What Are You Going to Use Your Brain for?
1) The facts:
a) Your brain is part of your body – just like your hands or your heart.
b) Look at your hands: look now! Suppose you had never seen a hand before. Pretend you were a visitor from outer space with lots of sucker things instead of hands, like an octopus. What would you think a hand was for? The answer is that just by looking at it you could make some guesses, but you would not really know what a hand was for until you had seen it working. Now for a few minutes do something with your hands or better still, watch other people doing things with their hands.
- c) What did they do with their hands?
Answer: they waved them about and pointed at things, they held on to things, they picked things up with their hands, they pushed things with them, they grasped things. But almost always they used their fingers and if their hands were not fitted with fingers there are still some things they could do, like pushing or punching, but most other things would be difficult and often impossible to do with their hands if they were not fitted with fingers. So it seems to you, a visitor from outer space with no hands, but just lots of sucker things, that fingers are the most useful and important part of hands.
2) Now the next thing I want you to do is, very, very: difficult!
You will need two things to do it with, an animal and another person.
1) Any animal will do, but the best is to use is a pet, like a cat or dog, even, a pet rabbit.
2) Any other person will do, but the best to use is a Mummy, Daddy, Uncle or Auntie or Granny, or even, a friend. They must be a human though, not an animal friend like your dog or pony.
I have already warned you that what you have to do is, very, very, difficult. This is because it will seem strange to you as you have never done it before or even seen anyone else do it. We, or rather you, are going to watch them and discover, just like we did with hands and fingers, what brains are for and what part of brains are most important and useful.
Now, when you are ready, start watching an animal. But first of all before you start watching grab a note book and a pencil.
Make Some Wishes!
- Working out how to make them come true by imagining different solutions (simulating).
- Choosing one of the solutions.
- Using effort to try out the chosen solution.
- Rejecting it if it did not work and imagining another solution and using effort to try it out.
Where did the wishes come from?
Think of a wish, say, “I wish I could fly like a bird, or I wish I could have a fast motorcycle, or I wish I was a famous actor (or actress) and everyone thought I was a wonderful person, or I wish I was a king or a queen and I could order everyone about”.
These wishes are all a wish to become something that you are not or to have something that you have not got. They are the most usual wishes.
The next question is obviously.
- a) Why do you want to be different than you are now?
- b) And, why you want to have something you have not got?
Animals don’t think like a but often like b.
Nearly all humans think like a and b.
For example, your dog or cat or pet rabbit wishes suddenly it had something lovely to eat or could go for a lovely gambol and play, but the wish does not last long and if it does not come true it just does something else or goes to sleep and forgets about it. Your pet never wishes it is different from what it is, more beautiful, stronger etc. It simply does not imagine (simulate) such things. Simulate is a fancy word, which merely means pretend in the brain.
Animals, particularly domestic animals, simulate a little; your dog simulates (pretends in its brain) imagine if you like – an awful lot.
So where have we got to now after all this work and hard thinking!
Let’s make a list that we can agree is right or about right, sticking to the essentials only.
1) Your brain is part of your body.
2) Both animal and human brains contain – Wishes.
3) The wishes in a human brain are ‘often’ wishes that they as persons, wish that they were different from what they are.
Animals never wish they were different from what they are.
Both humans and animals often wish for something they have not got.
Both humans and animals simulate, but humans do it more than animals.
If you go carefully through this list it is obvious the important items are :
- a) Wishes are terribly important to humans and both humans and animals imagine things.
- b) Only humans wish they were different from what they are: older, prettier, younger, richer, stronger, healthier, etc.
Question: Where did the wish to be different come from?
Older – seeing older people and admiring them.
Younger – seeing younger people and admiring them.
Prettier – seeing other people and admiring them.
Cleverer – hearing about or talking to other people and admiring them.
Richer – Meeting or reading about richer people and admiring them.
Common Factor = Admiration
Question 1 a: where does ADMIRATION come from?
Answer: The power in brain to simulate BEING THEM.
Animals never simulate THEM – only events – happenings
Solution: Admiration causes you to wish that you were different from what you are.
Question 2 a: where does ADMIRATION come from?
Answer: seeing, meeting or reading about other people (or birds flying).
Some other people cause admiration, which causes the wish to be different and maybe to copy them.
So our visitor from ‘outer space’ would say, “That’s a funny lot, the most important parts of their brains are the effect other people have on them, they don’t think for themselves really”.
“Other people, in a way, seem to do the thinking for them or at any rate; determine their thoughts’ Dr Vilaynur Ramachandran. The Emerging Mind. BBC Reith Lectures the Human Brain and its amazing quantity of ‘mirror neurons’ (found by examining and experiments with brain damaged and/or car accident victims).