Wonders and Woes of your Basal Ganglia

eweber   October 9, 2008   12 Comments

It’s both brainpower for mastery of ethical practices and at times your slave master to cynical opposites.  Unless you understand the brain’s equipment at work, you can easily fall into a basal ganglia’s propensity for ruts and miss its zest for rejuvenation. How so?

Your brain’s basal ganglia opens wonderful windows of solidarity and reliability on one hand, while shutting down your ability to risk change and adventure the next. When you reach for an object without much effort or step up stairs without have to think about each step, thank your basal ganglia’s built in memory for movement.  The opposite is also true, when you face tired broken systems, for instance, blame people’s basal ganglia stubborn resistance to change.  

While we still have much to learn, science is shedding light on how a basal ganglia can work for and against mind-bending performances:

It stores remarkable memories on one hand, and plagues you with horrific past errors on the other.

It provides you with stored facts to succeed one day and  locks you into rigid ruts the next.

It holds invaluable traditions with one move and shuts out rejuvenation with the next.

Its routines that add reliability today, often prevent peak performance possibilities tomorrow.

It helps people to override fear with old habits, but then creates fear from standstill stagnation.

It can collaborate with working memory in the long run, yet compete with memory in the short.

It leaves you solid and predictable one day, and unable to change or improve the next.

It offers you lifetime friendships on one hand, yet prevents new relationships on the other.

It gives enjoyment of music with one stroke, while locking out new genres with the next.

It leaves you a faithful colleague on one day, yet can render you inflexible soon after.

It maintains your mastery in some skills, and prevents you from learning others you need.

While it offers you a level of comfort fromthe ease of familiarity, the brain’s basal ganglia is also a great hindrance to growth people crave and success requires. Remove it and you’ll likely take off for work naked, if you get there at all. Fall prey to it’s lack of change, though,  and you may find yourself locked into dangerous racism, sexism and other one-sided views or practices picked up over time, and without much reflection.

Check out this video for another look at your basal ganglia. Where are you today, in relation to your brain’s basil ganglia?

12 thoughts on “Wonders and Woes of your Basal Ganglia

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