So we have mentioned the emotional brain and the rational brain. The proper names for these parts of the brain are the limbic system (emotional brain) and the neocortex (rational brain). There is a third part of your brain called the reptilian complex and that is where our genius begins. It is called the reptilian complex because we share it with reptiles. Those reptiles are cold hearted bastards. And the reason they are so devoid of emotions is because they are not capable of emotions. They will eat their own offspring if there is nothing else around. This part of the brain that we share with lizards and dragons etc. is only for basic computations. It controls some incredibly important systems in our bodies. It regulates temperature. One thing it takes care of is our fight or flight mode. To give you an example of this:
You are walking down a dark alleyway late at night and behind you you hear footsteps. Convinced you are about to be killed you begin to go into fight/flight mode. The hairs on the back of your neck stand up and your muscles tense. This is a horrible feeling but i’m guessing a familiar feeling to you. This is that reptilian complex kicking in to keep you safe. It floods your body with adrenaline to prepare you for the inevitable fight or flight. Imagine if you are in the grips of a situation such as this and you try to remember the recipe for a hollandaise sauce. It is a completely different part of your brain and there is absolutely no way you can get there without the reptilian complex agreeing to it. This reptile brain is at the top of your spine and the bottom of your head. It is about the size of a walnut.
What is interesting is the part that surrounds the reptilian complex. It is called the emotional brain. Would you like to take a guess what this part of the brain does? That’s right, this is the part of the brain that considers the flavour of ice cream you are going to get at the cinema. I am only kind of joking. The emotional part of the brain is just that. It controls your emotions. It also stores your long term memories. Think about any long term memory you have. It has a dominant emotion connected to it. Therefore any long term memory you have will induce an emotion of some description. Your wedding day, where you were on 9/11. But I bet you can’t remember what you had for lunch this day last year. Chances are you can’t remember because there is no emotion connected to it. If it was a particularly tasty sandwich you might remember it otherwise it is lost to the ether. No emotion, no memory. This emotional brain is also known as the limbic system. The emotional brain is difficult to control but we are at least aware of it. The reason the emotional brain is difficult to control is because this is where all of our previous decisions are hardwired. If every Friday evening after work you order a take away even though you know consciously afterwards you are going to regret your decision you do it anyway. This is because the emotional brain is in control. The rational part of your brain is screaming out for a logical thought process but your emotional brain is louder and it is screaming ‘I want that curry sauce!’ Emotional brain wins every single time.