The Triune Brain Revisited

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The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:37 pm

According to Paul MacLean the human brain has evolved in three stages. The first is the reptilian complex or the brain base. Over that emerged the paleo mammalian complex or the limbic system. Above that has developed the neomammalian complex or cerebral neocortex. All three brains remain as a trinity in one brain. All three continue to express themselves in our thoughts and actions. Consequently ideas such as seeing God as a trinity are natural if we see what we are. This is the reason the Genesis story of Adam, Eve and Serpent remains with us in the 21st century. The story is told through our own Eden consciousness with the three voices of our triune brain--the neomammalian, the mammalian and the reptilian.
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:35 pm

From our experience as matter come the matters in our minds.
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:58 pm

Three!--being, belonging, becoming--body, mind spirit--the number that best characterizes the categories of what it is like to be human.
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby felix dakat » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:52 pm

I make it a point to revisit my brain from time to time. McLean thought that reptiles were totally drive ridden. Seems to me that he may have given them a bum rap. The more we find out about our animal kindred the more intelligent they seem to be but our anthropocentrism prevented us from seeing it.

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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby lordoflight » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:41 pm

So which part of the brain is Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost?
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:07 pm

felix dakat wrote:I make it a point to revisit my brain from time to time. McLean thought that reptiles were totally drive ridden. Seems to me that he may have given them a bum rap. The more we find out about our animal kindred the more intelligent they seem to be but our anthropocentrism prevented us from seeing it.

I agree. Reptiles can act in ways that appear not to be purely instinctual. The Eden Serpent was quite articulate. So are the body's hungers and drives. The Adamic neocortex, however, supposedly offers more options between drive and fulfillment, between the urge and the action. Freud thought that the most evolved animals have a space for consideration of options between an urge and its consequent action. Sometimes that is more of a curse than a blessing. :D
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:29 pm

lordoflight wrote:So which part of the brain is Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost?

Thanks for your question.
The idea of three in one is what's important.
My thesis: that myths and legends, religious or secular, have meaning for us as metaphoric renditions of actual human experiences of genetic and memetic evolutionary growth and development. The trinite brain theory fits the Eden story metaphorically. Maybe God in action can be seen as the brain's concern with homeostasis of interactive body functions. I like to think of DNA as a metaphor for God the creator.
We have historically had evolving ideas of what God is like. I'd have to say that the experience of God is the awareness of being at one with all that is.
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Carleas » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:54 pm

How universal is the trinity in myths globally? It's an important part of some flavors of Christianity, but e.g. Judaism, polytheistic religions, Traditional Asian belief systems like Taoism or Confucianism, etc. to my knowledge don't have the same kind of structure. If it's derived from the human universal of our complex brains, we should expect to find it in all human cultures. And human-like brains (at least to the extent they are triune in the way you describe) are present in non-human primates. It's tough to test for chimps' reverence for the number three, but at least it suggests that any influence that had on our mythology should be present long before the advent of Christianity (or rather, the Catholic dogma of the trinity, which developed much later as far as I'm aware).

I also think the number three is special in ways that can be appreciated by any intelligent being, regardless of the number of layers in their information processing system. In fact, I would hypothesize that the causal arrow runs the other direction: the number of brain layers we have is due to the specialness of the number three. A three-body system has a particular set of complex dynamics, and it's possible that it's the simplest system that permits a certain kind of high-level infromation processing. Indeed, see a similar dynamic arises in computer design:
Image
I admit it's hard to trace causality here; other diagrams omit hardware and show kernel, libraries, and applications as the three layers, so it could well be that we make three-layered computer architecture diagrams because we like the number three, rather than because there's an inherent three-ness to information processing.
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby felix dakat » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:56 am

MacLean's tripartite brain can be seen to correspond to Freud's theory of the the structure of the psyche as consisting of the id, the ego and the super-ego. The super-ego performs the role of the internalized parent symbolized Christian theology as the Father. The ego is the agent of the reality principle. This corresponds to the Christian notion of the incarnation , the concretization of God in humanity. The reptilian brain corresponds with the id the source of the basic drives to life. The Holy Spirit is an idealization of the instinctual energy and will to live which unites everything.

