Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A good gardener

The brain is able to adjust its functions according to the particular context in which the subject is expected to do well. For example, cramming for the entrance examination is a context. Common sense tells us that those who do well in the cramming context do not necessary perform excellently in the general arena of life. It is simply because the contexts are different.

The orbitofrontal cortex, together with other related circuits in the brain, is responsible for the fine tuning of the coordination of brain's various circuits so that it functions properly in the context given.

It is one thing to do well in the particular context that one confronts at a particular time. It is another to choose the context in which one is supposed to perform, with minute care and unlimited imagination.

Many people, as life progresses, falls into a particular pattern of context, and learn to do well in it, but fails to have a metacognition of the context itself.

Choosing the context is an art of cultivating the vegetation that is the self, which can grow only slowly and by daily customs. One must be a good gardener in the "plantation" of the brain, making decisions on the context setting with wisdom.

The orbitofrontal cortex (from Wikipedia)

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