Mental Health Monday—how does the human brain work?


Fill the earth and subdue it! (Genesis 1:28) 

It seems that exploration is woven into the fabric of the human spirit. Perhaps the urge is simply the manifestation of the Creator’s command: Subdue the earth!”

In my lifetime exploration has concentrated on outer space and inner space. I was in Junior High when President Kennedy set a goal to put a man on the moon in ten years. Now, with the Hubble Telescope we have viewed vast regions of the cosmos hitherto unknown to humankind.

DNA1In recent decades exploration has turned to inner space. In 2003 the Human Genome Project announced the complete mapping of the human genome. Each of your cells has a master code of 23 pairs of chromosomes. Each chromosome contains hundreds to thousands of genes, which carry the instructions for making proteins that make you absolutely unique.

brainCurrently, however, the three-pound mass between your ears is the most exciting frontier of exploration. For example, working at MIT, Sebastian Seung and his collaborators are working on a plan to thin-slice a mouse brain and trace, from slice to slice, each neural pathway, exposing the wiring diagram of the brain and creating a powerful new way to visualize the workings of the mind. Seung says, “We possess our entire genome at birth, but things like memories are not “stored” in the genome; they are acquired through life and accumulated in the brain.”

In this video Seung demonstrates his hypothesis of how the human brain works. It’s a bit technical but worthy of your exploration…