Our Multigenerational Brain

Tom Meyers
5 min readApr 13, 2024

Dive into the captivating journey of “Our Multigenerational Brain,” where the intricate workings of our minds mirror the rich dynamics of a family living under one roof. This enthralling exploration not only sheds light on the evolutionary marvel that is our brain but also draws a vivid analogy between its ancient and modern components and the generational interactions within a household. From the instinctual vigilance of the reptilian brain to the innovative spark of the neocortex, discover how these diverse elements of our consciousness clash, collaborate, and ultimately converge to guide us through the challenges of change. As we navigate the complexities of adapting to an ever-evolving world, this narrative offers a refreshing perspective on leveraging our inherent capacities for growth, resilience, and purposeful evolution. Uncover the art of balancing the wisdom of age with the curiosity of youth, not just to survive but to thrive in the face of the new and the unknown. “Our Multigenerational Brain” is more than an article; it’s an invitation to ponder, dream, and actively shape the future, embracing change not as an obstacle but as the essence of our humanity.

In the vibrant tapestry of human existence, the brain stands as a testament to our evolutionary journey, mirroring the complexities and dynamics of a multigenerational household. This fascinating analogy invites us to explore how different generations within a family — and correspondingly, different parts of our brain — interact, adapt, and evolve in the face of change.

At the core of our beings, nestled deep within the brain, resides what could be linked to the wise and steadfast grandparent: the reptilian brain. This ancient part of our brain is tasked with our most primal functions — those that ensure survival. It‘s the instinctual guardian of our basic life processes, responding to the world with a simplicity that has ensured the continuation of our species for millennia.

As we move through the layers of neural complexity, we encounter the limbic system, akin to the parental generation. This part of the brain enriches our lives with emotions and memories, guiding us through the social complexities of human relationships. It‘s the emotional heart of the household, fostering connections and ensuring the continuation of our deepest values and traditions.

Then, at the pinnacle of this cerebral hierarchy, shines the neocortex: the vibrant, curious child, brimming with potential and a thirst for innovation. This is the seat of our creativity, our problem-solving abilities, and our capacity for complex thought. It‘s what enables us to look beyond the horizon, to imagine, plan, and dream.

However, just as in any family, conflicts can arise. The reptilian brain, with its instinctual caution, often resists change, preferring the safety of the known. The neocortex, meanwhile, thrives on novelty and exploration, constantly seeking to expand the boundaries of our understanding and experience.

This internal tension mirrors the generational dynamics within a household, where the wisdom of age and the boldness of youth must find a common ground. Just as the younger generation can introduce their elders to the wonders of new technology, showing them the benefits of adapting to change, the neocortex can guide the more primitive parts of our brain towards a more harmonious response to new challenges.

But how can this be achieved without resorting to integrating technology? The answer lies in the art of gentle persuasion and the power of example. Just as a grandchild might patiently show a grandparent how to use a smartphone, highlighting its benefits and easing their fears, the neocortex can influence our more instinctual responses through gradual exposure to new experiences, scenarios, and future thinking — in other words, planning ahead — coupled with positive reinforcement.

Imagine confronting a fear of heights not by shying away from high places, but by gradually and safely exposing oneself to them, thereby teaching the reptilian brain that these situations are not a threat. Or consider the enriching process of learning a new skill later in life, which, though it challenges the brain‘s established patterns, ultimately leads to growth and a profound sense of achievement. Similarly, envision crafting a “DNA for the future“ — the core elements of our being that remain constant, yet can be expressed in myriad ways. This approach offers a method to construct ‘if this, then that‘ scenarios, providing the stability and security the reptilian brain seeks when confronted with new challenges.

In essence, the neocortex, with its capacity for reflection, planning, and foresight, can lead the way in adapting to change, teaching the rest of the brain that new experiences are not only manageable but also safe. This internal dialogue between the old and the new, the instinctual and the thoughtful, guiding our behaviour and actions going forward, can initiate a new step in our evolution. A step to flourish and thrive while the world around us is changing further and faster. Since our natural evolution is too slow, requiring generations to make the adaptive changes — time we do not have — the only option left to us is to help it evolve on purpose. It is what we are made to do.

In weaving together the threads of our discussion, we arrive at a poignant reflection on the essence of human resilience and adaptability, as mirrored in the intricate dance of generations within both our families and our minds. As the neocortex, our beacon of innovation and foresight, harmonises with the ancient, instinctual parts of our brain, we‘re reminded of the perpetual interplay between tradition and transformation. This delicate balance propels us forward, urging us not merely to adapt to the changing landscapes around us but to thrive within them.

Our journey through the multigenerational brain illuminates a profound truth: that embracing change is not just an act of survival but a testament to our inherent capacity for growth and evolution. It invites us to ponder, to dream, and to question how we can actively shape our future, rather than merely responding to it. In this moment of reflection, we‘re called to consider how our own internal dialogues, between the cautious wisdom of experience and the boundless curiosity of youth, can guide us toward a more harmonious and fulfilling existence.

As the world whirls around us, faster and more unpredictably than ever, our challenge — and indeed, our opportunity — is to harness the collective wisdom of all parts of our brain. By doing so, we not only honour the legacy of those who came before us but also lay the groundwork for generations yet to come. In this light, our multigenerational brain doesn‘t just offer a metaphor for adaptation; it embodies a blueprint for flourishing and thriving in an ever-evolving world. So let us step forward, with courage and purpose, into the future we wish to create, embracing the change not as a force to be feared, but as the very essence of what it means to be human.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the analogy of the multigenerational family, as well as the emerging concept of ‘evolopsis’ that I am developing. Indeed, without the assistance of ChatGPT, this article might have remained just an idea in my brain.




Tom Meyers

Tom Meyers is an osteopath M.Sc. D.0., Founder the Reaset Approach, Author Futurize Yourself & The Futures Effect