Thursday, March 10, 2005

My Outer Brain

Well, I did it. I sent an E-mail to several friends letting them know I was blogging on a semi-regular basis. Got some wonderful supportive E-mails and (if you look below) a few comments are beginning to flow in.

One E-mail struck me as particularly funny though. The E-mail I sent invited these few hand picked individuals to visit my blog and welcome them to the crazy inner workings of my brain. The response I received was "What's [my] outer brain like?". I chuckled at the clever turn of phrase and thought I'd leave it at that. But, throughout the day my mind kept returning to this phrase. It wouldn't go away. It rattled around like a loose nut. Banging the inside of my head with ever increasing severity.

I eventually came to settle on two different responses. The first flippant, the second more 'educational'.

What's [my] outer brain like?Response 1: Just a convoluted surface area of neurons with no real relevance to my world.

What's [my] outer brain like?Response 2: My outer brain is a shell or interface. A thin layer of neurons that cobble together electrical signals from deeper brain structures that do the heavy lifting of organizing and filtering information. This thin layer of neurons, while important, do little more than apply a thin veneer of rationality and organization to powerful emotional feelings derived from current incoming information and past experience. This 'outer brain' allows me to communicate with others via effective social constructs derived from eons of evolutionary tinkering. However, the 'outer brain' is not necessary for me to experience the world or to experience emotions or develop my own sense of how the world works. It merely acts as an interface. A way for me to clearly explain what's going on inside my mind to someone incapable of experiencing it themselves. So, as intimated by this title of this blog (in general) and post (in particular), I'll try not to let rational thought and organization get in the way of some very strange thoughts.

Inner brain do your thing!

1 comment:

socialsomatic said...

i was having an interesting discussion with some people about moral judgement (based on a paper we read). there was a researcher who had gone to a philosophy conference, where the idea that reason is driven by emotion (rather than moral judgements being drawn from cold rationality) was roundly chided. Yet, it seems impossible that reason drives emotion. Emotion existed long before complex reasoning, so emotion cannot depend on reason. So embrace your inner brain, your lizard self!