a sense of what is true or important. The major part of the brain, the neocortex, along with the visual, auditory and somatic systems appears to be directed towards the external world. Together, these three linked brains facilitate problem solving, learning, memory and allow us to translate feelings into ideas. Return ST

However, MacLean identifies a 'problem' with the function of these three brains. The 'limbic mind' that allows us to have a belief in something, to have the conviction that something is real or true, lacks the ability to reason out or logically analyze our ideas and actions. For crossing a road this is not a problem, in the end you have to have the conviction that it is safe to cross, otherwise you wouldn't move. But to rely upon conviction when starting a business or investing your savings is perhaps not so wise.


The dot.com "bubble"

Consider the 'dot.com revolution' which saw the dramatic rise and fall of virtual companies and their share values. With hindsight it is difficult to understand how prices could just rise and rise without any sense. What motivated investors was the belief and conviction, without reason, that the share price would continue to rise. If we accept the principle that the 'conscious arena' can only attend to the 'emotional mind' or the 'reasoning mind' alternately then perhaps we can understand the dot.com bubble and the dramatic shift to common sense and reality when it burst.

The sub-prime mortgage crisis 2008

I wrote the "dot.com bubble" paragraph above in March 2003. Astonishingly, now in 2008, exactly the same conviction and belief has led to the virtual collapse of the global financial system.

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