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2 minutes reading

Your brain is helping you to survive

Your brain is helping you to survive Your brain is helping you to survive
Source: lifesafjoke via Tumblr
You're a Miracle (and a Pain in the Ass)
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You're a Miracle (and a Pain in the Ass)
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The part of your brain that anticipates the future needs to be able to motivate you to action. It does that by forming a network with your amygdala and coordinating to produce a feeling more sus-tainable than fear. We don't enjoy anxiety. We don't like it. But we're not supposed to like it. Anxiety is the brain's way of trying to make you do something about the stress-ors in your environment. 

Your brain has hundreds of documented networks like this. If you believe in God, you've got a "God network," and the structures involved affect both your theology and your experiences with religion. You've got networks for dealing with surprises, for mapping out social networks, and for creating complex emotions. The dissonance between these networks creates the inner conflicts we experience every day. One network derives pleasure from the bright lights and creative story-telling available on Netflix, while another network under-stands tomorrow will be a rough day if we don't go to sleep soon. One network generates pleasure when we bite into a truffle-flavored potato chip, even as another net-work says our stomach is full, and a third forecasts what number the scale will display when we step on it tomor-row. Meanwhile, another network tasked with understanding social rank processes that weight forecast and fears you could suffer socially if you gain weight.

You are a miracle because 86 billion neurons in your brain form into thousands of structures and networks, built from a map created over billions of years to under-stand the world you live in. But sometimes, you are a pain in your ass because all these networks are running a play-book that's been around a lot longer than you have. The cells in your body have survived through the eons by eat-ing every delicious calorie they come across, allowing fear to make them run, and using anger to make them fight for their lives. 

Your brain isn’t here to show you an honest picture of the world, or to make you happy. It’s not here to make rational decisions, or to help you advance up the corporate ladder. Your body spent the energy it takes to build something as powerful as your brain for one reason and one reason only: Your brain helps you survive on a planet that is often hostile to life.

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