I am reading three or four books at this time, which for me is normal, whatever that is. “One Last Talk” asks what you would say and to whom, if you could have just one more audience before you die. “Oh Florida” is a wacky history of the Sunshine State. Then “American Titan” portrays the twenty something character who started the Silk Road which is where you can buy anything no matter how outlawed or depraved.
But the one that has truly piqued my interest is “Brain Rules” by John Medina. I often wonder but have not a clue what really goes on in my head. Kathy wonders too. In parsing everything from the mechanical to the emotional, the author lets you delve deep inside your cranium.
So much of what happens is automatic. Our heart beats, we walk, talk and even write without any difficulty. Yet grasping the incredible amounts of electrical energy and the complexity that goes into raising a glass to our lips or reading Aristotle is simply astounding. Neurons are firing at Mach III and somehow it all works out.
Yet the simple thought or observance is so chock a block with a zillion factors that push us one way or another it really makes you wonder.
We view, hear, touch or smell something and we immediately see if we have ever been there before. That’s memory. We decide if this thing is cool or lethal. That’s our survival instinct. And then we act on it for better or worse. If it’s pleasurable, we want to relish the moment. If it is scary, our adrenalin kicks in and we want to get the hell out of there. All in a nanosecond.
It seems if we are emotional our ganglia take on a whole new sense of attention. We listen closer. We peer with Sherlock intensity. The amazing thing is we do not readily remember detail but put all our brain power into getting the gist of something. And we make our decisions based on that emotion. It takes you down a distinct path that is hard to deviate from.
Fake news or not the media play with our heads. They want to punch our buttons. If you are liberal the sight of a child being wrenched from their parents at the border sends you through the ceiling with rage. If you are conservative you are shown immigration officials taking every effort to make sure we are respectful and understanding. Same sequence. Totally different conclusions for the same set of circumstances.
Advertising plays us like an A Flat. We laugh, we cry, or we want to rise up at a relatively simple situation. It is in essence an occurrence or a setting that has no feeling on its own. But how it is viewed and analyzed by you and me gets to our innards. Man, if I can be like that person I am gong to go out and buy a lifetime supply. You thought dudes selling elixirs out of a suitcase were dead. They are alive and well.
One part of the book was demoralizing. It blew up my favorite myth…the human brain can multitask. Not so, mes amis. In order to go through any thought, there are a set of sequences as I have described above. You have to do them all. You may decide to put down one project or pick up another. You may think you have a million ideas going through your brain at once. It cannot happen. I am of course, biased and devastated.
Think about it. If you are driving and talking on the cell phone or God forbid texting, your hands may be on the wheel but you are far away on a call for business or pleasure. We say we lost concentration but we are just thinking of different things….one at a time. Remember that nanosecond shifting of gears we can do.
Bottom line is that we have this wonderful thing called our mind and it is so complex but oh so beautiful. It is part of the greatest machine of all times, our bodies. The grey matter operates in world of its own. It is the director. The veins, arteries, pumps, muscles operate on cue. We think of artificial intelligence and we are awed by it. We ought to look in the mirror and be blown away.
My final thought is simple. We think we have control over everything. Our ingenuity has helped us cross so many frontiers. Do you really think this marvel that is us, just happened by accident or a process of evolution? Doesn’t it appear be in the realm that we were created and not manufactured or grown in a lab? I don’t know about you but I am not ballsy enough to think there is not a higher Being. Makes one feel pretty grateful to Him, Her or It. . How about you?
Ted The Great
The brain continues to send out electric wave signals until approximately 37 hours after death.
Our Brain has over 100 billion nerve cells. Only four percent of the brains cells work and the remaining cells are kept in reserve.
Your bones, pound for pound, are 4 times stronger than concrete.
The muscles of the eye move more than 100,000 times a day.
It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. You use 200 muscles to take one step.
An average car being driven 15,000 miles per year eats through $8,469. How much do you spend taking care of your brain and body?