Chronicles in Ordinary Time 149: Thought

This is a visual representation of some of the neurons of your brain, and the highlighted area is a thought.

What is the thought? You tell me, it’s your thought…

As ‘unflattering’ as this image may be, what differentiates you from the other primates walking around, is this thought. Connections between neurons comprise all of the thought and action that occurs in our bodies; all the ‘internal diagnostics’ that occur in our bodies.

When you watch an image on a screen, there is no comparable ‘screen’ in your brain on which the image is shown. Light travels into your eye, is converted to electro-chemical signals by your retina, and the information travels up your optic nerve into your brain. The information in the signal is processed by thousands of neurons in various parts of your brain, and the resultant processing creates an ‘image’ in your mind that really doesn’t exist in one spot in your brain. That image is no more complete and cohesive than the words on the digital ‘paper’ on which you are reading these words. The words and images are flashes of light on a screen; those images are created by data on hard drives; and the data is stored in dozens of places within the hard drive, in separate ‘fragments’ in the drive. This is why ‘old-style’ hard drives need to be de-fragmented.

To be honest, I have no idea how solid-state drives [aka flash drives] work. I do better at understanding moving parts.

Most of my illustrations these days are digital—my fingers don’t respond to my commands as well as in the past, and it’s easier to control a big, bulky ‘mouse’. The created image I make only exists as ‘ones and zeroes’ in a number of external hard drives in my office; and those ‘ones and zeros’ [on/off switches] are actually in the form of ‘computer language’ rather than Arabic Numerals.

I have philosophical discussions with myself as to whether or not digital images that have no tangible reality until they get printed, can be considered as Art. No winner yet.

thousands of digits

The primary difference between human brains and the brains of [lower] primates is the size—size does matter, sometimes, as shown in the illustration below. Size relates to the potential number of neural pathways and neural connections.

Comparison of Primate BrainsOur brains are made up of the same general components as lower primates [greatly simplified explanation]; the overall size of our brains is what somehow crossed us over from the point of being an animal in the field to being animal that was aware that it was a being in a field; and that this animal had choices about how it would behave. In his chapter on The Fall of Man in CS Lewis’ The Problem of Pain [incredible book], Lewis describes a theory of primitive man, as he probably was, when Mankind became cognizant of the concept of “me”. One day, a man/hominid that the Bible calls Adam, made a decision to follow a choice of his own, one that was not pre-programmed. Adam decided to do what he wanted; and that choice was different than the way he’d lived his life before that day.
The Fall. The choice to live as this hominid wanted to live, over the programming that was part of its ‘upbringing’. Lewis does a much better job of explaining the process.

There is nothing in Torah/the Tanakh [the Hebrew name for what we gentiles call the Older Testament] that precludes Adam and Eve from being hominids as opposed to homo sapiens. Harder on the ego, perhaps. Rabbinical scholars did not have a problem with the idea in centuries past. There are some verses in Genesis that make a little more sense if there were indeed hominids that hadn’t made the same leap that Adam and Eve had made. When Cain went to the Land of Nod, and took a wife, where did she come from?
Sadly, here in America, there are a lot of people who believe that Adam and Eve were blue-eyed blonds. sigh

Returning to the neurons in your brain and mine, I have a belief that I cannot prove; one that says the Creator communicates with us through our subconscious. Connections between neurons occur without our realizing it, and new ideas are born. That phenomenon when you have worked on a problem until you are exhausted; you lie down to go to sleep; and suddenly you realize the answer to the problem. Am I saying that every time this happens, this is the Creator communicating with you? Of course not. What I’m saying is that sometimes in my life [I can’t speculate about your life] ‘strange’ ideas have popped into my brain; and sometimes those ideas have led to amazing results.

My work in Stephen Ministry is one of those strange notions. I was taking part in a Prayer Vigil at our church, reading little cards that people had written prayer requests upon. After an hour or two of this reading, I had the firm conviction that I needed to become a Stephen Minister—me, the ‘high-functioning sociopath,’ volunteering to enter the lives of hurting strangers…

It’s changed my life.

Since Stephen Ministry’s primary commitment is to Confidentiality, I cannot tell you how the experience has changed my life.

Neither can I prove it to you.

watson's brain3









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