This is really my first time trying this, and with all things new that I try, I do it because it sounds fun. Whether this (or any other new thing) will fly or not, is an entirely other consideration, and one that I rarely undertake. I suppose that one day I shall pay for this approach. But until then…
The purpose of this blog is manifold. As the name suggests it’s about the brain. The brain is a wonderful place. My favourite place. Its physiology is beyond compare with any other organs in the body. It is composed of an estimated 100 billion cells. For perspective, if you took 100 billon dollar coins and stacked them up, they’d reach nearly all the way to the moon*. And these cells connect with one another in ways that we don’t fully understand, but which produce some of the most amazing feats. In simplest terms, the brain senses the environment, and produces responses that are appropriate. It even possesses the power to determine what “appropriate” actually is. Which is why the brain is often to blame if we become inappropriately anxious, depressed, motion sick, enamoured of others. Because of this sheer power – power over which we seemingly have no conscious control – the brain has become a focal point for study. And a lot of current study focuses on discovering how and why the brain does what it does, mainly so that we can better control it, or regain its function following damage.
Consequent to this unrivalled power, the brain lies at the heart of who we are. Many of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about this, but excursions into this territory are highly informative and intellectually satisfying. Such study provides the real window into the soul that many people seek. And the idea of using the brain to think about itself is at once phenomenal and fantastical.
I hope to use this blog as a forum for a bit of “travel writing.” Not necessarily in the purest, Lawrence or Newby, sense, but a little bit. Much as a nomad tours the land open-minded and unknowing, venturing regularly into uncharted territory, I hope to voyage into the newest neural territory, uncovering as I go, the secrets (or at least our most current thinking), of how the brain pulls it all off and what happens when things go wrong.
*Thanks for the updated calculation, Craig!