Why Discussion of the Brain?


"Why Discussion of the Brain?"

By Jeremiah Cameron, Ph.D. (August 25, 2001)

Why all these articles on the brain? Tell me, how does one intelligently consider any aspect of human behavior—thinking, planning, learning, behaving nobly or ignobly, warring, concertizing—without understanding the forces that cause or energize those forms of behavior: Those forces come from the brain—more specifically from nerve cells and billions upon billions of interconnections within organs and association areas within the brain.

If people are acting with charity, it is because there are cellular structures, some of them identifiable, for that kind of behavior. If men excel over women in mathematical and spatial perception, it is because the structures in the right side of their brains are somewhat different from those in women's brains. And different sex hormones bathe them daily. When you consider the keen spatial perceptions that a quarterback must have, you can understand that men will always be, right-brain wise, the better football players—and not just because of strength.

Everybody knows that women seem to talk more than men: It is the left side of the brain, where the female nerve hookups differ from those of men, that controls grammatical relationships, fluency of speech, and articulateness. Every schoolboy knows that girls do better in English and bookish things that require language manipulation than they do. In spite of the fact that men have dominated writing —as poets, dramatists, novelists, etc.—it is women who purchase most printed materials—like magazines, tabloids, fiction (especially romantic) and poetry.

Consider the evolution of the brain functions, as you consider the evolution of man (Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Homo sapiens, and Homo sapien sapiens): Consider men as hunters: When you hunt animals you talk as little as possible, but you keep in contact with other men hunting by imitating animal cries: Notice that little boys still try to moo like cows, or grunt like hogs, and bow-wow like dogs. And girls seldom or never do this.

Consider women as gatherers of plants and nuts for what I heard a minister call the "divine diet." Women would have to be out gathering together—as the men had to cooperate to hunt and bring down behemoths or tigers. And they would have to carry their young into the fields, whom they would have to locate from time to time by calling out their names. And women would have to locate each other by talking all the time! This they did years ago—and they have never stopped talking! And all those years brain cells for language were developing and evolving in the human brain.

It is pure ignorance of how specific structures of the brain influence what we do—and often without deliberation or control—that would cause a writer like Kathleen Parker to say that she is "disinclined to empathize with fully-grown adults who act badly on account of a lousy childhood." My dear Kathleen, you may be unempathetic because of a lousy childhood. What does Kathleen's brain know about the brains of others?

The Jeremiah Cameron Articles