Friday, March 19, 2010

The human organism cannot survive as a bundle of neural reflexes, or even of stimulus-response learning pathways. In order to perform within the infinitely complex ecosystem to which it became adapted, it needed to establish autonomy from the genetically determined instructions that had shaped its behaviour through the long eons of its evolution.

The system that has evolved to provide this autonomy is the self. The function of the self is to mediate between the genetic instructions that manifest themselves as ‘instinctual drives’ and the cultural instructions that appear as norms and rules. The self must prioritise between these various behavioral instructions and select among them the ones it wants to endorse.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - The flow experience of human psychology