Contributed by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD, DLFAPA
Our brain is an ambitious organ. It tries to do too many things — often contradictory — in its effort to accommodate conflicting traits of our nature.
Our nature is a mix of selfish and social traits.
Further, the brain is very complicated in its functions, as almost all of its phenotypic expressions are emergent phenomena of complexity, involving — more often than not — the entire range of brain functions. So, it is both easy and commonplace for things to go wrong, permanently, though much more frequently as a transient dysfunctions. A dysfunction may be expressed as anxiety attacks, severe insomnia, depression, paraphoras (Greek for being in a rage and besides oneself), over-diligence, or errors in thinking to the level of transient paranoia! Or, it may be expressed through committing social boo-boos to our detriment.
Each one of us during our life-time, will have its own share of dysfunctions. This is also true for our body functions: a pneumonia here, an appendix removal there, or a broken bone, or dental infections.
It is, though, strange to feel conformable to view our medical history as a natural collection of unavoidable life mishaps; but, we tenaciously clink to the notion that there is a model of a “normal brain functions “ against which we tend to judge ourselves with shame and embarrassment. Feeling that our free will is unlimited and protecting us, while in fact we humans indeed have a choice of a range of options in behavior but only within the boundaries of our nature as humans in general and our individual temperament with its own vulnerabilities to external circumstances in particular. In addition we have the vulnerabilities of our brain to occasional malfunctions mentioned above.
The morale of the story: while should be diligent and follow the rules, we also should have charity for our selves and compassion and empathy for our fellow humans. Pity for you, pity me, pity for everybody in being human. (The Bible may say it somewhere.)
Copyright © 2016 by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD
For more information on Dr. Pediaditakis and his Raleigh NC mental health clinic, visit his Facebook page.
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