Community Brain Theory?

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Yes. We may think that our brain is in our head, but it is designed to reach far beyond that, and because it is a living organism, it does. By itself.

You're in there somewhere!

In Powerchange we know that it is not possible to NOT communicate. Human beings are designed to influence each other’s thinking, trade resources and team up, and that happens automatically whenever people meet together. We can inhibit the process by causing division, suspicion and isolation, but that inhibition is itself a communication.  Far better for you and the rest of your community to collaborate intelligently with the way human resources work best: when they are linked together.

So how, according to Community Brain Theory, does it work?

Human beings communicate through the five senses, and give out signals via body, speech, touch, facial expressions, tonality, etc.  We take in information through our eyes, ears, skin (touch again) nose and mouth (this time through taste, not words) and a complex blend of each of those. They are interpreted by our brain to provide meaning and clarity so that we make sense of the input we are receiving.  Even when we are asleep the process continues: a cry from a baby, the smell of smoke, an unfamiliar noise, or a bright light will be interpreted by our brain in ‘unconscious’ mode and alert us if necessary.

When we are awake we instinctively know how important it is to connect with others.  The truth is, our survival depends on all our brains working together to produce the future.

Let’s see how this works:

The alarm goes, we get up and put on an image that is chosen to communicate what we want others to think of us.  Among many other things, our clothes indicate status (pinstripe suit or boiler suit?), state of mind (smart or casual?) and how we want others to perceive us (sharp or relaxed.)  Things like make-up, hairstyle, after-shave, posture,and cleanliness all send out signals, intentionally or not, of what is going on in this person.

A few words with the booking clerk at the station gets us a ticket to town, phone calls during the day drum up more business, the email we send to the boss gets us promotion (or maybe the sack!) and the private call to a new friend gets us a dinner date for the evening. (We don’t know until later that it produces a life-partner and four children.) We chat to a trustworthy colleague about the forthcoming date, and on the way back to our desk notice a poster on the noticeboard about a children’s charity we’re interested in. We decide to enquire further. Dinner goes well, and we decide to meet up again – soon.

And so it goes on. More and more links. One brings a new job. Another a new friend. Another … who knows where any of them might lead. And each of those connections actually changes the physical structure of our brain and subtly adjusts the way we think.

Community Brain Theory (my label for the explanation of this collaborative process) encourages mutual interdependence. It as if your community is a body, with arms, legs, a head, and a central nervous system that works in harmony and reaches out to other communities that it itself needs. Through the integration of those millions of above- and below-the-surface connections your life is enriched, you and your family thrive, and you have the opportunity to serve others – an essential ingredient to emotional and psychological health.

In fact, without that participatory integration, you will surely die, just as a severed finger dies when separated from the body, so your brain starts to die when it becomes separated from the stimulation of a wider community.

It appears we are designed to collaborate, it seems, and just for the record, I’d like to find a way to collaborate with you.

Any ideas?     Mail me at andrew@powerchange.com

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No comments

  1. Community brain theory -what a great concept! Here’s a couple of ‘chew it over’ questions…
    1) What role does ‘space’ play in that theory…is it disconnecting from the community or is it an important part of how it works? Or something else altogether?
    2) If my actions and communications have an impact on others’ responses and actions, how responsible am I for others’ behaviour within the community?

    I love your posts. They help me enjoy thinking!

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