Awakening of Intelligence 04Age and Stage Specific Brain DevelopmentTheme:brain development, model imperativeSummaryDiscussionTranscriptRelated Insights
The secret of evolution and what evolution has been about, is that the evolution of a child's intelligence from birth on has to do with this triune brain. Our ego or personal awareness represents no more than about 5 percent of the total energy of the brain-mind, we know that. What's the other 95 percent of this energy is created energy involved in? Giving us our world experience and ability to respond to it.Coming
Surrounding this, once nature completed this she surrounds it with what we call the limbic brain. Here is this old R-system, or reptilian brain and she surrounds it with another brain which is emotional or relational in its character. This is most mysterious brain structure. It's awesome and the most complex thing we know of in the whole universe is this second brain called the limbic structure or the emotional cognitive brain. This is the brain that handles all relationship.
From this position our ego center can look back on or objectively what is being presented as the physical body and physical world experience and make a qualitative evaluation of it. And say in effect, I love this and I hate that and I go for this and I get away from that and so on. All of our human emotions are expressed through the good offices of this brain structure here, all of our bondings, all of our relationships are expressed through this second brain system that we share with all mammals on earth. All mammals have these first two brain structures essentially exactly like we have. There is not much variation in them.
Now the emotional brain is the one that handles all immunities. How are you relating to your bugs in your interior today. That's the job of this. The body’s capacity to heal itself and so on. All memory and learning is controlled by this emotional cognitive brain. What else about it? All of the body’s hormonal systems are controlled by this emotional cognitive brain.
Now later we're going to discuss the profound relationship that this brain has with our heart system because this is very new in research and an almost psychic shock to the whole academic world. So the emotional-cognitive brain is what establishes value it's our reward system and it contains within it all of the behaviors associated with relationships. My rage, my love, my angers, all of these things are essentially controlled and determined by the hormonal activity and all going on in this second brain, as well as learning.
Don't forget that learning and memory. And then once that's completed, nature throws this huge thing, now in all mammals they have a little bit of a third brain and the more advanced the animal is the more of this third brain they have. And ours is huge. It's much bigger than these first two put together and this is the neocortex, the new brain. And that's where intellect comes from, and its where our creativity comes from.
The great frontal lobes of this new brain, we don't know what they're for. We call them the silent areas apparently we have not yet really developed those in evolutionary history. They're there waiting and waiting but we don't develop them. Best estimates are now that we only develop about 10 percent of this neocortex. We develop all these two primary systems. The one that gives us our world and body experience the one that evaluates that and relates us to everything but this new brain very little of.
Now this oldest brain the reptilian brain as we call it feeds directly into the new brain and the new brain makes a pattern of everything going on here. We've got a lot of complications of this and we're going to have to ignore all those and boil it down to the simple patterns of behavior. So here’s a brain for thought. Here’s one for feeling. Here’s one for action. Got it?
The next thing I want to point out, and this is the whole secret of evolution and what evolution has been about, and the evolution of a child's intelligence from birth on has to do with this triune brain because we find that the psychic system, whatever you want to call it, the ego, that simply means I in Latin. Our personal awareness, of being me, different from you, that makes each of us so unique and really precious.
This sense of ego or personal awareness represents no more than about 5 percent of the total energy of the brain-mind, we know that, that's established. What's the other 95 percent of this energy is created energy involved in? Giving us our world experience and ability to respond to it. We're kind of the innocent bystanders, this little 5 percent ego structure, but it has the capacity to range the whole field and punch the buttons the way it wants to through development and come into dominion over this whole creative process going on in our head.
Now ego, or sense of awareness, must of necessity imbed in the developmental structure that is in process. Because we find in these developmental stages that Piaget and everyone recognizes, what we're doing is activating a corresponding level of the brain. That is the first year of life that little tiny infants is purely sensory-motor we all know that. They don't have any really emotions yet they're all center motor. They're all sensation.
At that time and that goes on as completed -- it takes about seven years to complete this R-system or world system and get completely locked in for life and during that time the child is imbedded in the sensory motor system. The ego is simply completely enmeshed in this. They don't have a separate ego yet. Now that means the very early child in that year of life doesn't have a sensation. They are that sensation. Got the difference? Understand the distinction between it?
That's very hard for an adult to understand. The child doesn't experience a pain. They are simply that pain at that moment. So long as there's a complete embeddedment of the psychic system in that particular neural structure but now by that complete entrainment of the brain. All of our brain is operating. We never have just part of it functioning it's all going to operate. But in that first year of life the whole structure operates to get this system going to get this physical awareness established. To get this visual process stabilized and the auditory process stabilized all of that. And then once that is stabilized enough to function without such a total entrainment and concentration of all this energy, then we have the awakening of the next block of intelligence which we side where? In this great emotional cognitive second brain system, the one that makes the qualitative evaluation of the experience coming in as physical life.
We used to speak of the changeling. Here disappears our sweet little infant and here is this roaring terrible willful child caught up in wild emotions and that's the opening of the emotional brain system with its will, its drive to power. Its reward system. Don't forget the reward system is here in this second brain the emotional brain and that's what drives us to achieve rewarding experiences from our physical body and itself interaction with the world and later will drive us to experience rewards from our great intellectual emotional and spiritual system appear.
Now, this second block of intelligences that opens are those intelligences translated as our emotional life. And don't think they're not awesome. So now the child begins to experience not just an exploration in building of his physical world but of his emotional experience of that world. And the way he relates or she relates to that world and along with this will come language because that's your key in developing this world structure. Now that will go on till about age 7. Both of these systems will be about 80 percent completely age 4.
Burton White made that perfectly clear and he's perfectly right so far as I can tell, about 80 percent complete and both of them are essentially a hundred percent complete by age 7. The emotional system does go on operating till about age 11 in its development but then is completely through. Now, the minute that we get 80 percent of this functioning what do we have? These systems these would first systems the physical system and the emotional system are so well established by age 4 and the language system that goes with them that nature can afford to spare the energy you might say to then keep these running at the same time and again to open up the development of the great neocortex, the huge new addition of evolutionary process.
Does this mean this has been inactive the whole time? Of course not. The brain is always functioning as an integral unit, but nature spotlights her focus of development on each structure until its complete then opens the next structure, gets that going, and then opens the next structure. Do you understand?
Now if we furnish an appropriate nurturing environment for each of these systems they'll unfold automatically, absorb everything appropriate to the system, and the system just keeps opening and opening and opening. But we can try to force some of this highest evolutionary stuff, intellect, great thinking, reading, writing, all these kind of things that can occur up here, we can try to get those way-early here. But when we do we cloud the picture of what is supposed to be happening in these earliest stages. The blocks of intelligence appropriate to that period so the child tries to follow the model at all costs. They want to keep in touch with us. We're their life line. They try to do it but then they begin to lose out on what should be developing at that point so then later when we're ready for the real movement into great intellectual pursuits they don't have the foundation for it. And then we're in trouble, and that's one of the things happening to our children today.
All developmentists, all the great brain research people, Gazzaniga and Edelman, the Nobel laureate and the rest of them recognize that these areas of the brain must be developed in their topological order. You've got to develop the first one to make it appropriate to develop the second one or there will be no foundation for it. You've got to development in order to start developing the rest of it.