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sean
 
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Is your brain you or not?

27 March 2012, 09:09

Is your brain you or not? What makes the human brain so fascinating and unique?

First off,I was once told by my high school science teacher,Mr Grobbelaar,that your brain is you. I asked him what he meant by that and he replied by saying that if you were to hyperbolically take a human brain,any human brain including my own,out of our heads and then place it on a table,then that is the entire function,control centre or engine of the human body. Without this "thing" or organ, there is nothing much to it a human being can do or for him/her to even function. Would you agree with Grobbelaar's take on what the brain is,its importance and how it works?

Secondly,a few years ago in 2009, I came across a piece written by Alva Noë,a philosopher & professor at UC Berkeley and a member of the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Centre for New Media,that said:

"You are not your brain...We have become too reductive in understanding ourselves...our thoughts and desires are shaped by more than just neurons firing inside our head...answering questions about the nature of consciousness, the self, thought and experience are not found solely in the brain itself. Would you agree with Noë's take on our brain and what it is?

You see Noë highlighted the fact that neuroscience and the claims it makes that brain mechanics can explain consciousness is all BS.However what Noë fail to see is that our joys and sorrows, our memories and our ambitions, as well as our sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. More than just the scientific attention that addresses the question of conscientiousness.

Most of us have heard before that the brain had been compared to a powerful computer. However this comparison falls far short of that. A scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology once said: “Today’s computers are not even close to a 4-year-old child in their ability to see, talk, move, or even use common sense. It has been estimated that the information processing capacity by the most powerful supercomputer is equal to the nervous system of a snail and only a tiny fraction of the power available to the supercomputer inside our skulls.

Take language for example. We have the ability to speak a language because of how our brain works. Some people speak two, three and even many more languages, yet the ability to speak even one languages marks the very uniqueness of our brains. No other creature communicates using language except human beings. Professors R. S. and D. H. Fouts once asked: “Is it only man that's capable of communicating by language? All the higher animals certainly do communicate,but they do with gestures, odours, calls, cries and songs, and even bees by their dancing. Yet no other animals but man or woman appears to have structured grammatical language. And animals at best can only doodle,they don't even draw representational pictures." Only humans can use their brain to speak a language and draw meaningful pictures

Have you ever seen or watched a bird, dog, or cat look into a mirror and then it peck, growl, or even attack? Why do these animals do that? It's because they think it sees another animal and do not recognize that what they really see is itself. By contrast, when we humans look into a mirror,we automatically know it is ourself. Which means we humans are aware of self and conscious of you personally.

Why do we and not the animals react differently? Animals use their brains primarily to care for immediate needs like getting food, finding a mate, or making a nest or den. It's only us humans that think beyond the short term. Some of us even think about how our actions will affect the environment or our descendants/childrens long into the future. Yes, our capacity for considering the meaning of time indefinite is special. And our fascinating brain makes us check our appearance and makes us wonder what we will look like in just a few years time. Animals don't bother with that. An undeniable uniqueness of the human brain indeed.

Our brain also allows us to appreciate art and music as well as to have a moral sense in life. Again animals don't bother with that.This makes us humans not only desire to live as long as we can, but also have the potential to remain busy and productive throughout our lives. There is no limit to a person’s capacity to learn new things each passing day. It has been said that nothing in nature compares with the human brain when it comes to complexity and resilience. We have creative minds, unlike animals, and we are capable of reasoning and understanding abstract concepts. Scientists have barely scratched the surface when it comes to understanding the potential of the human brain.

"In every [human] head is a formidable powerhouse, a compact, efficient organ whose capacity seems to expand further towards infinity the more we learn of it." so wrote science writers Tony Buzan and Terence Dixon in the Evolving Brain.

References:

1.Psychology of Language....www.duke.edu/~pk10/language/psych.

2.Human Understanding, Randomness,Free Will and Delusion. www.thedoctorweighsin.com/human.

3.Philosopher Alva Noë "Out of Our Heads".

4.lifeisabeautifulstruggle.tumblr.com.

5.Willpower, Resolve, Determination, Self-Mastery...www.egreenway.com/wellbeing.

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