Sunday, March 13, 2011

Why Your Brain Is Not An Egg Cup

Thinking about understanding the brain is a very dangerous thing because, as Lyall Watson (author the best seller Supernature) observed, if our brain was so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn't. 

In olden days popular theory likened our brains to egg cups – empty vessels at birth that we spent our lives filling up. The role of parents was to make sure that we filled them up with the 'right things'. (Thus, the ever popular question of my youth; "Who's been filling your brain with that nonsense?")

In those days when our brains were full we simply stopped learning and went about our business using what we had learned.

It's a bit more complicated than that today. Scientists tell us that several billion bites of information enter our brains every second. Stands to reason that if our brains were like egg cups, they'd be full in short order. Once we were a few days old, our egg cup brains would be overflowing. Truth is, like our ears, our brain doesn't stop growing as we get older.

As our brain experiences the world around us, it instantly evaluates and drops data it doesn't think necessary. It's more like a sieve than an egg cup; keeping the big stuff that life has taught it is valuable and discarding the small stuff. While we rest, it organizes the stuff it keeps into piles for later use.

So, your brain is not an egg cup. It's a sieve.

Gotta go and find my car keys...


  1. Considering that one tank of gas last you six months, I'm not surprised that you can't find your car keys. When did you last drive the thing? What were you doing when you used it? Can Peanut and the budgie help you retrace your steps?

    Just trying to be helpful.

  2. Yesterday. I used it to go to the bank machine, from where I neglected to retrieve my debit card. Which got swallowed by the machine. Which I have to replace tomorrow. I probably shouldn't leave the house today anyway... LOL!

  3. I would like to think that it is more like Mary Poppins purse - that seemed to have a never ending capacity? :)

  4. what a wonderful thought, WW! Thanks!