Some neuroscientists call the prefrontal cortex the CEO of the brain, because it’s supposedly in control of your executive functions, your conscious decisions and thoughts, and how you create narratives about yourself and reality.
But as a Latinx writer who cares about how we use metaphor, I don’t like the CEO image.
The model is based on capitalism, corporations and profit. And even though it’s ONLY a metaphor (neuroscientists don’t use the term literally), any explanation of a system that uses the elements of a larger metaphorical structure, in this case capitalism and the market, limits the possibilities of the overall meaning.
If my prefrontal cortex is the CEO of my entire biological system and the consciousness created by it or in correlation with it, then my reason for being, like a business, is to expand my possessions, to get more, which in Western culture is getting rich.
I prefer to think of the prefrontal cortex as the Mexican Abuelos in my brain.
Notice how I didn’t say “Abuela” or “Abuelo”, but Abuelos, both of them, the grandfather and the grandmother, left and right side of the brain.
The abuelos in a Mexican family are in charge of the direction of the family, the decisions, the family narratives, and so on.
Or so they think.
They often create narratives about decisions that have already been made by other parts of the brain, their hijos and nietos in the limbic system and the brain stem, that is, the reptilian brain, the flight or fight decisions.
The grandchildren may get into occasional trouble, but eventually the abuelos will find a way to fit that behavior into the family narrative.