Monday, March 16, 2015

Musical Monday - Ode to the Brain! by Symphony of Science

You are, in a very real sense, your brain. Just about everything that makes you uniquely you is the result of your brain. The rest of your body is essentially a life-support and transport system for your brain. The magic of human life is that everyone is basically a meat covered skeleton being guided by a lump of meat that is somehow self-aware.

There are, of course, people who insist that your brain isn't really "you". That somehow there is a magical force that is your "consciousness" that exists separately from what they deride as mere meat. This dualistic view has a long pedigree in philosophical circles, but there really isn't anything to support it. There are no examples of consciousness existing separately from brains. If you damage someone's brain, you can change their memories and their personality - effectively changing who "they" are. There is no evidence of any kind of external signal controlling the brain. And so on. Nothing we have learned about the brain has been dispositive one way or the other, but all of the evidence we have discovered points towards brains being the source of consciousness, and essentially none of it points towards some external spirit providing the spark that makes someone self-aware.

Further, I think the idea that the brain isn't "enough" to explain our consciousness is actually a less amazing thought than the realization that several hundred million years of evolution resulted in each of us carrying about an organ that has achieved self-aware sentience. If anything is a miracle, that is. We are meat with delusions of grandeur. Nothing more, and nothing less. And that is a transcendent realization.

Previous Musical Monday: Above by the Blue Man Group
Subsequent Musical Monday: George Mason by Paul & Storm

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