How wide-spread is the worship of tripartite divinities? How many religions since Paleolithic times have worshiped the father divinity a mother divinity and a child divinity? The Hindu god Brahma is united with Shiva and Vishnu in a Divine Triad. The yin and yang of Taoism unite in the Tao thus reiterating a tri-une structure of reality. The tripartite structure of Islam consists of Allah, Muhammad and the Koran. In Judaism there is Yahweh, the Law and the Prophets. Theologically trinity's are the result of the need to unite the ultimate with the concrete which requires a mediator. The mythological inner relations between these trinitarian entities as represented in myths and rituals are analogous to the psychological integration of Id, ego and super-ego through the processes of maturation and individuation.

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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:19 pm

Carleas wrote:How universal is the trinity in myths globally? It's an important part of some flavors of Christianity, but e.g. Judaism, polytheistic religions, Traditional Asian belief systems like Taoism or Confucianism, etc. to my knowledge don't have the same kind of structure. If it's derived from the human universal of our complex brains, we should expect to find it in all human cultures. And human-like brains (at least to the extent they are triune in the way you describe) are present in non-human primates. It's tough to test for chimps' reverence for the number three, but at least it suggests that any influence that had on our mythology should be present long before the advent of Christianity (or rather, the Catholic dogma of the trinity, which developed much later as far as I'm aware).

I also think the number three is special in ways that can be appreciated by any intelligent being, regardless of the number of layers in their information processing system. In fact, I would hypothesize that the causal arrow runs the other direction: the number of brain layers we have is due to the specialness of the number three. A three-body system has a particular set of complex dynamics, and it's possible that it's the simplest system that permits a certain kind of high-level infromation processing. Indeed, see a similar dynamic arises in computer design:
Image
I admit it's hard to trace causality here; other diagrams omit hardware and show kernel, libraries, and applications as the three layers, so it could well be that we make three-layered computer architecture diagrams because we like the number three, rather than because there's an inherent three-ness to information processing.

Thanks Carleas for your response. I would venture to suggest that the meme of three in one evolved over time, that early primitives could not express it as we do. Still they were aware if Self, Other (often hostile) and Intercessor between the two. This trinity could not express the three in one.
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:32 pm

felix dakat wrote:MacLean's tripartite brain can be seen to correspond to Freud's theory of the the structure of the psyche as consisting of the id, the ego and the super-ego. The super-ego performs the role of the internalized parent symbolized Christian theology as the Father. The ego is the agent of the reality principle. This corresponds to the Christian notion of the incarnation , the concretization of God in humanity. The reptilian brain corresponds with the id the source of the basic drives to life. The Holy Spirit is an idealization of the instinctual energy and will to live which unites everything.

How wide-spread is the worship of tripartite divinities? How many religions since Paleolithic times have worshiped the father divinity a mother divinity and a child divinity? The Hindu god Brahma is united with Shiva and Vishnu in a Divine Triad. The yin and yang of Taoism unite in the Tao thus reiterating a tri-une structure of reality. The tripartite structure of Islam consists of Allah, Muhammad and the Koran. In Judaism there is Yahweh, the Law and the Prophets. Theologically trinity's are the result of the need to unite the ultimate with the concrete which requires a mediator. The mythological inner relations between these trinitarian entities as represented in myths and rituals are analogous to the psychological integration of Id, ego and super-ego through the processes of maturation and individuation.

Thanks, Felix. I agree with you about the Freudian interpretation of the human psyche. The Adam and Eve story does appear to describe the process of individuation. BTW the three basic processes of human maturation are individuation, metamorphosis and synthesis. The three states of being (A three in one) are Being, Becoming and Belonging. The human psyche is expressed as Mind, Body and Spirit.
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Carleas » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:53 pm

Thanks for your reply Felix. I was also reminded of the id, ego, and superego, and it is noteworthy how closely the layers of the brain fit to that model. But Freud may well have been influenced by the structure of the brain in developing that model; he studied medicine, which surely included the anatomy of the brian, he was also a pioneer in the study of neurology, particularly in the comparison of human and non-human brain tissues. The relationship between the brain and the mind was understood during his time. I don't know for sure that the gross morphology of the brain informed his model of the mind, but I don't think it's a given that we can take his model out of the context of his own training and research.

For the tripartite divinities, I'm not sure how to evaluate your claims. There are certainly many examples of trinities, but they are by no means universal, and I question whether they even account for the majority of religious belief. And even the claims that certain trinities are the divine trinity for a given religion are not easy to answer. For example, the Hindu deities you mention are viewed as a trinity by some Hindus, but not by all. And it's been theorized that the Hindu and Western trinities are derived from the same pre-Indo-European culture, where a three-way divides can be found in religion, culture, and politics.

