Let me emphasize yet again that the contents of these blogs on their current subject matter, must not in any sense to be regarded as anything more than a swift and cursory overview of what is currently known about the human brain. For one thing, there is an abundance of specialists in that field (which indeed, I am not) all of whom are more than adequately ‘versed’ in its subject matter. For another, there are now beginning to appear on the popular bookshelves, informative, exciting and very readable descriptive accounts of brain evolution and function: yes; and even future prospects.
What is intended here is (as I hope will become increasingly clear) is much more in the nature of a kind of overview of the journey thus far, in acknowledgement of the continuing evolvement of our on-board coping resource and ability. Accordingly, I have endeavoured throughout to replace technical jargon with metaphor, analogy and simple everyday language, which after all, is what the brain (mine at any rate) is most accustomed to.
That the language traditionally deployed to describe the brain is complex is in one important sense hardly surprising, since it is attempting to describe, as we have already glimpsed, the most complex and mystifying entity partially known, anywhere about us. in this life span at any rate. Furthermore, to ordinary folk like you and me, functional brain mapping – together with the neurophysiological terminology used to describe its structures – are likely only to add to the mystery and not infrequently, confusion.
Yet, to me as l perceive it, the plain truth (based if nothing else, on my own experience (alongside that of working intensively with people in need, for more than half a century) is that we seem much more likely to recognize and handle who we are and how we can effectively and successfully manage our lives, once we acquire, at least a recognizable ‘flavour’ of how the organ of coping, namely the brain, has developed/is developing. Such valuable insights into the common road over which through eons, via our ancestors, we have trodden (as well as of every individual’s unique way of seeing his/her world) does, I believe, for those who are so motivated, greatly enhance their capacity to cope.
Faced with what may well seem to be a ‘rough deal’ or a ‘poor hand’ in life, or even with some, more permanent dysfunction or disorder, we should not feel guilty about or ashamed of whatever physically or emotional deficit or hardship that may be affecting or afflicting us. People who, often, for very good reason, are not coping with their all too present lot – for instance at times of grief and loss – or who are having to live with serious or chronic illness; or who are autistic; or experiencing hearing difficulties; or have a visual deficit; or who suffer from epilepsy – are in no way personally inadequate or inferior to others who, such is their good fortune, are not affected in that way. Indeed, there is an abundance of evidence concerning such disadvantaged people who are active in almost every branch of the arts and crafts, in science, technology and the humanities. Many such notable and well-documented contributions provide nothing less than the solid ring of true substance to such a statement. © SB.