In a recent book “Brain and Culture” (MIT Press), Dr. Bruce Wexler, a Yale psychiatrist, considers some of the many implications of brain plasticity research for cultural progressions. One special point of his book is the way that our brains specialize, through our plasticity mechanisms, to create a model of the culture (our world) into which we just happen to have been born. Once that model is deeply embedded within us, through massive schedules of progressive learning, it dominates our operational life. We literally grow the attributes of the culture into which we are immersed into ourSelves — and literally embed strong representations of our mates, families, clans, tribe, and nation into the Persons that evolve within us, through brain plasticity.

Putting on his hat as a psychiatrist, the eminent Dr. Wexler then considers the consequences of a large-scale disruption of our plasticity-created personhood — the loss of a loved one (which is a loss of a part of ourselves); immersion into a substantially new culture (immigration); imprisonment; et alia. You can hear Dr. Wexler briefly talk about this subject in person, with his friend (your scribe) here:

I recommend this book to you, for learning more about yourself, and for understanding more about how your brain has specialized you to operate successfully in your world– and how it is perhaps limiting your successful adjustments to the rapid evolution of your culture — because you now find yourself living largely outside of your special (native) culture — because you have lost someone very dear to you, and don’t fully understand why that loss has been so difficult to overcome — among many other examples.