Monday, July 16, 2007

The Future Is All In Your Head

This is something I've wanted to address many times, but thought it rather ponderous for a public Journal. Maybe you won't, so with my faith in your interest intact, I'll continue.

How little of our brain matter do we use, about 12% if that? Many people who use a few percentages more are usually very psychic when tested, and PET scans (positron emission tomography, a "map" of the brain drawn by throwing positrons at it - like sonar) reveal many "hot spots" or active areas during certain thought patterns. For instance, when we sleep, a separate center of the brain is active. But when we dream in our sleep, it activates another entirely specialized part of the brain never used during our waking state, not even when day-dreaming. That's most likely because we're still conscious. At the Memonides Sleep Center in New York, a research facility I've been following with fascination for decades, testing has continually been taking place to map the parts of the brain that seem superfluous, unused, or "cold". Most everyone understands the topography of the brain, the different parts we know and what they're called. Our pre-and-frontal lobes, our dura section, our cerebellum, our basal ganglia (the spaghetti-like strands separating the left and right brain) et als. We have a "reptile" brain, a remnant of the evolving human body, not unlike our appendix which anthro-anatomists believe was once a larger more useful organ. This appendix "remnant" is now something that can hurt and/or kill the host body, so I've no doubt that in less than 25,000 years of natural evolution, the host will shed this piece of toxic tissue and it'll cease to develop in the womb. Nature makes full use of what it can, sheds what it cannot use, and evolves what it comes to see is needed. For instance, if we keep polluting, we'll develop larger lungs to filter this poison. Smaller nostrils to take in less of it. We may become shorter in stature because we've ceased having to "reach" for what we need, it's all there at eye level. With more people and their accutrements comes more noise, hence our inner ear may develop a kind of specialized sound filter. We may lose our outer ear tissue altogether. And I doubt I need explain what could happen to our rump if we continue to sit at computer terminals for eons.

Back to the brain - it would appear we still require our reptilian brain, the part that most call the "autonomic system"of commands and responses. Neural synapses that occur without our having to initiate or "command" them, i.e. our ability to inhale and exhale, and our heart beating.

So I'm wondering - if so little of the brain is functional, why is there so much of it? My first inclination was to think this spongey tissue was there to protect the fragile inner organs like the thalamus and hypothalamus, the adrenals, so important for a human experience of the world. Then I thought a little outside the box and imagined that, since the host has proven to be a body most efficient and wise in its self-preservation, perhaps this "extra" brain tissue is not extra at all. Perhaps it is there because, 1.) humans once used all of their brain capacity (unfounded and very improbable) or 2.) humans someday will use most if not all of their brain matter. Imagine it.

If people with telekinetic abilities have "hot spots" that show activity during specialized CT-scans, etc., could it be that some parts of our brain are meant for future use in our evolving body, perhaps to strengthen our psychic abilities or dare I think it, our paranormal and psi tendencies? What of this ability, telekinesis? I've seen experiments where people with great, intense inner faith move inanimate objects, like pencils, you have too. There's a Zen belief that if one meditates deeply enough, has incredible faith, they can move a mountain with only the power of their mind. Brain power. Faith. Why not. There's so little we actually know for certain about what these over-large, cumbersome, incredibly complex organs can do, so why not a future use for what we don't use now? Again, nature uses what it has, and unless sheds it, eventually uses it all.

Could a certain percentage of unused brain matter be weapon-like? Will humans evolve the ability to "think" an enemy to death? The implantation of an idea, using evolved high-level thought power. Nothing new. Certainly we're well-conversed with subliminal messages, implanted thoughts and ideas we're not aware are happening. Like in commercials. You see an ad for a big fast-food chain and as you're watching this tripe, you don't see the super-fast blip on the screen "YOU ARE VERY HUNGRY". When these clips were slowed down, alas there they were, subliminal messages purposefully (and very criminally) injected into commercials to entice the buyer into buying more. This is, of course, illegal. It's still done, only with more subtlety and it works. Once again, the human brain fascinates and confounds.

