The second oldest brain we have that can control our voice is the Limbic System, which is common to all mammals. Since we are primates, I call our Limbic System the Monkey-brain. Think of a Capuchin monkey.
Monkeys see the world in Technicolor, as being full of good things to eat, and places to sleep, as well as dangers like poisonous frogs, bad fruit, and the occasional jaguar or leopard (depending on which continent one may live on). Unlike Lizards, Monkeys live in family groups, tribes, and even clans. Social networks enable them to work with each other to find food, shelter, care for the children, and defend against the dangers. They talk to each other all the time. They groom each other, and spend years raising their children. Life is full of affection, passion, comfort, joy, and love, spiced by grief and anxiety from time to time.
Because Monkeys also have Lizard-brains, they can express the basic emotions at need, but for the most part they express the higher level emotions mentioned above. You will usually feel these in your throat, as when it tightens up in times of grief—or embarrassment—or unexpected comfort. While Lizards seek the basic necessities of life, Monkeys seek status within their social group because status determines their share of the good stuff.
Given that we are primates, it shouldn’t be too surprising that we’re constantly comparing our status with those of our neighbors, and that we play such games as “Keeping up with the Joneses.” Competition among Monkeys is usually less violent than that between Lizards, but no less devastating for the loser. Monkeys also have long memories, compared to Lizards, who operate on hard-wired instinct, thus Monkeys often play tit-for-tat and can get into long-running family feuds, often with deadly consequences, as in Romeo and Juliet (a classic Monkey tale).
Again, because of the way we have socialized ourselves over the millennia, women, because they must care for their children, are much more likely to manifest their Monkey-brains than their Lizard-brains. Yet they must find ways to persuade the Lizard-brained males to stick around and help raise the children successfully by helping to defend the family, and provide food and shelter. Many are the ways in which they do this, from offering sex as an ongoing incentive to stick around with a known mate, to providing the opportunity to help ensure one’s genetic heritage does continue, to processing food and other resources into more useful forms.
Next time you find yourself in tears while watching a romantic comedy, or squealing “How cute!” over a friend’s newborn, or vowing to get even with someone who has played a nasty joke on you, that’s Monkey making herself known.
Say “Hello, Monkey, dear. How’s it going?” She’ll be more than happy to tell you.