and the Physical and Social Environments:
Humans are a product of genes, memes and the physical and social environments. All physiological and psychological processes of the human organism are a result of the interaction between genes, memes and the physical and social environments.
Genes are units of
biological information that build organisms. Memes are units of cultural information
that help humans to live more successfully on earth. The physical environment is all of
nature around us, and the social environment is all the people and social
institutions around us.
All members of the
human species share a common genome which is the genetic information in our DNA
that directs the construction of an organism. We all look human, but we donít all look
alike. We all look human because we
are one species with a common genome.
But we all look different because of the genetic recombination which took
place when our fatherís sperm cell fertilized our motherís ovum (egg).
An individualís set of
genes in their DNA is called their genotype. The physical expression of the genotype,
the organismís body and behavior, is called a phenotype. The phenotype is a result of the
interaction between genotype and physical and social environments, including the
cultural environment of memes. The
human organism has been designed by evolution and natural selection to
efficiently and effectively survive and reproduce.
Humans, by virtue of
the universal human genome, all share the same anatomical structures and
physiological and biochemical processes.
These include the structure and neurological processes of the brain. All humans share a common psychological
architecture which springs from a common neurological architecture of the
The brain is an
information processing organ which is designed to process information for the
organism so that it can survive and reproduce in the physical and social
environments and try to adapt, if possible, if these environments change.
architecture is a collection of many neural circuits which process
information. There are neural
circuits which work on their own without us even knowing it; these are the
circuits that control our automatic bodily and mental processes There are also neural circuits
which we consciously use to get through our day to day life of surviving and
reproducing. These neural circuits
produce our conscious mind which directs our conscious daily activities. Our unique and individual patterns of
thought, emotion and behavior, which are built upon our accumulated memories,
together comprise our personality.
Our personality is the ďI and meĒ which interacts consciously with the
physical and social environments.
We have neural
circuits that help us avoid danger, eat the right food, form social alliances
and friendships, raise children and help relatives, understand other peopleís
minds, communicate with other people and select mates. Within these major circuits there are
many other sub-circuits which altogether form the universal brain/psychological
architecture as directed by the human genome.
We all share the same
neurological and psychological architecture but we donít all share the same
culture. The different cultures of
the world are a result of different environmental and historical experiences and
challenges. From a universal brain
and psychological architecture spring many different cultures by people who are
adapting to different circumstances and having different cumulative experiences
and histories. Different peoples
living in different times, places and circumstances have created different memes
(ideas, beliefs & practices) that make up their culture. But even people of the same culture
donít all think, feel and behave the same because of the unique and
individualized interaction of their genes, memes and physical and social
The human brain is the
most powerful information processor on earth and is more powerful than the most
powerful supercomputer. What is the
mind? The mind is what the brain
does. The mind is a result of the
information processing of the brain which is a result of neurochemical
Not all human thought, emotion and behavior patterns are biological/neurological adaptations engineered by natural selection. Most of our great human achievements like religion, philosophy, art and science are not adaptations but are by-products or side-effects of the combined information processing abilities of our brains evolved circuitry. From the large collection of content-specific circuits spring our content-general information processing abilities. For example, the intuitive physics and naturalist intelligence that we come genetically equipped with lended themselves to scientific thinking, while our module for social exchange lended itself to logic. However, even though these lofty human abilities are not adaptations per se, they are examples of the way that memes Ė cultural ideas Ė directly and indirectly support and enhance our existence. Religion has obvious mental health and social solidarity control functions, while science aids us in our exploitation of the earthís resources.
Psychology is the study of human thought, emotion
and behavior. When we study humans,
if we want to get a real understanding, we need to always keep in mind Genes, Memes and the Physical and Social