10 Cool Things About the Brain and What It Means for You
The most complex and perplexing piece of biological hardware we know of is pretty fascinating. Here are a few quick facts that will blow your mind.
There’s a famous quote about understanding the brain from the mathematician and science writer Ian Stewart. He said:
If our brains were simple enough for us to understand them, we’d be so simple that we couldn’t.
That’s a bit of a mindfuck (no pun intended), but it’s an interesting point. The brain may be the only thing in the universe that, by definition, we’re incapable of fully understanding because the thing trying to understand it is the same as the thing that’s trying to be understood.
It’s kind of like seeing the back of your own eyeball.
That said, the human brain is one of the most complex entities in the known universe. Despite how dumb most of the people around you may seem, the human brain’s computational power and ability to adapt and understand the environment around it is staggering.
Here are some of the more fascinating facts about the brain I’ve come across over the years, and what they mean for you.
1. We Forget Our Childhoods Because We Actually Replace Our Brain Cells
Neurons develop at the rate of about 250,000 per minute during early pregnancy. Formation of new neurons may actually be the reason we forget things, and since so many new neurons are developing during infancy, it may also be the reason why we don’t remember the first few years of our lives.
What this means for you: I think we all kind of assume that our brain has some physical permanence. If you fell off your bike when you were a kid, then your brain will always remember that and somehow that connection will remain with you forever.
But the truth is that your brain, like any part of your body, is always changing, always reconfiguring itself. And those neurons that existed when you scraped your knee may actually be jettisoned at some point. This would, quite literally, imply that some past childhood traumas or pains, are…