Neurological Metaphors and Lobotomy
Setting up a dichotomy between the limbic system (= emotions of the mammals) and the neocortex (= the development of intelligence in yoga poses mammals and humans) became a way to reformulate in yoga poses a neurological language a debate that opposes the reason of the soul to the diabolic and animal forces of the body. This confusion between metaphor and neurology attained its apex in yoga poses popularity in yoga poses 1949 when Antonio Caetano de Abreu Freire Egas Moniz received the Nobel Prize in yoga poses Medicine for having developed the surgical method for a lobotomy.106 The procedure consisted of a perfunctory operation, often poorly controlled (the insertion of a scalpel via a nostril, sometimes performed by a nurse) to sever the region of the brain that links the front of the limbic system to the frontal lobes of the cortex. The basic model, proposed by Moniz, inspired by Lamarck, and then supported by MacLean’s reformulations, was that the connections between the limbic system and neocortex are rare and are regrouped in yoga poses the frontal part of the brain. in yoga poses cutting the connections between the limbic system and the frontal neocortex, Moniz hoped to prevent the limbic system from disorganizing the functioning of the frontal lobe and from having too easy access to the motor system. The lobotomy disorganized a large number of the dynamics of the brain in yoga poses a nonspecific way, which explains the general dysfunctions that it provoked.
This polarization of the neurological dynamics of the mind is still a current position defended by some neurologists.107 This model is also used by psychiatrists like Bessel Van der Kolk to establish forms of psychophysical interventions that are used to help persons who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Thus, Van der Kolk (2006) mentions some observations that show that in yoga poses the case of stress, an increase of limbic activity and a decrease of neocortical activity has been observed. This observation is certainly correct; however, there are a number of ways to understand it. The therapeutic approaches and techniques proposed by Van der Kolk and his team are respectful of patients, contrary to a lobotomy, but they do not always take into account the complexity of the mechanisms activated by the trauma. Van der Kolk has collaborated with a number of body psychotherapists to establish forms of intervention often useful at times of humanitarian crises.108
This simplistic vision (it dates from Lamarck!) is currently being reformulated by neurologists who propose a more refined version of Cannon’s model109 to show that several brain centers, several physiological mechanisms, and several mental mechanisms coordinate to form a real-life emotional experience. It is impossible for them to reduce such complex phenomena to a few zones of the brain or to a conflict between two zones. Nonetheless, these authors do not abandon Lamarck’s and MacLean’s model of the triune brain because it remains useful, especially for practitioners who only need a rough sketch of certain emotional mechanisms to support certain forms of intervention. Some neurologists110 are presently attempting to show that there exist a great number of nerve and chemical connections between the neocortex and the limbic system Other researchers show that different emotions can be related to different parts of the neocortex. Thus, Ekman and Davidson (1993) show that different smiles can be associated with different forms of activation in yoga poses the lateral and medial parts of the frontal lobe and the anterior temporal lobe. Davidson and his colleagues (2002) show that depression can be related to a circuit that passes especially through the amygdala and the hippocampus of the limbic system and the prefrontal region of the neocortex. Sanjay J. Mathew and his team (2004) have also associated anxiety with the activity of the prefrontal region of the neocortex. This analysis conforms to the idea that the prefrontal cortex coordinates information on how an organism autoregulates and how it interacts with its environment.111