You are your brain – a 1.5 kg lump of wrinkled tissue, with no moving parts, no joints or valves. It does not only serve as the motherboard for all of your body’s systems, but is also the seat of your mind. Your thoughts, the sense that you exist at all! You have a heart, you have limbs – you are your brain.
It’s quite a perplexing thing to reflect upon the processes behind your own thoughts. Philosophers have been stumped with the problem of consciousness for ages. The road to understanding the human mind is a very long one, and we have only just left home. We still lack knowledge on so many underlying human mechanisms like love, compassion, or even speech. It’s not to say that we have not made any progress. In fact, we have recently entered the age in which almost every advance in scientific, medical, and technological field is within a few years’ reach. It’s that the amount we know, relative to the amount we don’t know still contributes to a very big margin. Still, the ideas that consciousness proposes are scary.
You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.
Francis Crick, Nobel laureate
Co-discoverer of the molecular structure of DNA
Despite the confines of our perceivable knowledge, one thing is horrifyingly certain: it’s that whoever we are, and whatever we do, whatever we experience comes from sensations and processes in the brain. There’s no point in saying that your brain makes you do things. In fact, it makes you do everything. You and your brain are not distinct entities. Our brains define us. There is nothing more to what we are: we are our brains.
It really is scary to suggest that we are basically just a mind – a mind that controls an arm, a foot, a legs, hands, eyes. This often brings about the topic of singularity. If in the future, our minds are uploaded into computers, we are those computers. With more advanced tools, maybe we will be able to deeper understand more about the conscious and the brain. In some time, we’ll be able to explain how chemical processes are experienced as emotions. It’s not a surprise that so much money is put onto the brain – it’s a mystery upon mysteries just waiting to be solved. All we need are the proper instruments. And I, for that matter, can’t wait to open Pandora’s Box.