In the human quest for a cosmic view of life, a better understanding of the brain is of central importance. In both its substance and communicative capacity, the brain is incommensurate with our presumed instruments of precision used to gauge “the world out there.” Might not certain problems be resolved if we were more conversant with the limitations of the subjective brain? Take, for example, questions regarding the origin of the universe. Some physicists calculate that there was a moment when there was infinite density at a point in space, whereas others claim that at time zero “the whole universe, the infinite space, was filled with an infinite density of matter.” Or consider the nature of time and space (Kant’s “transcendental aesthetic”), which do not exist per se, but are derivatives of the subjective brain, being purely information that is of itself neither matter nor energy. Foremost of all, it is possible that further knowledge of the subjective brain (“epistemics”) might give insights into the meaning of life and justification for the perpetuation of life with the untold suffering that afflicts so many forms of life.


Limbic System Emotional Feeling Limbic Cortex Early Mammal Blind Message 
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Further reading

  1. Darlington CD (1978): A diagram of evolution. Nature 276: 447–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Jacob F (1977): Evolution and tinkering. Science 196: 1161–1166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. MacLean PD (1952): Some psychiatric implications of physiological studies on frontotemporal portion of limbic system (visceral brain). Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 4: 407–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. MacLean PD (1970): The triune brain, emotion, and scientific bias. In: The Neurosciences Second Study Program, Schmitt FO, ed. New York: Rockefeller University Press.Google Scholar
  5. MacLean PD (1975): On the evolution of three mentalities. Man-Environment Systems 5: 213–224. Reprinted in New Dimensions in Psychiatry; A World View, vol 2, Arieti S, Chrzanowski G, eds. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1977; and Human Evolution: Biosocial Perspectives, Perspectives on Human Evolution, vol 4, Washburn SL, McCown ER, eds. Menlo Park, Calif.: Benjamin/ Cummings Publishing.Google Scholar
  6. MacLean PD (1985): Brain evolution relating to family, play, and the separation call. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 42: 405–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Weisskopf VF (1983): The origin of the universe. Am Sci 71: 473–480.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul D. MacLean

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