31 Days – You Are a Siamese Twin

The title is an understatement. You are more like a Siamese triplet — or more.

Before I get to that, have you ever wondered how Siamese twins manage? I recently saw a video of a pair of twins who shared almost everything except their heads. I wondered how they could walk so smoothly with two brains controlling their single set of legs. And how did they decide where to go?

People like you and me are in the same situation, except our potentially conflicting voices are within one head, not two.

Roz Chast - Voice of Reason

Those voices come from distinct areas of the brain. The frontal lobes engage in rational thought. Emotional responses come from the more primitive limbic system. Each region might be telling you to do something different. It’s a miracle that we remain sane, isn’t it?

If that’s not amazing enough, research has shown that humans’ unique intelligence derives from the sophisticated wiring between brain areas, not just larger brains. We have embraced and exploited the cacophony, and are better for it. It reminds me of  democracy — another of this month’s wonders.

P.S. – I wrote this post yesterday morning, but the voice in my head that said I should proofread it at night overrode the voice that said I should post it right away because I might not get to it at night. The warning voice was right. :\

4 responses to “31 Days – You Are a Siamese Twin

  1. “Emotional responses come from the more primitive . . .,” haha! I know it’s what some research suggests, but that conclusion is messed up in so many ways.

    • Messed up in what ways?

      What I meant was that our emotional (non-reasoned) responses are centered in those parts of the brain that are more dominant in our evolutionary forbears (e.g, the common ancestor we share with reptiles). I thought that was well-established science, but am I wrong? Or maybe you’re a creationist and you object to the idea of humans having evolved at all?

      I’ve always learned something worthwhile from your comments, Joshua. I invite you to say more on this subject if you wish.

  2. I’m not referring to the science but the statement itself. The first thing it made me thing of it the movie “Equilibrium” where society must take a pill to suppress all emotions. The reason this is messed up is because it will be interpreted in our progressive society that emotions are primitive. (I’m not saying you or those who have done the research hold this point of view.) This, in turn, will lead to moving society away from the emotional aspect of our human makeup as a necessary part of a next step in our evolution. As this happens, people will become more submissive to a higher human authority such as the state or a corporation. The end result will be a society that operation purely on logic like a computer. Like a computer, it will be programmed logic. Granted, what I previously described is an extreme, but the potential is there in this small seed of a statement. It struck a bell with me because it identified a push in that direction that I have been noticing in our society .

  3. As a separate, related thought, some research suggests emotions stem from the brain in our stomach, as the research describes it. (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gut-second-brain, can’t find the original article I read on it). This would identify with ancient Hebrew thought where the stomach area is the emotional part of a person is.

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