Our Dual Minds in a Nutshell

Most of us are unaware that neuroscience has learned that our minds are totally physical, operated by circuitry in our brains that perform on a digital binary system. Most of us are also unaware that as our brains evolved during the millions of years we lived in caves, our rational intelligence in the form of our cerebral cortex simply grew over our old primitive brain. There was no redesign of the system, as we would reconfigure an innovative toaster. No, that old brain which served us so well living in tribes still operates today below the radar, primarily in our limbic system where it is part of our subconscious mind.

Freud called this side of our minds the "id." His study of the id is gaining more respect today as neuroscientists associate it with the brain's limbic system, which Freud described as having no sense of time, awareness or logic. In the book Battling the Inner Dummy, we described a woman who was in an elevator accident at the age of 12, and refused thereafter to ride in one. Today, at the age of 60, she still won't ride in an elevator, only visiting doctors or dentists whose offices are less than two stories up. John Madden, the television football commentator who espouses toughness, felt claustrophobic at an early age while flying. Over the years this developed into a fear of flying to the point where he wouldn't fly at all, despite the travel demands of his job. He bought a bus and would sometimes travel coast to coast in a week to cover Sunday football games. In 2008, in his seventies, he finally retired, still suffering from the phobia. Piercing this inner system with common, good sense is extremely difficult, which is why we have thousands of therapists and psychotropic drugs, which help about 60% of the people who need help.

And so in a nutshell, much of the irrationality we experience today emanates from the instincts and programs of our limbic minds. We have all felt its frequently irrational urges, which in modern humans are supposed to be controlled by our frontal cortex, the most recent structure to grow in our brains.

As a result, much of our irrationality comes from either the overpowering urges of this instinctive mind, in particular our status, territorial, security, sexual and attachment programs which we continue to share with other higher animals. If we act out this irrationality, it is usually because the programs are so overpowering, or because of weaknesses in our frontal cortex.

This conundrum of the Dual Mind gives us something to blame for much of the torment that happens in our lives and on Earth in general. Unfortunately, we're not doing very much about solving the dilemmas of this most basic of all our problems.