But I think your examples of Taoism, Islam, and Judaism point to a central issue in the project of identifying divine trinities. Take Taosim: the way you're counting yin, yang, and yin+yang as three should entail that you count father, son, holy spirit, and father+son+holy spirit as four instead of three. There are trinities in Taosim, but important divisions are dualities (yin and yang, tao and te), and the trinities are not always so central (e.g. the eight trigrams, which falls out of two possible states of three attributes (2^3=8) . For Islam and Judaism, the choice of three central things seems arbitrary. Both religions are predominantly unitary, focusing on a unitary god above all else. Counting Allah, Muhammad, and the Koran seems arbitrary: why not the Hadith? If we say that the Hadith just is Muhammad, then shouldn't the Koran just be Allah? And what of the other great prophets recognized Islam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus? What of the Five Pillars of Islam? So too with Judaism: again we can arbitrarily cut it off with Yahweh, the Law, and the Prophets, but what of the Messiah whose coming is prophesied? Why count the law and the prophets separately, where both are often considered part of the Torah? And if we're OK separating the Torah, why not separate it all the way down to the five books of the Pentateuch, and the many other chapters of the Tanakh? Judaism is rich in numerology, but three doesn't seem particularly emphasized; we can find trinities, but we can also find many other division of the world that aren't triune. To say that Judaism is tripartite seems ad hoc.

I guess this is all just to say that three has some properties that make it stand out without needing to appeal to brain structure. Any time we have two things, we can get to three by counting, "thing one, thing two, the relationship between them". That doesn't seem to depend on the shape of our brains.
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Pneumatic-Coma » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:01 pm

This is far less complex as a 3 layer burrito. Causality was a thought process. One thought intriguingly lightening up another room of already valuable ideas. Still the process of delving into such realms of Spirit, Mind, and Holy Father are somewhat innate in those arriving at that point. It seems as though suffering doesn't get over lapped because thing's are as is, and cannot be otherwise. Although something inherently in our mind tells me truth towards what's publicly dictating otherwise, I still cannot for the sake of me explain to all what's going to happen, or is in other words already happening. Reality believed it was applicable to delve into more complex psychological feats as to reach a means to an end. But it seems ends and odds have already in some other words been met ages ago. Still with no distinct casual feat, or limitation as to what's the effect? We can surely be aware that we still existence even inherently outside our own minds for some fabrication isn't going to be justified according to what life agrees with?

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2 I know all your ways, your toil and your fortitude. I know you cannot endure evil men; you have put to the proof those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 Fortitude you have; you have borne up in my cause and never flagged. 4 But I have this against you: you have lost your early love. 5 Think from what a height you have fallen; repent, and do as you once did. Otherwise, if you do not repent, I shall come to you and remove your lamp from its place. 6 Yet you have this in your favor: you hate the practices of the Nicolaitians, as I do. 7 Hear, you who have ears to hear, what the Spirit says to the churches! To him who is victorious I will give the right to eat from the tree of life that stands in the Garden of God."

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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby felix dakat » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:58 pm

Carleas wrote:Thanks for your reply Felix. I was also reminded of the id, ego, and superego, and it is noteworthy how closely the layers of the brain fit to that model. But Freud may well have been influenced by the structure of the brain in developing that model; he studied medicine, which surely included the anatomy of the brian, he was also a pioneer in the study of neurology, particularly in the comparison of human and non-human brain tissues. The relationship between the brain and the mind was understood during his time. I don't know for sure that the gross morphology of the brain informed his model of the mind, but I don't think it's a given that we can take his model out of the context of his own training and research.

For the tripartite divinities, I'm not sure how to evaluate your claims. There are certainly many examples of trinities, but they are by no means universal, and I question whether they even account for the majority of religious belief. And even the claims that certain trinities are the divine trinity for a given religion are not easy to answer. For example, the Hindu deities you mention are viewed as a trinity by some Hindus, but not by all. And it's been theorized that the Hindu and Western trinities are derived from the same pre-Indo-European culture, where a three-way divides can be found in religion, culture, and politics.

