There are few things in the universe that are as complex and wondrous as the human brain. This single organ controls the human body’s autonomic systems, chemical balances, and emotional responses. It is responsible for thought pattern, rationalization, logic, reason, and massive amounts of data storage that is accessible in a matter of seconds or continually analyzed for years on end. The human brain is aware that it exists, as an organ, inside of the human body – yet, still manages to see itself as an individual personality; creating its own beliefs, opinions, and realities based on the information it receives.
The studies of neurology, psychiatry, and psychology are extremely intriguing, specifically, because these subjects allow the human brain to study itself.
- Neurology is the study of the brain’s anatomy, functions, and nervous system.
- Psychiatry studies the chemical states that cause emotional distress, abnormal behavior, and mental illness.
- Psychology is the scientific study of the mind, especially in matters of cause and effect.
Individual Studies Of The Human Brain
Neurologically, the human brain controls all the body’s functions: heart beat, pulse, chemical balances, breathing, and etc… Information acquired by the central nervous system of the human body is similar to a recording device that is “always on”. Everything’s recorded that a person sees, hears, tastes, touches, and smells and stored as data that is accessible as memory for future reference.
Psychiatric studies of the human brain involve its control of the body’s chemical balance. In specific, what causes the brain to release different chemical compounds that give cause to a person’s emotional state. What makes people love and hate, experience joy and anger, get ready to fight or take flight? Quite simply, emotions are survival responses of a person’s brain that make their bodies respond, by using its basic instincts of a chemical makeup change to create a feeling or emotion.
Which leaves psychology, the most theoretical and controversial of the three subjects mentioned. Unlike its counterparts, psychology studies the cause and effect of rational or irrational thoughts and behavior patterns. While this subject can easily cross into the psychiatric or neurological fields on cases of mental illness or a physical brain defect, its roots are more oriented in “what happened in the past that caused the current rational or irrational behavior of a person”.
Individually, these three subjects are fascinating, however, combine them and some very interesting concepts arise.
Combining The Concepts
The human brain acts as a neurological recording device that responds by using emotion and/or logic and reason to survive. While that statement may seem simple enough, its complexity rivals that of “understanding the universe”. No two people are “exactly” alike and each person’s neurological recordings are interpretations their particular senses and surroundings. Certain memories are vivid, while others are cloudy or completely inaccurate. The brain can malfunction, putting the body in emotional states that do not logically correspond with given situations such as: panic attack, anxiety disorders, manic depression, and suicidal thought. Issues of indoctrination and education become crucial elements in how the human brain responds and how a person overcomes life’s obstacles.
Memory – True Or False?
When you consider the amount of times that similar experiences occur in life, combined with the vast storage of memories accumulated within the brain, it becomes clear why a memory is not always correctly interpreted by the brain. As the human brain begins to ponder a topic, current as well as, recalled data gets compared with previously stored data that is similar. While the data collected seems as if it’s recalled in sequential order, from the most recent to the first experience recorded, priority is given to memories with intense emotion(s) attached to them. However, the longer a person ponders a topic, the cloudier the memory will become as the brain sifts through similar experiences to form its opinions and/or beliefs. Therefore, it is conceivable that “true” memories are easily accessible if you can tie an emotion to them at the time of storage or experience.
To iterate my point; as a person progresses through the school system they find subjects they like, subjects they hate, and subjects that they are indifferent to. The subjects they liked/hated are easily recalled, but in different ways. Liked subject matter is easily recalled because it’s given priority. Hated subjects are equally given priority, however, the priority memory revolves around the emotion instead of the subject matter itself. Recalling emotionally indifferent subject matter is difficult and, often times, results in cloudy or incorrect memories.
No Two Snowflakes Are Exactly Alike
How can two people read a single sentence and disagree on its content? How can a message shared between a few people change? What happens in that instance of communication that changes the dynamics of a person’s perception?
It is the lack of attention or effectual stimulation to make the human brain pay attention to the details of the communication being passed at the time. When the brain is indifferent to the information being presented to it, no priority is given to the information stored. As a result, brand new information takes a back seat to similarly recalled information that’s deemed “priority” and the message becomes convoluted.
To further complicate matters, the five senses of the human body interpret things differently in different people. What smells pleasing to one person can smell horrid to another, what looks beautiful to in eye of one person interprets as ugly to another, what sounds scary to one person can cause another to laugh, and so forth. It is these interpretation differences that define our perception of “personal reality”.
Indoctrination And Education
Indoctrination is the method by which people learn the paradigms of earlier generations. Education, however, goes beyond collecting facts and figures. It enters the realm of questioning the paradigms, set by the generations that came before, to understand the who, what, when, where, why, and how of things. The only definitive difference between an indoctrination and an education lies in the “questioning of facts” presented to the human brain.
But people tend not to question topics or subjects they are emotionally indifferent to, so study becomes tedious and difficult while facts and figures become little more than inaccurate memories for them. What does get questioned are subjects or topics of emotional interest to the human brain because, again, they get priority treatment in regards to memory recall.
Thus you have people who do not do well in school, but as time passes their brain perceives that certain crucial information is missing, they gain an emotional interest in subject matter that they could not retain while attending school. At this point, TRUE education takes place because there is an emotional attachment to learning the subject matter and memories will be more vivid as they are given emotional priority status upon recall. Not only does a person’s positive emotional status open them up to being educated, it encourages further study of related subject matter that change the social paradigms introduced to us as children.
It is for this very reason that we are no longer indoctrinated to theories of a flat Earth, phrenology, or that earth, water, fire, and air account for all the elements in Earthly substances.
Stop & Think
If education is the key to a civilized society then a civilized society MUST continue to question the paradigms of the past. This does not mean that people should throw away the lessons of the past, rather, people must become familiar with the lessons of the past to learn from them. Furthermore, since education can not occur without question, people need a motivation to ask questions instead of sitting through mass indoctrination programs that they are indifferent to… and there is no greater motivation to the human brain than a positive emotional experience.
So, sit back, relax, and take a few minutes to consider the wonders of the human brain, how it got to where it is, and where -you- will take it next.