We humans have some body parts that no longer have any function. You can think of the appendix, wisdom teeth and muscles in the ears we no longer can use. I guess nature has not found a reason, or the time to loose these parts or functions, while we slowly evolve. There are no big problems with these leftover parts, their main function seems to be to remind us that we once looked and functioned differently.
I did a quick search on the net and found the usual examples of “human vestigiality”, but they mentioned no part of the brain that was leftover and had no longer a function. Certain reflexes like the hiccup and some grasp reflexes are behavioral, and are partially controlled by the brain, these reflexes serve no longer any useful function. I found in my short search no mention of specific parts of the brain that are useless or can harm you if not removed.
If you look into how our brain works and is made, you will learn quickly that some parts are older, we share them with reptilians that lived millions of years ago. During the evolution new parts where attached to the older parts till we ended up with the brain we have now.
In the poem I chose for today I use the amygdala as a specific part of the brain. The amygdala plays an important role in our life but it is not our so called reptilian/primal brain or basal ganglia. This primal part of our brain is the starting point of our automatic behaviours like eating, fleeing and fighting.
You can read bookshelves filled with books about this topic but I will take some poetic freedom in giving an explanation for the poem I wrote on Day 1022.
The night, when I am gone
a visual, engulfs from amygdala
an ancient fear, felt abandoned
I think that some parts of our brain should be removed, if possible, like we do with an infected appendix. These parts wake us up at night with fears and sweat for no reason. They make you angry and fearful at the same time and why can I not decide myself when it is time to eat, I do it anyway around six in the evening.
A big part of our time we are pestered by these prehistorical drives and emotions. We spend a lot of time combating the negative side effects of these primal behaviors. We do yoga, consult psychiatrists and talk over and over with friends about the same fears we can’t explain. We are now so used to rationalize our fears and angst, our more evolved parts of the brain seem to thrive in that behavior, but it seems a little unnecessary. Fear and angst are good if they have a reason, but if they just arrive and react like a lizard reacts to a footstep by fleeing, we could do without them.
Maybe one day, far into the future, we can go to the doctor and ask for a Vulcan-nization of the brain.