Lizards can learn their space and they learn to manipulate through it and wander through that space. With us, because of the abstracting potential of the third brain, we project into the future with the neo-cortex in a way in which mammalian life and dinosaurs could not, cannot. And this again is a real double edged sword. We have this highest form of abstraction at our immediate use so we can use all powers of abstraction plus seeing into the emotional nature, seeing the past, and then applying that to the physical world. That has to be matched with image.
In addition to the concept of image or resident representation being a very useful way we also can see, which is characteristic but not absolute, the first brain, the sensory motor brain, its primary focus is on staying alive now. So we could say in a sense temporally that the first brain has a very dominant qualification around the present moment. In terms of learning, it doesn’t have much of a memory. It has some memory. Lizards can learn their space and they learn to manipulate through it and wander through that space. They learn to plan actually, to plan ambushes to get food and so forth. So, it is not an ignorant brain. It is very intelligent within its own arena but its dominance is in what I choose to call the instinctive triad, the triad of staying alive today, getting food and then reproducing into the future. And that where it’s, all is essentially now and the future is totally automatized, in other words reproduction at this level in one brain creatures is something that is cyclic, it is totally bio-chemically determined, influences of the outside world and so forth, conditioning when it’s going to take place and so forth. So its future is not a future in the sense that it can be abstracted or seen into.
With the coming of mammalian life forms and the growth of the limbic brain, the second brain, now we see a tale, perhaps metaphorically, more than metaphorically for the tales that appear in a mammalian species because they develop a very, very long memory. There are all kinds of delightful stories about elephants never forgetting and so on and so on, but, what this emphasizes is the role that memory plays into the past and how essential and important that is in what the limbic brain is concerned with, which is essentially the images that have to do with self and other, within the family units, Paul D. MacLean’s family triad, and so forth. All the elaborations of that require and are greatly enhanced by memory. In a sense it also is a trap because it means that responses to the present moment leaning toward the future are going to be qualified or conditioned almost totally by the past, how it has happened before. So new experiences, frighteningly new experiences that we can point to by the thousands in our world of modern man entering with weapons of destruction and so forth and so on, into the world of mammalian species just produces pandemonium because they have no history with it. However, they do learn. In other words, they have memory of these frightening experiences if you carry that into their near future and then their response is often fear or flight or aggression and nothing between. But that is not the life of the second brain. The second brain is the heart of nurture and the family and of relationship. So, we have to step back and see that in its natural environment to really understand what role time plays in the mammalian or limbic creatures.
With us because of the abstracting potential of the third brain we project into the future with the neo-cortex in a way in which mammalian life and dinosaurs could not, cannot. And this again is a real double edged sword. We can construct images, concepts of a future that we wish for but then it depends on what we wish for. Then we have this highest form of abstraction at our immediate use so we can use all powers of abstraction plus seeing into the emotional nature, seeing the past, and then applying that to the physical world, through the world of objects and forms so we become a formidable force because of that ability largely to see into the future, to forecast into it. That has to be matched with image.