There are many times in life when "you" seem to want two contradictory things at the same time. Breakups are a great example. At one level perhaps you know that the two of you aren't right for each other, but at another level you want to stay together. The technical name for this is cognitive dissonance. Why is such a state possible?
I think there are actually multiple brains functioning inside of you at once. They try to work together, and most of the time they do, but situations can arise that put them in conflict.
An important note is that I'm trying to explain the internal experience of being myself, living in a body. What it feels like doesn't necessarily correlate to different physical pieces of brain anatomy (as was originally suggested in the now discredited Triune hypothesis).
Aspire's Model of the Human Mind
There are four different people inside your head. Three of them are actively trying to look after your best interests. Each can take over your body, but only under specific circumstances which are different for each of them. Let's meet these imagined mental characters now.
The Scenario Planner
The Scenario Planner's job is to constantly evaluate the social environment. It is always asking: "How does this affect me?"
The Scenario Planner always has one foot in the present and one foot in the future. It is constantly scanning for new data to analyze more information about your present standing in the web of social relationships. This is why people take things personally which have nothing to do with them at all. The Scenario Planner assumes everything is related to you and your social standing, even if directly presented with evidence to the contrary.
The Scenario Planner constantly makes hypotheses about what is happening and then projects different scenarios for what the future might look like. It is always reacting to these imagined future scenarios, which are constantly shifting as new information is added. Because of its obsession with social standing, it tends to focus on imagined future social embarrassments as well as different scenarios to obtain more wealth (which is seen as a stand-in for social rank). The Scenario Planner is always playing a game of billiards, trying to affect an imagined sequence of events to its own advantage.
In a sense, the Scenario Planner is never happy because it's only job is to protect you. It's job is to worry and minimize the chance of finding yourself in a dangerous situation.
When it starts to feel overwhelmed, the Scenario Planner can take on the characteristics of a young child. This is because the Scenario Planner is very sensitive to perceived attacks on your social standing, but sometimes it cannot remove you from a perceived threat you are encountering (for example, if your boss embarrasses you in front of others at your job). Because the Scenario Planner can get overwhelmed in these situations, it's only recourse is to throw a temper tantrum, like a baby. As adults, we often hide these internal tantrums on the inside because we realize they aren't totally socially acceptable but we still very much experience them at an emotional level.
When the Scenario Planner identifies an imminent, direct threat (which can either be real or imagined), it tells the Animal to take over. The Animal is a fighter. Due to the immediacy of its job, it is totally focused in the present moment because it is primarily concerned with keeping you alive. If someone is walking towards you with a knife in a dark alley, the Animal is going to instantly assume control of your body.
When the animal takes over, your body realizes that it is in a heightened sense of danger. It immediately starts pumping adrenaline throughout your body. Rational thinking shuts down and you begin to function on more of an instinctual level. This is very, very helpful in actual life or death situations and downright counter-productive when it comes to imagined threats, like when you have an intense argument with someone.
My view is that the Animal is also responsible for sexual desire and various forms of hedonism, such as indulgent eating. The Animal loves these sorts of new experiences. The Animal does not worry about the future. The Animal cares about now.
The Servant runs the automated processes in your body. It likes to take control during repetitive tasks such as driving to the same place for work each day. It finds routine to be safe and highly pleasurable. The Servant is in charge of tending the vast repository of knowledge obtained by all of your past experiences.
The Servant is interesting because it has no agenda of its own at all. It merely responds to commands given by others (typically the other characters in your own mind, although the Servant can respond to external stimuli, for example during hypnosis).
Most people are not intentional about the way they talk to themselves, which results in a confused Servant who is sometimes helpful and sometimes brings up useless or counterproductive information. People who use affirmations or other forms of positive self talk have learned how to directly address the Servant to harness its immense power.
If you give your Servant a command clearly and consistently enough, the desired outcome will happen with near certainty (depending on what you wish for) because the Servant will constantly scan for opportunities to make it happen from then on. The Servant is why goal-setting is so effective because a well crafted goal is essentially a command to the Servant. That's also why specific, written goals are more effective than general goals which have never been clearly articulated.
The Servant is the gatekeeper of the past, which makes it very powerful. It is also a very useful ally in terms of life improvement because the Servant can be taught new habits and routines which with then be automatically included in your life.
The Observer is the deepest part of yourself. The Observer has no agenda whatsoever. The Observer does not try to defend itself in any way, which is why the other three are always trying to protect it. You can think of the Observer as the "real you" in so much as there is a real you that is a stable entity.
The Observer is who we experience deep in meditation. Meditation is the way to make the Scenario Planner go to sleep while not summoning the Animal while not providing the Servant any data retrieval tasks.
The Observer also seems to be the one responsible for authentic, deep emotional connections with other people. Damage to the Observer during childhood is what causes various attachment disorders in adulthood, if left unresolved.
I'm still early in my journey of getting to know this Observer. I do think the Observer is our connection point to the infinite and I would like to explore this further in time.
The reason I created this model was to give people a tool to help conceptualize their own thought processes. Sometimes it helps me sort out my thoughts because I can say to myself "Ok, the Animal has taken over when what I really need right now is the Scenario Planner" (for example). I plan to continue flushing out this concept in the future, so your thoughts are very much appreciated.