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Within the human experience, we all follow a certain character arc in the intricate web of existence. From the moment we are born, we experience a rapid rise, then a plateau, and then decline before we pass out of the world. This chain of experience is universal and obvious but still hardly can be explained without personal experience.

Two things we must live with throughout this path are (i) our own mind and (ii) the environment, social and otherwise. For centuries this fact has been considered but until recently the main focus of this interaction has been on how our environment affects our brain’s development and rarely in the other directions. Through advances in neuroscience, we now are beginning to understand that there is multidirectional feedback between the individual mind, the mind of others, and our society.

Goals of this work

is to provide a new framework for understanding the human mind, its evolutionary development over the course of a lifetime, and the brain’s interaction with human society.

What is present

To the present time no systematic understanding of individual mind and society relationship has been articulated. According to classical theories in sociology and psychology, our development through life presented as a series of lock-step ‘stages of development’. We are born into caring adult hands. We stumble as toddlers, test limits as adolescents, all the while receiving formal and informal schooling. We find a companion, acquire transportation, then initiate new life. Years of work ensue and ultimately we hope to leave a mark on the world. Then we die. There must be more.

Our life’s arc, in reality, is much more complex. We know intuitively that we live within a grid – a function of several interconnected parallel chains of events that cross paths and create defining moments of experience. Here we will present these interconnected events in a ‘Human mind – society’ dynamic system that builds upon emerging knowledge on the mutual influences between the human brain, behavior, and our societal environment. This work we will try to present as a model that will look not only into snapshots of our development at certain points of time but at the mind development as a function of possible choices and probabilities inside the one ‘Human mind – society’ system.

Ultimately, this work’s purpose is to understand the human mind development in connection to the social world and make clear interactions between our brain circuitry, the human mind’s development over the life, and our complex society. We will not conceptually separate the “individual’s brain network” from “human society” since these are the two central parts of the same system.

Our focus

Throughout, we focus on the human mind as a dynamic system we call an “Individual Brain Network – Society” across the individual’s life that is conceptually presented in four main components:

Brain - Society Arc

(i) input to individual brain network;

(ii) brain network;

(iii) output from individual brain network; and

(iv) the effect on society it produces. 



Within our framework, we have identified distinct characteristics of individual development at six stages and five transition states, all based on human brain network development and interactions with society.

Here we are trying to correlate stages of our individual development with the social structure from the earliest stage until the last moment when death dissolves our human-social relationships. Using a transdisciplinary framework we discuss most of the components of this system from the neuroscience and brain functions to the individual mind’s impact on society. This work will systematically articulate different stages of human mind development as a consistent flow of transformations through stages of our life (presented in the table). 

Individual’s State Feedback from Society Brain Circuitry Development Effect on Society
Phase I (God) ++  ++++ -
Phase II (Primate) ++++    +++ +
Phase III (Mammal) ++++      ++ ++
Phase IV (Reptile) +++        + +++
Phase V (Insect) ++        + ++++
Phase VI (Mollusk) +        + +++++


We aim to provide a basis for new interdisciplinary approaches from several fields of knowledge, supporting novel scientific findings, and modeling of the brain and the human mind development. This system may have universal applications, including the design of new techniques for psychological assessment, business and education models, enhancement of personal development, and provide a roadmap for social and political progress. In the final analysis, this work aims to enhance the human experience.



The names of ‘Individual’s states’ are rather intuitive and descriptive at this stage only to the level where they can reflect the ideas of this work.


I. Stage – Universal / God (1 – around 7 years)


In this phase brain circuitry is under development and has not enough neuronal capacity to start analysis of the entire world and itself. The goal of this stage is to develop neuronal circuitry responsible for the highest brain functions required for the first transition toward being an active component of the social system. Mind acts mainly by creating imprints of information without further analysis. Psychologically there is no clear self-identification and no clear borders between conciseness and the outer world. Everything is everywhere and information from the outside is easily flowing into the brain circuitry and get stored in it. Child can’t recognize time limits, death, and has no abstract thinking. Success of this stage is mainly determined by inherited presets i.e. genetic information and closest environment.


Brain is not developed to the level of self-identification and has no capacity to fully interact with outer environment. The interaction with society at this stage is a one-way road toward the child brain. Individual at this stage is consuming/imprinting the world using his reflexes and inborn instincts and are not separating himself from the society and the entire world. Since there is no need for him to make any choices in his life and his path is a straight line during this stage.

Test questions:

What you have inherited? What are your roots?


