We have all been given the same game board to play with. It consists of a squishy meat-suit and a jelly thought-producing brain. Bad news: you don’t qualify for the updated board model… none of us do. We’re left playing with the same caveman-shaped board that we’ve had since the Stone Age.
Before we can start deciding on the new rules for your Game, I want to just spend a little time talking your through your board setup – the jelly bit of it, at least. Your ability to change your Game Rules depends largely on you forgetting how to play the old Game that our culture has taught us to play. And it’s only once we recognise how Rules and thoughts of any type get into our jelly brain that we can work to change them.
Humans essentially have three separate brains crammed into all that jelly. To create a thought – and therefore a rule – an electrical impulse goes through all three of them.
1. YOUR ANIMAL BRAIN: This is your reptilian brain, and every species in the world has a similar one. You animal brain is in charge of protecting your own meat-suit, but also your species by ensuring you create little copies of yourself. It gives us the rules: “can I eat it, fuck it, or do I have to run away from or fight it?
RULE 1 - Don't Die
2. YOUR MAMMAL BRAIN: The limbic brain is what gives mammals emotions, memories, and a desire to connect with others. It’s what separates us from fish and spiders. And it’s the next stop for our reptilian thought. It reminds us that the strawberries are down this pathway, that we should cry when Mufasa dies, and that we should probably smile at our neighbours. The Mammal brain gives us all the tools that we’d need to make sure we don’t get kicked out of our human teams. Humans don’t play well on their own and die pretty quickly.
RULE 2 - Make Friends
3. YOUR HUMAN BRAIN: Humans aren’t the only animals which have this part of a brain – the cortex – but ours is the biggest. It’s the last stop on our thought’s journey to your conscious, and is what separates us from every other animal. Language, abstract and rational thinking, are born in this bit of the brain as well as the two questions that only a human can ask: “What can I learn from this?” and “What if…” These two questions changed the Game and the course of history.
RULE 3: Use Your Imagination
But what was it that made our game board end up to be more intelligent than other animals’? It was likely our diets.
Evolving takes energy and humans found a way to free up enough energy to allow it to happen. We started eating more calorie-dense meat, and we also got fancy with our food prep. Humans became the Michelin starred chefs of the animals by first pounding food to soften it, and then – once they discovered fire – cooking it.
Smooshed up and cooked food needs fewer calories to digest than it does when raw. Our brains claimed the spare calories that were no longer needed for pure survival, and used them to evolve huge Cortexes. Maybe calories aren’t simply “creatures that come out and night and make your clothes smaller” – *heavy eye roll* – after all?
So, now we have our basic Rules for human-ing. They are pretty much set in stone as far as our brains are concerned. But click here for the next part of our Game creation, where you will learn about the rules that we can change.