Life is a dance. The only difference between plants and animals is movement. We only have brains because of movement. Plants have no need for brains. They are stuck in one place. Having a brain would do them no good. What does a tree need a brain for? Say, what are those guys with the saw up to? Those trees over there look a lot happier; too bad I can’t move. There is actually a sea creature called the sea sprite. Scientists can’t tell if it is a plant or an animal. In its juvenile stage it behaves as an animal and has a brain. Its sole purpose is to find a place where the feeding is good. Once it finds that place, it anchors itself and then consumes its brain. It then becomes a plant. Only animals have the need for a brain. Animals have to perceive their environment via their senses and then adjust their behavior to best suit their survival. And this involves moving. Movement is intrinsic in humans. It is not learned. Even blind children learn to walk. It is because of this movement, this dance of life, that we need brains.
Our brains start out 1/3 the size they are full-grown. You have no doubt heard that we only use ten per cent of our brains. This is only partly true. Only ten per cent of our brains are involved in governing our body functions. The other 90 % are involved in solving problems, feeling emotions, remembering the capital of North Dakota, that kind of shit. Brains require twenty years to reach full maturation, more or less. These twenty years can be divided into two ten-year periods. The first ten years of development is spent developing the back portion of the brain. This is the part of the brain that keeps us alive. It is the part of the brain that perceives things. It is the part ruled by the senses. That is why children are sensory creatures. This is period in which we learn the skills necessary to survive. In our culture that means smile a lot at the giants who give us food and love and stuff, and go to school and learn all those facts and skills like reading, writing, and mathematics. If we lived in a different culture it might be hunting, fishing, and farming.
Once we have learned basic survival skills during those first ten years, the next ten years is involved in entering into the gene pool. That is, we start preparing ourselves to find a mate. So we begin to develop those skills needed to attract a mate. This is also the period in which our frontal lobes develop. It is our frontal lobes which are involved in the problem solving process. Information enters the brain through the senses at the back of the brain, moves to the right side which governs new information, passes to the front which will analyze the information and look for the appropriated action to take and then, after the action is taken, pass to the left side of the brain to store the information for the next time we face a similar situation. Even our thoughts move about from one part of the brain to the other.
Thoughts not only move from back to right to front to left, but also move from front to back. Knowing what to do moves from right to left across the front. The thought of whether we SHOULD or not moves from front to back, over the top in a straight line. Now the right to left movement is developed before the front to back movement so it should be no surprise that a fifteen year old may know what to do, but doesn’t always know if they SHOULD do it.
Now each of these ten year periods can be divided into two periods–a four year period of incompetence, and a six year period of developing skills, or competence. So, for example, during the first ten-year period, we pretty much keep children at home for the first four years because they really can’t take care of themselves at all. They are totally incompetent at that. Incompetence in this case should not be seen as pejorative, it just is. You wouldn’t expect a six-month old to be able to walk so well.
Then, somewhere around four or five, we take them out of the family environment and put them in schools so they can develop their survival skills among people who aren’t their family. That way they can learn those survival skills needed in our society when it comes to coexisting with other people. This is one of those arguments against home schooling. Kids who are home schooled often don’t develop the necessary social skills needed to get along in our culture, because the only traditions they know are their family’s.
The next ten-year period begins with a four-year period we call puberty. Most people, especially parents and middle school teachers, can tell you this is definitely a period in which the kids are totally incompetent again. They are able to survive pretty well; but they lack problem-solving skills. However, they are starting to develop them, which is why they want their parents to get lost because parents keep wanting and trying to solve their problems for them. Instinctively they know they will never learn to solve problems if we keep doing it for them. That is why we have to give them opportunities to solve problems in a safe environment where they won’t get too hurt when they are wrong. During this period they only want to communicate with their friends and between them they don’t have 24 dendrites, but they’ll talk things out anyway.
By the end of that four year period, the adolescent has developed enough basic problem solving skills and (don’t forget) mate finding skills that they are ready to start dating (and possibly making bad decisions). You may recall yourself, that it was about this time that you started thinking that you needed a job. You also may have started thinking about what you might want to do once you were all grown. And once you are grown, you MOVE out on your own.
So we spend our first ten years trying to survive and the next ten years trying to get laid. And this in itself is movement. We move through our lives from birth to death, from the moment we are born and leave that Garden of Eden, that paradise, the womb until whatever makes us what we are leaves this corporal shell behind. And where that movement takes us, no one knows.
All our lives are filled with movement. Even our language involves movement of the mouth, the tongue, the throat, and even the hands and body. We speak words. And the words move through sentences. And the sentences move through paragraphs. And our conversations move from one person to the other. And our thoughts move from our brains to our mouths to the another’s ears to their brains. The blood moves through our veins and food moves through our bodies. The planets move around the sun and the sun moves through the galaxy. The galaxy moves out in an ever-expanding universe. Even the subatomic particles of which we are made are in constant motion. Creation is just one big cosmic dance. So let’s put on some Motown and have some fun.