First transition to the Learning phase (7-9)

The main mechanism of this transition is the development of brain to the level of self-recognition, i.e. understanding of our actions and ability to analyze and further modify them. Psychologically this appears as a first self-identification and opposition to the entire world. The neuronal mechanism of this transformation related with development of circuitry that finally will separate the “Unity” of the world into the two parts – “Me” and “Not me”. This mechanism opens a new path to interact with the world through the ‘analytic approach’. During first transition person gets himself and the entire world and this is the most critical stage to form individual identity and “Ego”. First transition leads to the first appearance of the social behavioral. Person starts to use duality “Me and Not me” to obtain the skills to extract from the world things to further build himself. Since this transition determines the grade of appearance of social interaction in future, delay in this transition usually affects only grade but not the quality of future social life. Individuals who have delay in transition to the second phase may have low self-esteem and low social role in future and may produce more immature defense mechanisms in later stages.


II. Stage - Learning / Primate (7-15)


They key feature of this phase is enormous capacity of the developing brain circuitry to learn. Compare to the first stage individual starts to use ‘analytic approach’, although copying remains the main mechanisms of learning. “Copying” skills are critical and person is rather adapting to the pattern and adapts himself to the fact he wants to imprint. ‘Analytic approach’ presented in simple, basic way and helps to “splice” the entire world and “digest” it part by part.


In this stage brain works hard to receive all multiple inputs from the society and learn new tools of self-exploration. Formation of the basic knowledge for future self-development is the main social role at this stage. Society provides all available data sets from libraries, medias, as well as knowledge about multiple rules, norm, and traditions without asking anything in return, without request for feedback. The main goal of the society at this stage is to imprint the most critical knowledge into a new mind because learning the dogmas and social norms is possible mainly at this stage and will be hardly successful at the later stages.


Impairment during this period may appear as a problem of learning and may have a long-lasting effect on the learning capacity during the rest of the life as well as on effective interaction between the individual and society. Social impairment or isolation at this stage commonly drastically damages the future social interaction and development.


Why do you want to learn?


Second transition to the Action (13-15)

Pubertal changes related with hormonal surge provide new basis for future development physically and mentally. For the most of the people these changes connected with critical reorganization of life picture and life expectations regarding being involved in sexual relationships.


III. Stage - Action / Mammal (13-25)


Sexual hormones shift the accent from learning to feeling and acting. Hormones push the brain circuitry to its extreme performance that adds extra leverage to the world and variety of choices. It’s overwhelming phase of exploration since the brain is still under fast development plus under the ‘hormonal doping’. Most of people are surprised later in life about impressive neuronal capacity they have in this stage that can pass through the extreme emotional load and in the same time be able adapt to extreme intellectual loads as well. This is the last stage of brain development with final tuning of all emotional and social aspects of behavioral that will determine further individual success and social value.


Action and desire of action is the main request at this stage. It is all about love, sex, and fight. Sexual drive may starts to divide everything into sex and not sex related issues, and the fist is more important now and gets much more attention. There are still plenty of choices for personal development however the number of opportunities begins to narrow, as the society begins to expect to see some return. Society is still consumed by the person and gives him educational training. However it’s already starting to focus on getting the possible return like the first job and first responsibilities. Significant luggage of knowledge, understanding the culture and norms with the highest level of energy make this stage a “working horse” for the society. Individuals at this stage do not understand the price and social values of all knowledge and energy they have that usually make them a “toy” in the hands of older members so they commonly used as a physical, intellectual, or even sexual resource.  However, at this stage individuals are happy to give and do not worry about being used like in the following stage. Compare to the previous stage, ‘Action or Mammal stage’ forms the quality of social interaction.


Segregation at this stage forms the ability to be dominant or subordinated. Problems during this stage commonly forms aggressive or passive types of personality.

Tests question:

Why do you need to fight?


Third transition from action to cooperation (25-30)

Transition into the ‘Cooperation stage’ is usually painful and one of the most depressing life events. At around 25-30 years old most of the people start to feel that their level of activities does slow down. Even in most of the cases it’s just a plateau in development of neuronal circuitry, most of the individuals feel this period as a stagnation and decline. In the system “Brain – Society” it’s a shifting to a new stage where brain circuitry is ready for intensive collaboration, real “team work”. The paradox of this transition consists with idea that recently you thought that “You can change the world” but now you actually found that “World had changed you”, and you have to not fight but to collaborate with that world.