If I were able to use, say, a tremendous 25% of my brain, that's still only l/4th of the whole. Yet imagine what might be possible! Perhaps my speech center would be so far advanced that I didn't need to speak when conveying a thought. Which would mean someone I was "talking" to would "know" my thoughts almost immediately without having to "hear" them. That means the hearing center of the brain would be extra hyper-involved, so what use the human ear? Will evolution dispose of that in some future era? Agreed, some of the prospects don't sound as progressive or even welcome. I love the language of speech, of words, that's partly why I'm here tapping away in this strange new land of public Journals, not quite a diary, certainly not private, my thoughts and ideas set out for all to inspect, critique, shun, argue with ... look at allwe risk by putting thought to public scrutinity! Yet we continue to do it, and why? These brains! I believe totally that we're compelled to disclose our most mundane, and most exciting, intimate ideas and acts. What part of the brain is more active during the posting of a Journal entry I wonder? Yes, it's as silly and simple as that. Something to do with curiosity perhaps? Or the need for emotional connection with another human? All originate in the brain. In fact the legal definition of death is when the brain ceases to release a signal. I've seen it. Brain-death is actual death. Our heart and lungs can cease yet by hooking the host to specialized machines, as long as the brain puts out a signal, we're considered to be alive. Interesting. Especially considering it was the evolved brain which developed those machines to begin with.

With so much more to say on this subject, I need to relate this one special thought: (see? Thought! Brain again). THE HUMAN BRAIN IS THE ONLY ORGAN WHICH CAN CONTEMPLATE ITSELF. Think about it. And while you are, remember that as you're thinking, you're using the very organ your thinking about to think about it. Get it?

Fascinating.

21 comments:

treesrgreen78 said...

I just read this entry fully, i need to read it again it is very fascinating, will be back to comment later.

valphish said...

Very interesting, my Cateri.  I do have psychic abilities to some degree.  I never told you about them.  I have no opinion on why we have extra brain matter.  I find it fascinating that when people lose parts of their brain (get a lobotomy) the remaining brain matter can be trained to do/think what was lost.  I often think what the world will be like in 50, 100, 500, 1,000 years.  I DO know our thinking WILL be different!... fascinating!  Love, your Maire xox
http://journals.aol.com/valphish/ThereisaSeason

bhbner2him said...

Who's to say that we don't use that "extra" brain matter?  Maybe we just don't have a test that reveals it's use yet.  -  Barbara

luddie343 said...

Cathy 2 Barbara:  Good point but we do have many tests, and so much of the brain shows no activity, shows "cold" or unused.   That's how we know what parts are in use and what they're being used for.  The rest is a mystery.

treesrgreen78 said...

God I feel never gives us more in our bodies than we need.  That extra brain matter is there for a reason.  As one person mentioned, I sincerely believe that when one part of the brain ceases to operate, the extra brain tissue that most think is useless kicks in at some point, that may make our other senses or part of our body work more effectively.  I know when the part of my brain that was affected by the fibro slowed down and my ability to work was taken away, my creative part of my brain took over.  I know this to be true as before I could not draw to save my life now I have painted at least 17 paintings and for an amature I am not bad.  So when we think about the extra brain tissue, I feel God has definitely put it there for a reason  he never does anything without a reason, and I thank him from my heart for giving me the ability to paint.  It was a dream I had all my life and through him I can do it.  Most might not agree with this analogy but I believe it in my heart.  Thank you Luddie for helping me to see this by your entry.  God bless you my dear friend.

sassydee50 said...

Got it! Fascinating read, Luddie! I wonder how much space in taken up by wherever they get the IQ test scores from? Even more I wonder all about the future of research  outcomes for so called mental illnesses, whcih I have come to call brain disease. So many questions about the brain and WAY to many answers! I agree Cathy---fascinating contemplations! I should have said hi to you when you were writing this at some weird hour of insomnia! Hi now and blessings for your day~Deb ;-)

http://journals.aol.com/sassydee50/sassys-private-words

pharmolo said...

Got a point there, Cathy. It's in fact a total miracle that we can live at all, bearing in mind what can go wrong.

lanurseprn said...

This was very interesting. I have thought if people developed their psychic abilities that they use more of their brain. I have also thought that the extra brain tissue is there to take over if some of the tissue is damaged as in a head injury. It's proven that this happens....so why not?  
It's interesting to contemplate the changes that could happen through evolution. Imagine not having to speak. There are times when my close friends have picked up on my thoughts...and vice versa. You know, someone will say something at just the second you were thinking the same thing. Fascinating to me!
If we could find a way to tap into using our full brain potential can you imagine what this world would be like?
Great entry...
Pam

rayne1123 said...

well done.  very interesting...you made me really think with this one
hugs
noelle

swmpgrly said...

it is fascinating

mutualaide said...

