I love reading about the brain. It’s complexity and uniqueness fantasize me. As my quest to read about brain spiked up I stumbled upon this audible “Brain the Story of you”. The book, unlike the other psychological books, was not too technical. Each section of the book is just 2–3 minutes long, which is perfect for me who has limited attention for audio.
As an added bonus, the author started the book by saying he doesn’t want to bore people with the innate technicalities and the jargons that comes along with the brain. If that doesn’t sell you the book, I don’t know what else will.
Unlike animals, the human brain half baked when you are born. An animal’s brain is structured in such a way that it can survive in a specific environment. This is why you see giraffes and calves jumping up after moments of its birth. A penguin’s brain supports it to survive the cold climate. It probably dies when you put it in a desert. But nothing seems to stop human beings from adapting to their environment. Maybe that’s why you see human beings everywhere right from Antarctica to Thar.
You can imagine animals brain as a pre-programmed computer that comes with all software installed whereas and the human brain is like a new neural network built to learn and evolve according to the data available around it. (Well, I have to geek up somewhere)
Well, this one I kind of did know but couldn’t explain how. The books give a perfect example.
If you examine a pianist’s brain you would find neural links that are intertwined to reflect the integral knowledge required to play the piano. The pianist would have acquired it by putting in hours and hours of practice. Nothing surprising yet? What you should notice here is that pianos were invented only in the 1700s which means the whole of human existence(brain) didn’t have a clue what a piano is or how to play one. But the moment it came real, the brain started adapting, twisting, turning and fusing together to play one.
This means that the capabilities of the human brain are far beyond our imagination. Bring the technology that will rule us 20 years from now and our brain will adapt to it.
Call yourself an introvert, extrovert, ambivert whatever. You need people around you to be sane. Let’s start with childhood. As kids, most of the learning happens because of our parents.
The book quotes a study made on foster children’s learning disability. Apparently, children in foster homes were never shown any kinds of affection. They were fed and changed but any other form of human contact was strictly prohibited. The Result? The parents who adopted the had to deal with serious learning disabilities.
As humans, we need people around us to try, mimic and update our knowledge. This is why you need to hang out with the best set of people because you mirror the qualities of people around you.
There was another study where people were put in a room where you can’t see or hear anything. The test subjects were asked to live in this room for months. When the subjects were brought back they found that the subjects started visualizing scenes and started hearing voices and noises. They were technically hallucinating living a dream. It went so far that they couldn’t distinguish reality from their dream.
Why? Because your senses are a two street. You don’t see because the eye sees and the brain processes. It goes like The eye captures → Sends it to the brain → Brain processes it → sends back the visual to eyes. Even if you halt the input from your senses your brain doesn’t stop processing information. Thereby creating its own visuals with the available information.
The world has not stopped talking about empathy and emotional intelligence after the book — Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella. But your brain had mastered that skill even before you could add the “empathy” label to it. Though we all feel like an independent entity in this world we are also closely coupled. The social interactions and human’s around plays an important role in your social, emotional and intellectual well being. Studies supporting this had subjects away from human contact. Over a time period, they lose a sense of empathy and understanding others feelings. Your brain just loses that skill. You constantly learn and improve from the people around you. Having an idea to find a cave in the Himalayas? Drop it right now.
Just like how I started this blog, your brain is indeed a master machine with exceptional capabilities to learn and expand. Do not waste it on social media fights, gossips, stereotyping and the million other things we do in the name of “doing good”.
Originally published at https://bhavaniravi.com.