I Believe in the Brain

Joseph - San Bruno, California
Entered on March 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: humanism
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I believe in the power of the human mind.

This is not to say that I believe in telekinesis, or telepathy, or any other supposed supernatural power that might come to mind when one hears the words “power” and “mind” together in the same sentence.

I believe that our minds are amazingly powerful. We have created language; this, alone, is an amazing achievement. Just think. We are able to remember very random and weird sounds, assign them to a particular, very abstract thought or idea, and mimic these sounds precisely to communicate with others. This might seem a bit complicated, so here’s an example, totally not from Waking Life: I can speak a word, like “elephant”, and I will expect and know that those syllables will be converted from sound vibrations into electrical impulses that travel directly to the exact spot in your brain associated with language, where they will be read and perhaps cross-reference with multiple memories scattered throughout your brain, within an instant, and be then translated to mean what you think “elephant” will mean.

Our minds control everything about us. A simple action, like clenching your fist, takes a tremendous amount of “computing power”. But to us, it is such a simple action that we take it for granted every day. The only time we realize how complicated the mind is, in fact, is when a programmer tries to program a robot or when a person loses the ability to fully control their actions, as a result of an accident or coma.

Math. This is an amazing topic, if you stop and think about it. Much as you might hate it, somehow almost everything in the universe can be explained through it. But what is it? Math is a figment of our imaginations; we decided that putting this next to this meant that there was multiple of it, and went on from there. In math, everything is abstract and intangible, a very strange concept to come from our brains, which are rooted in the senses, none of which are abstract, but fact. Nothing is, in actuality, perfect, but by pretending that there is something mathematically perfect out there, suddenly the fog lifts on our universe and we understand much more. The number i is another example. It is impossible, through a series of abstract proofs devised by the centuries-dead. But by using this impossible thing, again, things make more sense.

Social dynamics are another complex and amazing part of our brain. We are able to communicate emotions, which again, are abstract, and sympathize with each other. Or we choose to fight. But it becomes such a complex mesh of confusion it is amazing that we understand anything at all.

Any programmer will tell you that the mind is the most powerful computer in the world, and it is being mass-produced by the thousands every day by unskilled labor.