All things come to a beginning

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Months ago, I picked up a second hand book (I had to wipe off the cobwebs and some spider corpses, fur realz. The owner is hilarious, she's this older, grey-haired woman with a German accent who spends her entire day behind her computer. She barely keeps an eye on the store, doesn't talk to her customers, and obviously spends no time cleaning. I always picture her talking online to some dude on the other side of the planet who thinks he's talking to some spunky Claudia Schiffer type. Too awesome. And for some reason, the filth doesn't bother me too much) called "The Brain Story - Unlocking our inner world of emotions, memories, ideas and desires". Just because.
Now that exams are over, I've finally been able to start reading. And, through the randomness that is life, I actually will be interviewing the author in a couple of weeks, so the least I can do is go through a bit of her repertoire. The medical bits, interesting as they are, throw me off. I can't for the life of me distinguish between all the different lobes & stems. The stories about patients and surgeries and illnesses are pretty fascinating, though. And one bit I particularly liked talks about how our mind tricks us and how, to an extent, we see what we expect/hope to see, rather than what is actually there. The book also says that our brain activity is not all that dissimilar when we dream and when we are awake:

In both wakefulness and dreaming, but not in ordinary sleep, neurons in the thalamus and cortext are synchronized, with both areas generating rhythmic waves of electric signals in step with each other [...] Professor Llinas' research suggests that our brains are in a constant state of dreaming - that they are continually generating images to manufacture the world inside our heads. 'The outside world is a projection, you put it there', says Llinas. 'It is not happening out there, it is happening inside your head. It is, in fact, a dream, exactly like when you fall asleep. We need to see, we need to perceive, we need to dream actively - because this is the only way we can take this huge universe and put it inside a very tiny head. We fold it, we make an image, and then we project it out.'



Blogger al said...

Also, kinda helps explain how mental illness is so devastating and so real. If our brain controls what we see, how hard is it to believe that there can be kinks in the process?

7:50 PM  

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