Lizard Brain Thoughts

Common Side-blotched Lizard

Supposedly, we all possess three brains and no, your Apple brand hand brain does not count as one of them. We all have human brains (supposedly), which is built upon an earlier kind of brain, our mammal brain. It in turn is built upon our earliest brain form, our reptile brain. This so-called lizard brain manages all of our most base instincts. Think primal thoughts like the survival instincts of freeze, flight or fight. Succeeding brain forms are built on this lizard brain and deal with more intellectual aspects of life. Like, where to go out for lunch?

In education this dichotomy between higher and lower brain functions is known as the phenomenon of the wizard-lizard brain. This concept is taught to help children better manage their feeling and help them control their own behavior. Somehow in teaching, it always comes down to behavior. Now doesn’t it?

In the desert, where I have observed many a lizard in the wild, the twin defense mechanisms freeze or flight are the most commonly exhibited. When first observed, a lizard might be frozen motionless, hoping not to be noticed. If you stop and observe them long enough though, they will eventually figure out that you see them and then usually take flight. Occasionally, though they want to put up a fight. For lizards their fighting display consists of doing what looks like pushups. It’s not that they are attempting to develop upper body strength, but rather by pushing their bodies up, they hope to make themselves look bigger and fiercer and then maybe scare you off instead. Hey, I’m not a real psychologist, but while practicing on lizard brains, I like to pretend to play one and through them connect more closely with my own inner lizard brain. 🦎

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