Thursday 19 January 2012

Cerebrum Vulgaris.

No, not one of my belovéd walnuts, but a human brain.

This is what separates us from all other animals; a brain that allows us to invent, create, and destroy. In one person's body it can be the power of good, in another's the power of evil. It can command the hand to paint like Rubens or Rembrandt, or it can command the wholesale slaughter of our fellow man.

For some it will make all waking hours a pleasure, for others a nightmare. Some will be driven to hard-work wealth and power, others will be satisfied with sloth. For some it will invent gods and devils, for others it will provide common sense and logic.

All brains are initially much the same, but when given different stimuli, different nourishment, and different arenas; these amalgamate to forge the difference between us. It is thus that we become who, and what, we are.

Each morning when I face the world anew, I have inestimable choice. I can complete my tasks without complaining, or I can do the minimum and moan. I can be honest in my actions, or I can be a cheat, a liar, or a thief. I can think and say pleasant things about, and to, others, or I can be negative, critical, and foul-mouthed.

The human brain weighs an average of 1.5 kilos (20% less for women), and is, until now, the world's greatest computer. One day there will certainly be 'Brain Downloads'; for the price of a beer we will be able to speak Japanese like a native, recite all the works of Shakespeare verbatim, or maybe even sing pitch-perfect.

It should also be noted that a mere Wren, or Blue Tit, has a brain the size of half a pea, but can build a nest that resembles exactly the one in which she was born. Try asking most humans to do that (unless, of course, they've had the 'Housebuilder' download)!


  1. While humanity will one day certainly be capable of augmenting the brain, I doubt that we will choose to do so in most circumstances. Why add a microchip to ramp up memory or language recognition when one can do the same thing (with less discomfort/pain/risks) via a really smartphone.

  2. If you know where I could download a 'speaking welsh fluently' module, perhaps you would let me know, Cro! On the other hand, there is a certain pleasure in learning and mastering knowledge and skills, so maybe the downloads would deprive us of much of that. (Could certainly have done with a maths one in school though!)

  3. Maths, history, geography, science, etc. No more need for school!

  4. Brains are a wonderful invention indeed but I confess to inordinate Darwinian gratitude for the opaque nature of the head casing, especially at meal times.

  5. Has the dog been digging for truffles again Cro?

    Re brain downloads. I would like to pre-order; a Chinese, to stop misspelling the word freind, and to predict the winning lottery numbers.

  6. Working for so long as I did in the neurological field of nursing.....the brain's power and complexity never ceased to amaze me

  7. The power of choice Cro. Is that a function of the brain or the heart?

  8. I suspect that the brain dictates to the heart!

  9. An iBrain, what an interesting and frightening concept!

  10. I think you've just coined the trademark.

  11. I've just noticed that the time attributed to the posting of comments has gone crazy. As I write, my comment above was written at 15.40 pm, whereas it says above 06.34 am. Any ideas?

  12. Stellar post (I love learning about the brain). iBrain... nice one, Arleen!

  13. At present, my brain is full of porridge. I wish you hadn't drawn attention to it.

  14. In a world where man is learning more and more about the mysteries of the universe, it is amazing how little we understand about the workings and capabilities within our own brains. What an intriguing post!

  15. I think I am the original Tin Man..I often say to myself "if I only had a brain" lol

  16. Brains are fascinating both in how they look and operate. They are so delicate too, one little bit of damage and they lose so much.

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