I was born in a culture where thinking about your neighbor, sharing one’s life and possessions with others was part and parcel of the air we breathed in the village. I am using the term village to mean my family, relative and friends who helped raise, nurture and prepare me for life, thus the proverbial phrase “it take a village to raise a child.” The implicit element of caring of oneself, was always a given. To the best of my memorial abilities, very few people on the village claimed Christianity or any dogmatic allegiance to a particular faith or creed as the motivation for our behaviors and existence. For me, the affirmation of faith in an organized religious manner came later on. Now as a person of faith, I have often wondered about the source of such relational predispositions, since humans being have been endowed with opportunities for relationships both at a rational and emotional level. While reading Brook’s book called “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement”, I entertained the thought that I might understand some more about the complexities that surround human beings, the brain and relational abilities. Brooks writes:
The conscious mind writes the autobiography of our species. Unaware of what is going on deep down inside, the conscious mind assigns itself the starring role. It gives itself credit for performing all sorts of tasks it doesn’t really control. It creates views of the world that highlight those elements it can understand and ignores the rest. As a result, we have become accustomed to a certain constricted way of describing our lives. Plato believed that reason was the civilized part of the brain, and we would be happy so long as reason subdued the primitive passions. Rationalist thinkers believed that logic was the acme of intelligence, and mankind was liberated as reason conquered habit and superstition. … Many of these doctrines have faded, but people are still blind to the way unconscious affections and aversion shape daily life.
When I look into my upbringing, I realize that my history is packed with numerous conscious and unconscious events. The wealth of relational capital mentioned at the being of this post continues to be a remarkable gift I highly cherish among others. Even though Brook discusses more subjects like culture, character, decision making et cetera, the importance of being aware of the function of both the conscious and the unconscious was intriguing. Indeed, I am here captivated by the idea that the coin of love might have two sides, the conscious and the unconscious. How is such a reality to be nurtured in the sometimes battle field of individualistic traits against communitarian ones and vice versa? Research shows that “belief in inherent human selfishness and separateness leads to the acceptance of hyper-competitive behavior and an overemphasis on self-development.”
Brook’s material invited me to reflect on what it takes for a human being to know more about being human. Admittedly, I am not well informed with Neuroscience and even found my self-questioning Brook’ technical authority on the subject at times since he is a journalist not a neuroscientist; yet I was strengthened by science’s potential to elucidate more about both the inner and out sides of human life. There is a lot to process in Brooks book and for now, I am left to ponder on Brook’ following words:
Our experience of ourselves is misleading. We have a sense that there is a central spot in our brains where information is processed, options are considered, and decisions are made. We have a voice in our head, which seems to be responsible for what we do. We have a sense that as we look out onto the world we are aware of what we are seeing. But these propositions are not quite right. There is no central homunculus-no simple self- making decision. The voice in the head may think it is in control, but in fact it is a mere supporting actor, un-aware of the main protagonists down below. We are not aware of most of what we see and sense around us, or even of how we are responding to it. We are not who we think we are
 David Brook, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement (London: Short Books, 2011), xi- xii.
 Jennifer Nedelsky, Law’s Relations: A Relational Theory of Self, Autonomy, and Law (New York: Oxford University Press 2011), 118-123.
 David Brook, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement (London: Short Books, 2011), 377.