IV. Stage - Cooperation / Reptile (25-45)


Plateau in formation of brain circuitry. Person is not as confident as before about his future and his capabilities and he is not making fast moves and decisions. Continuing changes in brain circuitry provides predisposition to the partial decline of normal brain functions. At this period some professionals may find first difficulties to perform delicate procedures that they did not repeat on the regular basis. Individual development as we used to refer to it in the previous stage slows down significantly and the number of life choices becomes further limited. Activity of neuronal circuitry provides at this point similar speed with general society. Psychologically, person may find himself in this stage in between the younger colleagues who seem faster and smarter and older colleges and friend who seems to be slower but much stronger. This feeling of being in between can be destructive and appear as a feeling of ‘no hope’.


Individual starts to use ‘network of brains’ to overcome their own brain limitations and to continue his development. Progress in this stage is more dependent on interaction with society and formation of active collaborations with the other members. This is a time to collaborate with even those who a few years ago were enemies. The ideas you start to develop at this stage and amount of active collaborators will be a key for future success. Society at this stage starts to consume and get the most return from you as an active member: taxes, routine responsibilities, growing the kids, teaching the others, etc. Information and energy giving and receiving from the society is almost the same at this time. This equality provides an optimal background for future integration and cooperation.


Isolation, losing self-esteem, hopelessness, and painful feelings that other members are using you, loosing goals all are very common. Defense mechanisms, the most common appearance, may include returning to the previous phase or/and increasing the sexual activity and gaining pleasures in world exploration.

Test Question:

Why do you need to collaborate?


Forth transition from cooperation to skilled (40-50)

This transition is highly depended on previous experience and already established lines of life. Understanding the limitations of your control over the other people in society and desire to increase influence is the main drive. This requires utilizing new mechanisms related with getting leadership positions in social structure. Most of people, even those who would never considered to be a leader may become a reliable managers at this transitional stage. Other members whose activity is focused on their own skills will maintain and improve excellence of performance to return these skills to the society during the next stages.


V. Stage - Skilled / Insect (45-65)


More limited individual brain potential compare to the previous stage. The opportunities for learning are limited, level of energy is low and keep slowing down.


The abilities and potentials are mainly related with “skills” that individual can provide to the society directly or by teaching the young generations. The key at this stage is the ability to support the system by providing required skills and passing these skills to youth. Some people who have developed themselves to this point and able to share their skills with newcomers but have no ability and no drive to control and lead the society become entirely focused on their own skills. On the other side at this stage you can easily see people on the “top” that started to build their own social system as a way to continue their own development.


At this period people start to understand that the way they live become very mechanistic and routine. Many start to degrade to the more simplistic reflexive behavioral, i.e. using of some very specified brain circuitry instead of the whole brain capacity. After multiple repetitions of the same task circuitry become rigid and now can only repeat these simple patterns. Finally, these patterns appear over time as a physical and social rigid behavior. People have a hard time to relax and stress became an important issue that may affect everyday life and long-term performance. This stage associated with one of the highest risk of suicide.


Why do you need skills? Do you need control?


Fifth transition from utilization to the socio-exploration (65-70)

In the optimal for individual progressive way this is the transition from the control over social system to the complete support for this system. These, however, are rare cases in our community. In more common way this is a transition from using skills to decline in overall performance and social interaction.


VI. Stage - Integrity / Mollusk (>70)


Functional activity is mainly based on previous performance. “Use it or lose it” rule is extremely clear at this stage that drastically separates all people at this stage on ‘Active’ and ‘Declined’.


Individual appears either on top or on the bottom of the social structure, depending on how successful and efficient the links below him and between him and society. Depends on how efficiently he developed himself to that time during the previous stages. There is no individual growth anymore. All activities are shifted entirely toward the society and network of people established during the previous stages. In the optimal way you purpose now is to support this system mainly because at this stage person becomes a system. Even these are well-known and relatively rare cases such people able to maintain the structure and keep it active for generations. Even after ‘the author’ passed away built him structure provides a shelter and stair for new generations. In more common way if by that time person did not established his social structure he is not receiving feedback that is his main driving force at this stage and finally he declines earlier.

Test question:

Why do you need to return to the society.


You vs. Society



Summary for interaction between individual and society at different stages of development.

Blue lines indicate relative amount of life-decisions and opportunities individual may choose at each transitional phase.

Numbers on the left side represent range (years of life) when most people have transition periods.

Green area represents the relative changes in society influence in person’s life “Feedback from the society”.

Red area represents the relative changes we  in person’s impact society “Effect on society”.







What is next?

Well, mainly depends on available time the most important components of the “Mind – Society” system will be presented here. 
We will through in your hands a lot of things! Impressive neurodevelopmental, psychological, and even anatomical
findings about your brain will come first.  Environmental, social, economical, and political facts
will be in your hands as well.  They all will be presented as an assessment of
each phase of your development. They all will be tightening up in
one body – your body. So by the end you will see
no difference between you and
all of you.