“Think about this: What memories do you two want Jon to have of his childhood?”
“Think about this: What memories do you two want Jon to have of his childhood?” the counselor asked.
“Not of arguing!” said his father. “We’re on it. The only way is up!”
“Could we bring Jon with us some time to learn more about upshifting?” asked his wife.
Fast forward two weeks . . .
When the three arrived at the counsellor’s office, Jon had a list of questions. He began by saying, “My folks have been talking about ‘downshifting.’ That seems too simple.”
The counsellor smiled. “One of the pluses of this metaphor is its absolute simplicity, which in turn can be helpful. Remember: If the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn’t.
“My brain’s opinion is that knowing something about brain function, even through the use of a simple metaphor, is better than not understanding even that much.”
“Knowing “something”? Knowing what?” Jon asked.
“Like knowing that the cluster of brain structures associated with the 3rd brain layer, the neocortex or cerebrum, is involved in high-level cognition and conscious thought.
And that structures associated with the 2nd brain layer, the mammalian or limbic brain, are involved with functions related to social and nurturing behaviours, mutual reciprocity and memory.
And knowing that the 1st brain layer or reptilian brain structures contribute basic functions that help keep you alive and that run ritualistic behaviours and motor sequences—including those that allow you to play video games.
“Although all layers interact at some level, each also contributes distinct functions,” the counsellor explained. “And when you think of the layers as gears—like those in a vehicle’s automatic transmission—that can help you better understand the natural brain phenomenon called downshifting.”