Tuesday, November 11, 2014

a no-brainer for you

The brain is a physical system. 

It functions in ways not dis-similar to a computer. 
The brain itself is like the hardware, the mind is like software or apps, perhaps.

Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate the environmental circumstances in which it needs to function.

This means that all of our thoughts, hopes, dreams and feelings are simply the product of chemical reactions going on in our heads.

In this sense there is no 'self'.

(While evolutionary psychologists are generally the most vocal opponents of anything that smells of religion, it's curious how much of the theory corresponds with the same ideas in buddhism, for example.

Although buddhism is not strictly a religion, of course.)


The circuits of the brain, firing together, are designed to generate different kinds of motion.
This is what we would call behaviour, and it happens in response to information from the environment.

Now we've got that out of the way it's interesting to note how many behaviours we share with other species.

This particular example that I found in an uncredited EP primer reminded me of some people I've encountered in the advertising agency and marketing world.

'Organisms that don't move, don't have brains. 
Trees don't have brains, bushes don't have brains, flowers don't have brains. 

In fact, there are some animals that don't move during certain stages of their lives. 

And during those stages, they don't have brains. 

The sea squirt, for example, is an aquatic animal that inhabits oceans.

During the early stage of its life cycle, the sea squirt swims around looking for a good place to attach itself permanently. 

Once it finds the right rock, and attaches itself to it, it doesn't need its brain anymore because it will never need to move again. 

So it eats (resorbs) most of its brain.'

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