But I think your examples of Taoism, Islam, and Judaism point to a central issue in the project of identifying divine trinities. Take Taosim: the way you're counting yin, yang, and yin+yang as three should entail that you count father, son, holy spirit, and father+son+holy spirit as four instead of three. There are trinities in Taosim, but important divisions are dualities (yin and yang, tao and te), and the trinities are not always so central (e.g. the eight trigrams, which falls out of two possible states of three attributes (2^3=8) . For Islam and Judaism, the choice of three central things seems arbitrary. Both religions are predominantly unitary, focusing on a unitary god above all else. Counting Allah, Muhammad, and the Koran seems arbitrary: why not the Hadith? If we say that the Hadith just is Muhammad, then shouldn't the Koran just be Allah? And what of the other great prophets recognized Islam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus? What of the Five Pillars of Islam? So too with Judaism: again we can arbitrarily cut it off with Yahweh, the Law, and the Prophets, but what of the Messiah whose coming is prophesied? Why count the law and the prophets separately, where both are often considered part of the Torah? And if we're OK separating the Torah, why not separate it all the way down to the five books of the Pentateuch, and the many other chapters of the Tanakh? Judaism is rich in numerology, but three doesn't seem particularly emphasized; we can find trinities, but we can also find many other division of the world that aren't triune. To say that Judaism is tripartite seems ad hoc.

I guess this is all just to say that three has some properties that make it stand out without needing to appeal to brain structure. Any time we have two things, we can get to three by counting, "thing one, thing two, the relationship between them". That doesn't seem to depend on the shape of our brains.


No, thank you, Carleas.

I think that tripartite metaphors like I cited result from a primal ontological intuition:
"The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Three.
Three gives birth to all things. [Tao 42]

The tetractys, a Pythagorean mystical symbol which is a triangular figure consisting of ten points arranged in four rows: one, two, three, and four points in each row, represents the same intuition. It's the idea based on perceptual gestalt that the undifferentiated presence which is being as a whole must be divided into two to be experienced and that that triad is the ineluctable basis for all more complex experiences.

The divine trinities of the various religions are metaphors for this most basic perceptual experience. There is conceptual beauty and power in a theory or theology that can be expressed in a tripartite structure because it recapitulates and thus is validated by the simplest elements of perception.

I think the trinities I identified are more fundamental to the religions I cited than you acknowledged. And I only cited a few examples. There are many more. As far as the psychologists, no doubt MacLean was influenced by Freud and the division of the brain into the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain was well known to them both. But, that that tripartite imposition of structure on the brain "makes sense" validates my proposition. It makes sense because it is like the gestalt of our most fundamental sensory perception.

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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:21 pm

Thanks for the considerate responses. The more I read the more I tend to believe that we make the gods in our own image, from our ways of seeing. This does not imply that the gods are not real or that our perspective invalidates their messages. They are effective because Their messages are as we are, otherwise we would have no conscious way of validating what we perceive to be real. Brain structures do control what can be thought or imagined. In their interactions are composed our dreams and desires.
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:32 pm

Pneumatic-Coma,
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To the nation;
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His explanation."---Byron
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:00 pm

so, is it Jesus, God or the Holy Spirit that is the reptile brain?
And in the other religions, which is the counterpart to the reptile brain?

And which part of the brain is Mary for Catholics?
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby felix dakat » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:34 pm

I'd like to make it clear if I haven't already that to me the Triune brain idea is a metaphor for how brain structures reflect the process of evolution. Cognitive science has discovered that the conceptual systems used in the world's languages make use of a relatively small number of basic image schemas. Body-based image schemas are among the sources of the forms of conceptual metaphor including religious or spiritual narratives and theological systems.

I did suggest that the tendency to see things in trinities may have a basis in embodied perceptual experience. I agree with Carleas that the first test of that hypothesis is whether the Trinity phenomenon occurs cross-culturally. That doesn't mean that it has to be the only way that the Sacred is conceptualized or even the dominant way.

Even early Christianity was not trinitarian as evidenced by the New Testament. The earliest followers of Jesus were strict monotheists. Yet trinitarian formulae are present in the New Testament texts with little or no theological elaboration. Explicit trinitarian theology came later when the elements of the Christian gospel were subjected to analysis in terms of Greek philosophical categories.

