The central nervous system governs our actions. It is the central processing unit, of everything we do, everything we create. Every living thing has been subject to different stimuli from birth, and even the same stimuli is interpreted differently according to one's set of paradigms. The repository for memory and reasoning is in the complex organism that we term the brain and from there stems the world as we perceive it. Behaviour is the way we interact with and respond to our surrounding environment. All the mechanisms that interpret or carry out these behaviours are found in the central nervous system. So it can be said that "the brain" is behaviour. But there are certain aspects of what we call life that are harder to explain with this hypothesis.

The concept of soul is very difficult to interpret. We would like to believe that there is something more eternal than just this $5.49 collection of chemicals and flesh, that we call the body. The brain in order to justify this need that have thought up for ourselves, has generated an abstract idea that we term "soul". As with many other things, the aura, the guardian angel, that some believe to be parts of ourselves, these are creations of the imaginative and reasoning side of the brain. We can think ourselves into believing that we need something and the immensely powerful brain will create the answer.

The brain as I conceive of it, is divided into many parts each of which interacts in ways which are so all encompassing and complex that we cannot completely decipher it. The mystery that is the brain is large enough to hold all that we do not understand and more that we have yet to discover.

The brain is a highly creative entity, which is capable of dreaming up infinitely abstract concepts and presenting them to the world in such diverse forms as science and art, yet it is all response and creation with our inner universe. The concept of creativity, is one of these harder concepts to explain only in terms of the brain. Many would like to believe that it is the divine gift of a muse that it comes from some region far from us, and that the body is merely the vessel of its interpretation. But somewhere in the deep regions of the highly convoluted mass above the neck, there is a region from wherein stems our creativity. We contain the power in our brains to create creativity and invent gods to whom we can attribute such "gifts", all encompassed in behaviour.

The concept of self too, is more all encompassing than just the brain. Self is an awareness of who we are, and what we are doing here more than just filling up space. It is a sense of higher purpose, which is hardest to explain in terms of only the brain. We want to feel part of a complete web, and to fulfil some destiny, or else forge our own. We extend this imaginative abstract, including the ego, to the body which contains us and our personal space. We have an area around and within us, which we always hold secret, but how and why is hard to explain in terms of behaviour. Why are we self contained, why are made into one being ?

The collective unconscious too, is difficult to explain. The feeling of identity with a whole mass of people, and a group as a culture. The sense of belonging and being which is more than just interpersonal interaction but a sense of being right where one belongs. These are the inherited dreams of generations, which are more than genes but an important sense of identification with those who have gone before. Within this too there is the feeling of deja vu, which though not scientifically proven is still a part of us, the idea that we may have lived before and passed through other lives, and we carry the memories with us. Instinct is part of this collective unconscious. These are interior feelings which give us guidelines on how to survive, but yet the way in which we either choose to follow or deny our instincts is part of the reasoning which is behaviour.

Fear, too, is harder to explain. Why we fear, and why is it that we fear certain things, sometimes seems completely irrational. We do not know why we fear, only that it is a protective survival mechanism, imparted by the brain. That which we fear may indeed be harmful to ourselves, consciously or unconsciously. Fear may indeed be part of the brain because we can learn to master it, and so learn from it and cease to fear it.

The conscious and unconscious while being explanatory precepts are still hard to explain in terms of the brain. They are in a sense our "excuses" for the way in which we live. We say that there is an unconscious in our minds which we do not use. Some part of our brain which is hidden away and works in mysterious ways to solve that which our active, "conscious" reasoning cannot not sort out.

All of the above are abstract concepts which the brain has created in some way or another to explain what it has sensed and so reason it so that we can deal with it. It is very difficult to deal with the unknown that has no name. We must name that which is pertinent to us, so that we can have it as part of our makeup. This too is part of behaviour and so contained within the brain.

The need to have a control center within us, something that we are masters over is one of the main reasons why we concentrate our behaviour and perceptions of behaviour in the brain. It is a terribly difficult concept to conceive that we may indeed not be masters of ourselves, but that there is something external to us. Thus brain is behaviour is very true, it contain ourselves completely, how we choose to live and interact with the world, but there are still some aspects of this life which are hard to explain.

Emily Dickinson agrees with you: The Brain - is wider than the sky - For - put them side by side - The one the other will contain With ease - and you - beside. I too think largely as you have written. And yes, of course, questions remain. The nature of coherence, both internal ("one being") and social ("sense of belonging") is a big one. Related to this are the issues of "control centers" and the distinction between internal and external.

We'll take at least a crack at all this, neither expecting to get it "right" but believing we can (because of the brain and the interaction of brains) get it less wrong. PG