By Jamie Busby - Staff Author
Our brains are the most complicated bit of kit we have in our bodies. Some are more blessed in this department than others. Nonetheless, what the brain does is truly incredible, regardless of the madness we may see going on around the world today. There is a method to much of that madness remember...
Our brain function is all the more incredible simply because it's all still such a huge mystery. Compared to every other organ or bodily function, we know relatively nothing about it's workings. For example, science doesn't even accurately know how many neurons there are in the typical human brain. There is conjecture that we have something like 86 BILLION of these little transmitters but that figure is actually little more than an educated guess.
Science has advanced exponentially over the years yet our brains still remain something of a secret we can't fathom out. Something to be debated on and argued about. It's a mystery whether certain people actually have a brain. But don't be fooled, inside everyone's nut is the most puzzling blob of cauliflower-shaped jelly known to mankind. Join me in investigating some of what we don't really know.
Is the Brain a Computer?
Can we compare something organic to a structure made of metal and plastic and other computer stuff? The computer is the one thing we have created ourselves that bears comparison, but do they operate anything like each other?
Though extremely advanced, our brains are similar to computers in so far as they are processors of information. Computers use electronic circuits to do their "work", our brains use neurons. Circuits and neurons both use electric signals to transmit information. However, neurons can physically change dependent on what's going on in that brain. They adapt, circuits remain the same. Neurons can also operate regardless of the stimulation they receive as opposed to computer circuits. There's a large degree of nuance here, nothing binary going on in your average brain, despite what the latest trend is...
The brain of course consists of biological "stuff". Yet the brain does share similar functions to a computer. Brains have a visual cortex, computers have a graphics card. Brains have an auditory cortex, computers have a sound card. Brains have the hippocampus in the temporal lobe where information is stored, computers have hard drives. The brain's frontal cortex is used for "thinking", a computer has a CPU to perform this job. You get the picture.
All of the above is great but I'm starting to see a computer as a cheap imitation of what we carry around in our heads. Where's the vitality and character? Where's the refinement and subtlety in a computer? They're just machines that do as they're told, humans can be quite the opposite or anything in between. This is why, as yet, we have not been able to create a machine counterpart to replicate the human mind.
If you think the brain is a mystery, what about "Consciousness"?!? More on this later... Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a big fear for the future and part of the reason is the fact that it won't have consciousness. No genuine feelings, emotions, beliefs,etc... It will just be fake and I don't believe we'll ever reach a point where it could be real. I also believe this is all by design even though I cannot claim to be familiar with our "designer".
Computers are predictable, humans are anything but simply due to our brains. We do not operate like computers, but computers were designed to attempt to operate like us.
Whether you're a dull, boring git or a dazzling, charismatic charmer, we all have distinct and unique personalities. They're all so different, contrast is ALWAYS a good thing. It could be argued that our personalities are as unique to each individual as our DNA. But is the brain responsible for this?
Personality is based on thought patterns, perceptions, decisions and quite likely an infinite number of variables. When you look at it like this, then surely our personality must originate from how our brain functions. Many scientists believe that we are born as a "blank canvas" and we become who we are from what we are surrounded by. But how does that explain those intrinsic, innate personality traits that we all have?
The brain could be seen as totally reliant on the social and cultural environment that we just happen to be born into. The old "Nature vs Nurture" debate. Personally, I know that if I'd been born into the Royal family, I wouldn't have this adorable Brummie accent and I'd possibly be more polite and not swear in public or in my articles as much. But fuck that, there is definitely something inside all of us that while it may be oppressed, cannot be overwritten or replaced.
Scientists talk a lot of shit when it comes to this subject, they have a burning desire to explain EVERYTHING! And then wrap it all up in a neat little box, calling it a conclusive answer. But we know the world and indeed the Universe doesn't work like that. Why do some, born into good circumstances, fall by life's wayside? Why do some born into terrible conditions rise like a phoenix from the flames to become pioneers? In fact, why does anyone do or become anything? This, I believe, is the very essence of what personality is. Something yet again that's inexplicable and incomprehensible by what we have to study it with; Our BRAINS! Oh the irony...
The "blank canvas" argument can be dismissed by anyone who was brought up with siblings. I have a younger sister and an even younger brother. My sister has a lovely nature, an extrovert, highly strung but acts like she doesn't have a care in the world. My brother, in my opinion, is the spawn of Satan himself. He always had something in him, something that made him need to be "naughty" and a little shit. We all had a similar upbringing within the same family unit but all 3 of us turned out so differently. Nurture definitely plays some part in who we are but based on the evidence I'v experienced, we're born with the vast majority of our major personality traits.
Where our personalities come from and why is another almost impossible question. The parameters again are infinite, therefore I don't believe this question will be answered any time soon, if ever. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
And finally we arrive at the main one, the big kahuna, the big cheese, the head honcho. This is one of mankind's greatest quests, the understanding of consciousness. It's the greatest mystery of the human mind. We don't even know what it is and certainly have no idea how to create it. Every single human being is conscious, an extension of the universal consciousness that some know as "God". But what is it?
