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This-essay is a7804031.htm which is available at the web-site See more notes at the bottom. Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay By-Months By-Years By-Words Webs of Like-&-Un-Like ESSAYS <==> Like-&-UN-Like This-One ========================================================== %CORTICAL BIFURCATION 780403 In evolutionary terms what survival value occasioned cortical bifurcation---the tendency for specialization of left and right halves of the homo-sapiens cortex? It would appear that initially the cortex developed with redundancy; i.e., two like halves offering the advantage that damage to one half left the organism still functional and able to reproduce. Initially duplicate brain halves had survival value simply as "back-up" support in the event one was damaged. As the contextual environment of homo-sapiens evolved it may be that those individuals most capable of coordinated activity had greater ability to survive than those individuals that acted independently. Coordinated activity is made possible by various forms of language. Language also facilitates internal representations to self of external processes---and so makes possible the development of understanding and prediction. Coordinated behavior is made possible by anticipation of the likely consequences of various behaviors, and through language the sharing of such anticipation, and so the coordination of behavior to achieve some commonly selected goal. Thus language, understanding, prediction, coordination, and similar functions offered survival value. At the same time there was survival value in mental functions which were holistic and more immediately sensoral-mode oriented. Those individuals who through mutation specialized both halves of the cortex into either language/anticipation or holistic/sensoral functions were probably not as able to survive as those who specialized one redundant half of the brain one way, and the other redundant half the other way. There was survival value in having both capabilities in separately specialized halves. The separate specializations offered survival advantages, but generated the problem of inter- communication between the separately specialized halves. With each half specialized in a different way the "language" of each half became different than the language of the other half. This occasioned the problem of facilitating communication between the two halves, and of centralizing decision making. To centralize decision making in one half of the brain may have been of little survival value---and so perhaps the compromise was to evolve a creature in which the "will" oscillates back and forth between complementary halves of the brain. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in Search for Integrity and Honesty (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================
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