Survival Code – The Facts
I spoke last time about the Survival Code, a mixture of your genetic preferences inherited from your parents and beyond and the learned responses from life experiences.
I want to expose some of the neurological events that make this important for you to know about.
When we are born our nervous system is nowhere near finished in its development. In fact of all the mammals on the planet, neurologically, humans are born about 16-18 months too early. But there is a real reason for this.
Human neurology places much more attention on the experiential side of neurological training than does other animal neurology. We use life experience as a way of learning how to survive the long term. Animals on the other hand put more emphasis on immediate survival. So they walk within minutes of being born because they don’t need to learn anything new about walking.
You might say that about humans too except that humans use the neurology of walking for many more things than just walking and become so nimble in our ability to move that we can do things with our bodies that most animals cannot.
Our neurological functions learn to be more integrated and intricate than any other on the planet.
Let’s look quickly at the process we evolve through after birth.
At birth we have two hemispheres in the brain that are wired to function in a certain genetically preferred way. But if for some reason the brain cannot use the two hemispheres it will learn to use one. Take for example the women born with only one half of the brain. She can function very normally though with some challenges because some functions of the right brain, were taken over by the left (which was not there).
In other words, what functions would have been devoted to her left brain were transferred to the right side because she had no left brain.
Be that what it may, it shows that the brain and nervous system can adapt to some of the most severe circumstances. The earlier we experience the difficulties, the earlier the brain and nervous system learn to adapt and change to meet the new circumstances. If this was done according to genetic expectations many people would die early in life.
The nervous system can and does adapt more from learning about its environment than what it is told ‘should be’ from its genetic references.
From the first breath we take our right brain is developing faster than the left. It has the job of spatial and form recognition. It hears sounds via tonal differences rather than specific words. It recognises actions and movements and decides on the response required because of the input it receives.
It has to be the first hemisphere to advance because it’s set of characteristics help to develop the neural processes that support our growth. We start life from a sense of generality and progress towards specification as we get more experiences that reinforce our world’s preferences.
The right brain is a great ‘impressionist’. It recognises life as a series of impressions and also sets up the neurology to reproduce those impressions as actions or abilities later on.
The right brain tends to accept everything without much concern for whether it is right or wrong.
At this early stage the child has little idea of the definitions of self (or the world) until the left hemisphere starts its development stage after 3 year old.
Any impressions experienced by the child from birth to 3 years old become major references for what to expect from life. Therefore anything that occurs in this time are used as memories but are not defined as we think of memories. They are impressions that are real but non-descript.
This is one of the most important jobs psychology has, to put into words, the impressions that formed our nervous system and brain before 3 years old, before we had an understanding of how words can represent these early impressions.
How does this relate to ‘Facts of Life’?
These early impressions are the basis of who we think we are in the world. Our subconscious knows who we are from going through the experience of being born but has not worked out who we are in the world until it gets more feedback from that world.
Here is where things start to heat up!
If the experiences we have early in life are all in support of our natural growth, the nervous system will develop into a stable and open learning system. If the experiences are not so supportive we develop a sense of threat which activates the genetic based response called survival.
How this happens is from the reaction we call ‘stress’. Stress is really a bad name for what is really happening though. The stress reaction is a built in neurological response to threat, something that could kill us. The stress reaction is really our reaction to something we perceive could kill us. Even if it can’t actually kill us.
Our nervous system needs certain training for complete development!
There are some specific needs our nervous system has in this early stage, one of which is direct interaction with the mother. If this is denied, the child can quickly become desperate and die from distress.
Dr. Nil Bergman from South Africa with his ‘Kangaroo Child Care System’ has shown very succinctly that the child who is separated early from the mother will grow into an adult with very predictable and series social and neurological defects.
The nervous system is growing at the fastest rate in our life and any event that threatens us during this period impresses on our nervous system very quickly and sometime permanently. They become the ‘Fact of Our Life’ which our subconscious uses to know what is threatening and what is not.
This is what makes up the ‘Survival Code’.
The more threatening events we experience and the earlier we experience them, the greater number of ‘Facts of life’ we have and use to justify our survival responses.
Our ‘Facts’ could be anything that opposes our natural neurological development. The consequence of these threatening events is to teach our nervous system that it needs to survive, so it makes the ‘Survival Code’.
What are the ‘Facts’ your subconscious uses to keep your Survival Code active? How is this directing you away from the experiences you want to have in life? Hopefully I will be able to help you find them by training the nervous system with what it needs that it never had.
To your continued health and happiness.