Scientists have explored consciousness since science became a thing. Philosophers have pondered on this question for thousands of years, coming up with some nice quotes but no definitive answers. We still don't know how to quantify it, measure it, analyse it, experiment with it. We don't know what substance it's made of or if it's actually made of something physical at all.
It would appear that consciousness may well transcend the physical. Though it remains a mystery, it seems that consciousness may not be something tangible. And as such, should we stop looking at it in scientific ways and instead focus just on how it works? Then perhaps we could "reverse engineer" from where we are now, like the Americans have allegedly done with captured UFOs. Start with the finished product and work backwards to it's base components.
If we didn't "possess" consciousness, we would be unable to demonstrate that anything exists, including ourselves. What's inside our brain that creates this consciousness? Like I'v suggested, this may well be beyond something organic or biological taking place in our grey matter.
Have you ever tried to explain to another person how it feels to be conscious?!? Try it, it's difficult to say the least. Consciousness is so abstract and ethereal, perhaps too much for mere words. Many have tried but nobody has actually explained it yet or I wouldn't be writing this. The following quote is pretty good however;
"When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see the real you, or what you have been conditioned to believe is you? The two are so, so different. One is an infinite consciousness capable of being and creating whatever it chooses, the other is an illusion imprisoned by its own perceived and programmed limitations." - David Icke
Consciousness is invisible. It's something that can only be "felt" or "seen" from within your own mind. Even then, it's still almost unbearably challenging to put into words. We view and perceive the world through the filter of our consciousness. Without it there would be no meaning attached to anything that anyone did, therefore we would technically not exist. Not as we do now anyway. We would be little more than computers made of meat. But we're certainly not that.
On the subject of being an infinite consciousness, could this explain why we're all so different? Due to reasons like personality and perception we can be seen as fluid, in the sense that we're constantly making tiny adjustments in our minds to every single thing we think we know. Universal Consciousness is infinite and we are beings of infinite possibilities. If my maths is correct, does that mean that the potential variations of our individual consciousness is Infinity multiplied by Infinity?! This would explain WHY we're all so different but does it even touch on HOW?
Could it be that our personal consciousness is in fact what we know as our "Soul"? If you're of the mind that we are extensions of the Universal Consciousness then YES, it would indeed be something that represents a Soul. The body is just a means of getting about during this particular "adventure", your soul/consciousness put there in order to experience this existence both with you and through you.
Are we all just off-shoots of this vast sea of consciousness, a place that we also originated from and have been part of for eternity? Many people have had near-death experiences where they've found themselves pulled towards "the light". Are they seeing the "Source" of where we actually come from? And are they just returning home? Only to get rudely revived by a skilled doctor and brought back here...
I think you can probably tell what my opinions are from how I'v written this article and the path I'v taken with it. More so if you've ever read any of my other work. But that's because I am ME and I can only do it that way! I've obviously used sources for the scientific, medical mumbo-jumbo as I'm no rocket scientist. Or brain surgeon for that matter. But as for the more philosophical and debatable parts, that was just me speaking from my heart. Or my consciousness. I really don't know, most of it's based on gut instinct and senses that I can't even comprehend myself.
However, in the interests of balance, we must look at some other possibilities for all that's been discussed here. Then dismiss them...
How do we know that this isn't all a dream? We have no other "reality" to use as a reference point for what a dream would feel like. Although this may sound silly, we still have no idea WHY the universe exists at all so I believe all possibilities are viable. I wrote an article some time ago speculating that we could be literally inside God's mind, link below;
Then we have simulation theory. I've written extensively on this as have many others. However, even if this is all a simulation by aliens, a higher developed civilisation or a deity, that doesn't change the fact that it's still reality to us. And we have a brain, personality and consciousness, simulated or not. It also suggests that whoever created the simulation has all of these things too, surely they could only create something that was familiar to them. "In their image" so to speak.
The final theory I'll touch on is simple and very fatalistic. Everything we know from the universe down to it's smallest quantum building block just "happened" for no reason. Pure chance. There's no purpose or point to any of this; we're born and die and that's it forever. It's easy to see how people can relate to this one as it requires no imagination and discourages thinking too much about it. Things are how they are just because that's how it is, don't ask too many questions then snuff it. Game over. Sorry to anyone who believes this but I believe EVERYTHING has a reason for being, including something as vast as our universe. Plus any other universes and alternate dimensions out there. How it works may always be beyond our limited human comprehension but that doesn't mean it ain't so...
So there you have it, my thoughts on the human brain and the main talking points that come with it. The beauty of writing about this particular topic is that because nobody knows the answers, our views are entirely subjective. It's extremely difficult to conclusively prove that anyone else is WRONG in their beliefs. But please, feel free to enlighten me.
I think it's best to accept what we know and what we DON'T know and go from there. The possibilities are quite literally endless.
Contact me by email: [email protected]
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