“Have you ever paused for a moment thinking how fascinating yet complex the brain is? and there might be a possibility that everything you know about your brain is wrong!”
Thanks to our brains, we’ve evolved to become the most rational species on Earth. We’re by far the most creative, and our need for artistic expression is undeniable.
However, we usually behave irrationally, and we make decisions that defy logic & reason. At the same time, we create the most beautiful forms of artistic expressions like music, literature, painting, cinema, theater, etc.
Ironically, we can build & destroy, love & hate, give & take, and we can feel joy as well as grief.
It seems that our lives are controlled by opposites and contradictions.
It is almost as if this relation of opposites and contradictions symbolizes the human brain! In other words, it symbolizes the right hemisphere versus the left hemisphere. The rational and the creative, good and the evil, merry and the miserable…
Still, is this division of left & right hemispheres enough to understand how the human brain works? Or is it enough to figure out how our brains generate our conscious experience of reality?
So, this blog attempts to answer the above questions & provide an explanation of why everything you know about your brain is wrong!
The human brain in a nutshell
The human brain is one of the most complex phenomena in the universe. In fact, although it has been studied for decades, and many scientific breakthroughs have been discovered about it… it’s still a mystery to scientists in terms of its intricate inner workings, and how it generates our conscious experience (reality).
In other words, the more scientists study the brain, the more mysterious yet fascinating it becomes!
A good example of that is the human consciousness. So far, scientists & neurologists are still unable to determine the origins of consciousness in the brain. They still cannot figure out where it is generated in our brains? Or where does it come from? Also, they’re still studying how accurately the brain constructs our reality of the world.
Well, most neurologists arguably agree that consciousness is an emergent phenomenon. However, there isn’t a specific area of the brain responsible for generating it.
That’s to say, consciousness emerges due to an enormous neuroactivity that encompasses the entire brain; thus, it’s not limited to one specific area.
Or, we can say consciousness appears when the 100 billion neurons in your brain fire together creating a tremendous amount of electrical impulse & neural communication.
This results in creating your conscious experience of yourself, others, and the world as a whole.
However, this doesn’t directly explain how the brain accurately generates consciousness, and whether it comes from the brain in the first place!
A metaphoric depiction of consciousness would be like this:
Imagine your brain is a music hall, neurons are the musicians, each one with an instrument, and they’re playing together in perfect harmony. Then, music emerges like magic!
The music here is consciousness. It emerges thanks to the perfect collaboration & communication between neurons firing together and creating a beautiful symphony (consciousness).
But, does this mean neuroactivity produces consciousness? And does this mean that consciousness is produced within the brain? Or if consciousness is an emergent phenomenon, how does it exactly emerge?
The answer: who the heck knows! That is why everything you know about your brain is wrong or at least can be wrong.
The left hemisphere VS the right hemisphere
As we’ve explained, the human brain is divided into two independent hemispheres (the two brains), yet they’re interconnected. The right & left hemispheres are linked through a group of thick neural fibers called ‘Corpus Callosum‘.
Thanks to this connection, the two sides of the brain can communicate & share information processed in either of the two hemispheres. And you don’t notice anything!
Accordingly, both hemispheres function cooperatively and collaboratively. They have different characteristics yet, they’re interdependent in terms of their functions.
However, there is a common misunderstanding when it comes to the two hemispheres. People believe that the right side of the brain is related to logic; whereas, the right is related to creativity. Still, this is not the case because the human brain is more complicated than that.
Therefore, This oversimplification only reduces its complex inner workings. It’s like saying the left side of the brain is a sophisticated mathematician and the right side is a creative artist. Still, this simplified division of the brain is inaccurate because both hemispheres engage in creative, mathematical, and rational operations one way or another. They only differ in terms of how they handle those operations.
In other words, our cognitive functions, personality traits, and behaviors cannot be explained merely in terms of left & right. Black & white. Thus, we should stop perceiving our brains as a contrasting dichotomy. The belief that each side of the brain is distinct from the other is inaccurate, and it distorts our understanding of how it works.
More accurately, the left brain is responsible for language & rhythm; whereas, the right brain is responsible for processing emotions & melody. Still, this doesn’t imply that they’re separate. Instead, both halves are unitary, and they work hand in hand to fulfill different functions.
Another common myth about the brain
Another common misunderstanding is believing that a human brain is merely a computing machine. In truth, the brain is much more complicated than that. That’s why we’re capable of feeling and communicating profound emotions that cannot be matched nor replicated by the most advanced AI or any machine.
Usually, people also believe that the left hemisphere is completely rational and has nothing to do with emotions. However, this is only a myth because the left hemisphere specializes in emotions such as anger and irritability. So, emotionality is related to the entire brain and not limited to one side of it.
Ironically, the left hemisphere is less rational than its counterpart. Yes, although it helps us think rationally & critically, it still can be blinded by intense emotions of anger and irritation. Again, this tells us that our brains cannot be reduced into a simple dichotomy of thinker versus feeler.
The left brain and the right brain
By now, I think we should stop saying the phrase ‘the left hemisphere versus the right hemisphere’. That’s because they’re not simply opposing protagonists or antagonists. They’re interconnected halves that make the whole. But, how do they both work?
In a nutshell, your right brain is responsible for controlling the left side of your body. Whereas, the left brain controls the right side. Moreover, the sensory data taken from the right side of the body is processed by the left brain while data taken from the left side is processed by the right brain.
Again, this doesn’t suggest that they’re totally distinct or oppositional. There is nothing such as left brain-oriented versus right brain-oriented. Our cognition, behaviors, and personalities are dependent on the entire activity of the brain (both halves).
The brain & the world
Unfortunately, our existence as a species is largely controlled by division. We’re divided by religious beliefs, political orientations, social classes, nationalist borders, cultural traditions, gender identities, and ethnicity.
We like to categorize and classify everything in our life into types, categories, kinds, and divisions. Then, we judge & shape our understanding of the world accordingly.
We even divided our understanding of the brain into separate halves (the left VS the right). We turned our intricate & beautiful life experience into a shallow catalog of things, labels, and types.
However, this thinking approach to life distorts and hinders our understanding of the beautiful complexity of the world as a whole and not as small parts. When trying to understand the world separately from its interconnected components, we end up missing the whole picture.
In other words, when we try to understand something about the world, we separate it from its context & relation to everything related to it. We divide the part from the whole & the whole from the part. Therefore, we cease to see the whole image or the holistic meaning that exists in the relation between the whole & the part and vice versa.
This applies even to the brain!
A good example of that is how we try to understand our brains. We usually think of the brain in terms of the right versus the left. We’ve become culturally accustomed to believing that it is separated into two distinct parts, each part with its unique functions. As a result, we fail to perceive the brain as a holistic system that shapes our identities & the world around us.
So first, to understand the holistic & complex beauty of the world, we should start by understanding that our brains are a unitary system composed of interconnected parts.
“You’re one and all. All and one.”
A side note:
It’s important to note that difference is not division; thus, we shouldn’t conflate the two of them together. Difference is one of the most beautiful qualities of life. It creates diversity and the fascinating complexity of our daily lives. Still, difference doesn’t divide us. That’s because when we embrace difference, we see the beauty of many different pieces completing a big puzzle, creating one image.
“We are the same thanks to our differences.”
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