I love the brain. It’s beautiful in its complexity, but, down at its depths, it’s the same bits you’d find in a lizard or chicken or chupacabra. Our cerebral cortex, with its billions of neurons and trillions of connections, sits atop a bare-bones, eons-old structure, like a mansion built atop an old workshed. This situation, my friends, is why we tend to suck so much.
You see, these old structures are built solely to keep us alive, whether that means breathing, pooping, or making you eat three plates at a buffet. I’m kind of lumping a lot of brain structures together, but it’s to emphasize a point: The parts of our brain that have dreams and hopes, that have standards for what we eat or who we date, the ones where romance and love and symbolism arise; these all have to contend with a big subcortical jerk.