Defined Words: mental plane, imagination
If I tell you to imagine a green bicycle, your brain will read the words “green” and “bicycle” and then your visual perceptive neurons will combine these ideas to create a green bicycle that you can “see” but one that does not exist in reality.
Your consciousness refers to the perceptive neurons that receive signals from your sensory organs to interpret and react to your surroundings. The human consciousness is able to access both sensory and memory neurons. The memory neurons allow us to hang on to information that we’re trying to manipulate in our minds.
Our earlier example stimulated the neural clusters of “green” and “bicycle” and allowed you to create a new idea of a green bicycle, made from the visual information of “green” and “bicycle.” The memory neurons that temporarily hold the newly created idea is called the mental plane, though you may have heard of it called your imagination.
Your consciousness is made up of perceptive neurons that don’t always have to be connected to sensory neurons. You’ll notice that closing your eyes gives you a more vivid mental image and plugging your ears allows you to imagine sounds more clearly. By shutting out a sensory stimulus, you allow resources to be allocated to the mental plane from your blank senses.
Your consciousness allocates to your mental plane every night as you create vivid images and sounds in your mental plane while you sleep. This allows your sensory neurons to rest without fully turning your consciousness off. In a way, you are actually experiencing the dreams in the same way as life even though your body is not.
The mental plane is incredibly useful for playing out scenarios, seeing a problem from multiple angles, or predicting causality between trends. Our conscious access to the mental plane is the main reason our ancestors had a competitive advantage in nature. Let’s empathize with a recent ancestor to better understand.
Imagine a hominid ancestor has separated from her tribe and is in danger from predators. She sees rocks on the ground around her and, with a little investigation, determines them to be very dense. She knows that the rocks are denser than animal hide since her tribe members use similar rocks to hunt. She thinks that if a predator were hit with one of the rocks, it would hurt. She decides to pick up the rock and carry it with her as a defense against anything that wishes to harm her while searching for her family.
Our ancestor used the idea of relative hardness of the rock and predators in order to make the decision to use the rock as a weapon. Without access to the mental plane, we would not be able to manipulate stored memory in order to solve problems.
Many of our cognitive brain functions utilize our mental plane. It’s important to remember that, just like with the motor center, your conscious access to the mental plane needs to be trained. Fully utilize the tools at your disposal and you will see how incredible you really are.