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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:25 pm

There certainly are trinities, but there are also dualities and monisms. I am sure there are likely divisions into four also. I think some native american groups did this, perhaps based on directions. It is very likely that small integers will come up again and again because they give a good handle on things. Easy to remember, convenient. And also, perhaps, more likely to be metaphysically correct. It's just when I read that the Trinity in Christianity is or may be coupled to the Trinity in the brain, it just doesn't work for me. I can see God as superego and perhaps Jesus as the mammalian limbic system. But, then onthe other hand Jesus has issues with the limbic system. You won't find many mammals turning the other cheek unless they are dealing with their young or submitting. For example, and there are others. Also the Trinity in Christianity has always struck me as something that just developed via so many damn voices getting a say. Hey, look, we have these three metaphysical entities, let's say they are all the same, though also separate, and we decided this at the point in time where there were three, though Catholics kind of have four. Not that Mary made it into Es spiritus sancti etc. But in the hearts of Catholics she's much more important that the Holy Ghost. I don't see any schema that works well with the reptile system. I can see it as Hell, mammalian brain as life on earth and the human additions in the brain as Heaven. Though the mammalian brain as earthly life feels a bit sketchy to me.

I don't see the parallels working with Taoism very well, though there are a couple of Trinities in Taoism. I suspect this has nothing to do with the Triune brain, which is a theory that is at best controversial these days, even just on the brain side of things.

Hinduism could have just about any number attibuted to it. But certainly two and three and one. Shiva Parvati and Brahma or Vishnu as the one over their two making a three. But you can also have two alone or one alone.

The ten thousand things.

Islam has a bunch of key numbers....
https://criticalmuslim.com/issues/10-se ... ic-numbers

A case can be made for three in confucism, but then also for other numbers.

If the parallels were clearer between the purviews of the various brain sections and specific spiritual counterparts, then I could go along with the Triune brain thing.

But even Taoism which is very strongly three works very nicely with brain halves and the unified brain. Right brain Yin, Left Brain Yang, unified brain being one, in any case. Which is not to say I think that Yin and Yang are guided by our bicameral brain structure and should be the actual model, it's more like, the small numbers are going to be the first ones we use to systematize, and we will start seeing Triune brains if we want to in systems that can be seen as three in other ways and as numbers other than three also.
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:44 pm

Thanks, Karpel Tunnel
I used the metaphor of the Eden story because it fit so well to describe operations of a triune brain. It is not necessary to find such metaphors in comparative religions or other systems of thought. As you note Catholic theology is more about a quadrinity than about a trinity. This is possible because of a human need to express the Godhead in terms of all human relationships--mother, father, son, etc. It's just that, for me, the trinity is a prime example of how brains work. Other numbers have been used to express the relationship between human evolutionary experiences and possible mental content. For the number three, as Felix noted, the modern secular metaphor is the computer, a mechanical brain. We create what we are; it could not be otherwise. From the experiences with senses, we have created radio, photograph, motion pictures, etc. etc.
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby felix dakat » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:57 pm

Yeah, CG Jung thought that the Trinity could be represented as a mandela that is imbalanced which suggests a repressed fourth element that if acknowledged would more accurately represent God as a quaternity. He said the orthodox Christian formula was not complete because the evil principal is absent and that that led to the "awkward existence of the devil on his own".

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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:53 pm

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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:36 pm

felix dakat wrote:Yeah, CG Jung thought that the Trinity could be represented as a mandela that is imbalanced which suggests a repressed fourth element that if acknowledged would more accurately represent God as a quaternity. He said the orthodox Christian formula was not complete because the evil principal is absent and that that led to the "awkward existence of the devil on his own".

Interesting! I do think Jung surpassed Freud in describing the content of the subconscious mind. Was Jung aware of the triquetra? Probably so--Or aware of Odin's symbol of trinity.
MacLean doesn't seem to be into the religious or pagan implications of the three brains. He merely suggests how they evolved and how they continue to think.
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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby felix dakat » Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:36 am

More trinities:
Tripartite conceptualization
The tripartite conceptualization (Thrash and Elliot, 2003) specifies the three core characteristics of the state of inspiration:
    evocation,
    transcendence, and
    approach motivation.

Evocation refers to the fact that inspiration is evoked rather than initiated volitionally by the individual. In other words, one does not feel directly responsible for becoming inspired; rather, a stimulus object, such as a person, an idea, or a work of art, evokes and sustains the inspiration episode. During an episode of inspiration, the individual gains awareness of new possibilities that transcend ordinary or mundane concerns. The new awareness is vivid and concrete, and it surpasses the ordinary constraints of willfully generated ideas. Once inspired, the individual experiences a compelling approach motivation to
    transmit,
    actualize, or
    express the new vision.

This set of three characteristics is intended to be minimally sufficient to distinguish the state of inspiration from other states.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4070479/

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Re: The Triune Brain Revisited

Postby Ierrellus » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:25 pm

Thanks, Felix.



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