Dr. Branko Bokun's new book suggests a new approach to the origin of the mind, the origin of ridicule and the origin of a sense of humour.
The Social Invention:
Many scientists agree that we are a neotenous species implying that we retain infantile or immature characteristics in adulthood. Significant proof of this can be found in our pretensions and aspirations, in our excesses and our obsession with innovations, and in our constant state of arousal.
Man's neoteny is a frustrating and irritating state of existence. Since irritation is the main source of growth, the irritation caused by man's neoteny resulted in the exceptional growth of man's new cortex, particularly that of the pre-frontal lobe.
This exceptional growth of the pre-frontal cortex would have placed this part of the brain, where a great deal of mental activity takes place, in a state of uncertainty. In its uncertainty, man's pre-frontal cortex became more autonomous in its activity and more disassociated from the rest of the brain and the body. In fact the more uncertain or confused our pre-frontal cortex is, the more independently and incoherently it acts.
More importantly, the autonomy of the pre-frontal cortex can suppress the activities of the limbic system, emotions and memory, isolating us from reality.
Thus uncertainty of the pre-frontal cortex influences its perception of reality making it often limited, sluggish, flawed, and certainly selective. In fact our pre-frontal cortex' perception consists mainly of beliefs and opinions which vary from individual to individual, and often with the same individual in time and space.
It would seem that the autonomous activity of the pre-frontal cortex, in its state of uncertainty and anxiety, caused an aberration, the Mind with its world of imagination, fantasies, illusions, self deceits, opinions and beliefs, which is reinforced and sustained by the infantile or juvenile playfulness inherent in the neotenous state of man's existence.
The pre-frontal cortex's uncertainty generates doubt, which in turn triggers the activities of the Mind such as cogitation, exploration, speculation, enquiry, guessing or gambling and inspires its exceptional selfishness, self-centredness, self-obsession and aggressiveness.
If our pre-frontal cortex was more synchronised with the rest of our brain and body, allowing us to react without hesitation to internal or external events, we might never have developed our Mind nor become consciously aware.
Woman, being more mature than man, with her pre-frontal cortex better integrated with the rest of her brain and her body and with a larger and more developed corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres of the brain in a more harmonious coexistence, is more positive and more pragmatic in her attitudes to life.
With the advent of the Mind we became silly. We are proud to be the only species able to laugh, but we seldom realise that we are also the only laughable species. In fact, in deriding the Mind's absurdities, a sense of humour can be the best remedy against its follies and the resulting mental disorders.
This book can be downloaded free from Dr Branko Bokun's website VitaBooks.com