Before beginning our study of cerebral control, it is very important that you understand how the brain functions, as far as perception, developing ideas, sensations and actions are concerned.
There are a number of modern theories, but let’s look at the simplest one, which accepts the existence of two different functional centers, called the conscious or objective brain, and the unconscious or subjective brain.
We will use the former terms, with the understanding that neither provides a perfect definition. Given the existence of two centers, we see that the unconscious brain is, in a general way, the originator of ideas and sensations, and that the conscious brain acts as a kind of regulator, i.e. it is the conscious brain that is responsible for reason, judgment and willpower.
This theory of two distinct centers may seem hypothetical, but it is not really so. Whether we call them centers, or groups of nerve cells is only a question of semantics. The fact is certain, however, that a “conscious self” and an “unconscious self” are present in the sense we have described above, and although it is true that their exact anatomical location is not yet known, they must really exist. Proof of this assertion is furnished through hypnosis, whose influence suspends the conscious functioning of the brain. If something can be suspended temporarily, then it must exist.
The unconscious self is the primitive, primary brain; the conscious self evolved from this primary self and led to the formation of reason, judgment, in short of all conscious faculties. Therefore, the subconscious can be called the primary center, and the conscious brain the secondary, or evolved centre.
There is nothing arbitrary or hypothetical about attributing conscious activity to certain groups of cells or nerves. And we must accept this duality in order to understand what we call cerebral control.
This division is hardly perceptible in normal persons, since an idea or a perceived sensation is the result of the work effected by both centers; people are usually not aware of the particular processes being carried out by each center. But in cases which fall into the class of nervous disorders, this duality is accentuated, and patients generally become more or less aware of the distinction.
There has been an attempt to associate certain psychoneuroses with the subconscious brain; but it seems to me to that we are more likely to find a cause in the imbalance and disharmony between the two parts of the brain; it is the link between them which creates a healthy, normal person, and the more or less pronounced separation between the conscious and subconscious brains which leads to disease.
At first glance, it may appear that a perfect balance of the conscious and subconscious minds depends on the equilibrium of each of the parts, but in reality this is not very important. A perfectly balanced individual may have a preponderance for one or the other part of the brain. Nervous persons in particular are often observed to place more emphasis on the subconscious brain, without necessarily becoming ill. All he or she has to do is learn to control it.