Change in a Changing World. (i) (Cont’d from previous blog).

The human brain then has – has had to – become a ‘past master’ of change, ever developing, then refining and perfecting its inestimable ability and capacity to recognize, accommodate and adapt to widely different, what we might call “life scenarios”. Indeed, this is precisely why the brain has, on more than a few occasions in the past, been referred to as the “organ of human adaptation”. It is also the reason why our ‘static’ pyramid analogy fails at another level, i.e., that at which rightly, the brain is caught up in a dynamic and incredible inter- and intra-related ‘ferment’ of growth, adaptation and further development/refinement. Indeed, it is the measure of this capacity and the success with which the necessary accommodation has been and continues to be achieved that is both the keynote and hallmark of human intelligence. Increasingly as we evolve therefore, we behold the need for continual evolvement/adaptation, because if the world is ever changing (as indeed it is) then anything, which fails to respond to, or to accommodate such change, must also inevitably wither and die.

Let me take the opportunity here to again emphasize what is now held in the clearest recognition; namely that the brain bears not the slightest resemblance to a machine; nor is it some form of assemblage of parts and structures, which must wear out before they can be replaced. Here then is yet another reason why, in reality, the brain cannot, in reality, be ‘layered’ off into reptilian, paelio-mammalian or “old brain”, neo-mammalian or “new brain” ‘slices’ as (for the sake of convenience, brevity and indeed early comprehension) we have done in the foregoing. We can no more distinguish in this kind of way, between subtle but key physiological functions, such as heartbeat and the feeling of elation at having just won a marathon race, any more than we can between breathing and, at random – say – the art of playing a brass or wind instrument in an orchestra. The evolving integration – both of and in brain – as well as the mystery that still surrounds much of its structure and function – is and will remain, by far the greatest of all the known wonders of the universe.

We might put it this way. The Greek word for house is “oikos”, which in turn is the source of our word “eco”, which is of course the combining form (as in ecosphere) concerned with living things in relation to their environment. If at this point you think of “house”, in its sense of meaning, as in for example, “In my Father’s house are many mansions…” NT John 14, 2, i.e. within the universes, you will develop the fullest meaning of the term “ecosystem”, i.e. a community of living things in relationship to their surroundings. Indeed – and as we shall see – the brain is far more analogous to that kind of approach, than it is to any kind of computer or “mechanistic” analogy. Every brain is, as we shall see, a dynamic (and is in so many ways untidy and even somewhat ‘ram-shackled’) complex of many smaller systems which have developed over aeons of time, although – incredible as it may seem – each individual human brain, is as different to any other brain as it is unfinished and thus, still evolving. (C)SB..

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