I’m going to pause the discussion here, only examining two of the three primal mechanisms. With my next entry, we will talk about humans and how we represent a possibility unimagined in other primates.
When we compared chimpanzees to bonobos, we saw a dramatic shift in consciousness. One of the most recognized indicators of the change has to do with the language centers. Bonobos have far greater vocabularies and communication skills when compared to chimpanzees. However, as evolved as a bonobo is, a human three-year-old can comprehend complexities far beyond the bonobo and understand three times the amount of words. One might say the human three-year-old is to bonobos what bonobos are to chimpanzees.
Adult humans are beyond compare. We have separate speech processing centers that give us complex, rational thinking and a higher level of awareness. For example, we can process complex facial expressions that other primates might misinterpret. Beyond language and the ability to follow social cues, we have superior intelligence across the board.
Like other primates, we begin with a memorizing mind and have relied on social interaction with the same fervor. However, as we evolve, humans are counting less on the absorption of information for survival and more on storing information to use as a resource. This transition is far more complex than it seems.
This complexity is something we will explore in detail. To begin, let’s return to the idea of parental guidance as an example of absorption. Children learn not by listening to directions but by observation. Memorization becomes an essential component when we are observing ways to survive. Historically, it was critical, and I hope well covered in previous entries. What I want to discuss now is the difference between memorizing rules and building resources.
As children follow their parents, everything becomes rules for survival. Those rules aren’t a single thought or a word. They are a compilation of ideas that join together to become a confirmation bias of the mind, a rule so readily followed, we don’t notice that we are following it. Colored lights combined with cold weather become Christmas, or the sound of lapping waves and warm sand under our feet a vacation, a time to relax. Subconscious prompts become absolute truth more than a suggestion. The clusters of information formed in our subconscious mind feel like individual thoughts, but they aren’t. They are clusters of information our brain uses to assume the next outcome.
If a tiger is chasing us, there is an advantage to compiling data. The low growl of an animal near deep grass sends a faster message than processing the information one sensation at a time. It’s like the complex sentence structure of a human vs. a bonobo. Our mind is thinking in sentences or paragraphs or whole books, rather than thinking in single words. In addition to the clusters of information, primal mechanisms shut down the bounce back and forth between the subconscious mechanisms and conscious consideration. It’s better to react than to interact.
These two factors, the clusters, and the confirmation bias, are where primal mechanisms are most limiting. While the combination can be very efficient in a predictable world, they become a stumbling block in a continually changing world. In a world crowded with nearly eight billion people, it is far more efficient to be flexible. It is of far more significant advantage to use individual pieces of what we might call memory data as resources than relying on the cluster. Let’s return to Christmas as an example. For some people, if you take away either the lights or the snow, they say, “It’s just not Christmas.” Something is lacking for them; some of the magic is missing.
I use this as a limited example but hope the idea translates. Imagine if you could separate your memories, the words from the visual cues, or the temperature from the humidity. Imagine each piece of a memory stood alone and that you could suddenly rearrange them into new and interesting patterns. As a species, we see the most evolved humans representing something beyond fear response and beyond the confirmation bias that goes with it. There are people who can take apart the jigsaw puzzle of the world around us and rearrange it into an entirely new picture. In the same way, one might reorganize a cold winter day to a casual walk on the beach.
How do they do it? They move beyond everything their primal brain tells them is possible, and they restructure the way they use their subconscious system to make it a resource rather than a rule. While Amber’s splits fight to force the world to comply with their rules, our subject stands as an example of this function. She makes no assumptions and has no idea of her next step until she takes it. Her willingness to abandon form gives her freedom and safety beyond anything her subjects can imagine.
This is intuition. Pay attention to your life. Wherever there is a rule, you might be missing an opportunity.