I, for one, would very much like to use more of my brain power -- and I'm not being funny.  Not the kind of use where you say to yourself, "What was I thinking?!!"  Rather I would like to put these tired and bored brain cells to far better use than that which they get now.  

Fascinating entry and thoughts on our thought thinker!

princesssaurora said...

It is fascinating... it is truly the LAST FRONTIER of sorts.  And we can reach it... it is here, now.

be well,
Dawn
http://journals.aol.com/princesssaurora/CarpeDiem/

rockoned7 said...

You have bounced back to your very best in this fascinating and ponderous topic.

Never fails to impress me with its ingenuity and protective armour our brains materialise for us each day of our lives. 12% that is truly inventive whilst awake but can shunt the other details to specialist parts for automatic pilot.

Overlarge and complex, doesn't use its potential, more space than required, someday to be used to optimum intensity, with paranormal and psychic tendencies, even with telekinesis, you been listening to the wife?

Well done on this thought provoking lesson which advises me I am happy with my 2% output.

daddyleer said...

Fascinating! Thanks for leaving me 'thinking'.
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick

jmorancoyle said...

    I enjoyed this entry as much as I did your entry about the evolution of the back. I've considered some of your ideas at times, particularly where polution is concerned. Or about the percentage of the brain we use and how we'd use more in the future. It makes sense. (I hope you're wrong about using our brains for weapons.) I haven't put as much thought into the subject as you have.
    I saw something on PBS a while back about an experiment where scientists bred wolves for certain traits. Some wolves were bred for speed and others for their ability to hunt. And yet others were bred for their coloration, thickness of fur, etc. Over the course of ten generations, the animals evolved. Some of the animals developed spots and colors more closely associated with dogs while others developed shorter legs, longer bodies, crimped tails or floppy ears.
    What this has to do with the development of the brain, I'm not sure. I thought it was facinating though. Evolution in action. How the needs of the creature or the organ uses and adjusts to needs while eliminating the unnecessary. As you so eloquently said in your entry. Very interesting.
Jude
http://journals.aol.com/jmorancoyle/MyWay    

ma24179 said...

Hey, I am new to your journal and I really like what I have read. I'm not quite as insightful as you are, I see more of the drawbacks of life rather than the potential, but it was very interesting. http://journals.aol.com/ma24179/missyzstuff

chatzeekay said...

Had to read real quick cause this is very long for me to read, the brain is powerful even when one brain does not function well, goodness the brain takes time to heal to and well its important, the way you writ about the brain its cool to read,

dizarra said...

Wow-love this entry! Diane here, from Jersey, I'm 'new' to this journal, and I have just read a few entry's, and decided to stop and comment here; first, congrats on the Rockin Girl Blogger award-I got one too, and still have to choose
my five; i'm sure glad I checked you out, I can tell I will be back! LOL My journal is NOT as good as yours-but your welcome to come by! Don't be a stranger.
~Diane~http://journals.aol.com/dizarra/StorysFromtheCityTalesFromtheSea

aimer said...

Love this entry!  It just seems logical that evolution hasn't come to an abrupt end; we are still evolving.  What a fascinating disussion about the potential of the human brain. You really do rock!--Sheria
http://journals.aol.com/aimer/on-my-mind

gehi6 said...

Hmm, some interesting thoughts about thinking expressed here.  I do believe that when man was required to be more physically active all parts of our brain might have been used more.  NOw days so many have become so inactive, so the parts of the brain that used to control extended physical exertion might now be unused and might even atrophy.  I am also sometimes appalled at how little some people appear to think.  It is as though they are operating at the lowest possible level of activity, both mentally and physically.  I do think that more Alzheimer might be the result of extended inactivity, say thinking in a rut for too many years, not getting outside of the groove.  I do think people should get out of the groove in as many ways as possible.  Which is why your journal seems challenging.  I enjoyed reading these thoughts on thinking, for example, very much.   Gerry  

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