Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Go figure...

I signed on to post an entry about whether our brain operates at some higher level, like a super-organism controlling us neandrathalic human creatures, with the idea of playing up a random thought going through my brain and using the idea that we only use around 10% of our brains. But, to make sure I had the right percentage number, I googled "percent of brain usage humans" (an aside to say that I absolutely love Google!) and hit a bunch of sites talking about the "10% brain usage myth."

Myth? I thought. It's a myth?

So I click on the link to read more. Turns out, there are a bunch of people who are rather angry about this whole "10% brain usage" thing. And I guess what they say makes sense. Arguments include: why would we evolve such large brains only to use 10% of them? Apparently, 10% of our brain is about the size of a sheep's brain, and we don't really compare neurologically to sheep. (Okay, sometimes I wonder when people are in large groups, but that's a topic for a more philosophical post not based on completely scientific reasoning.) Brain scans show usage in all areas of the brain. And neurological diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's take away efficient usage of our brains, causing huge disabilities. Severe brain damage can occur with only a small portion of your brain physically damaged. One website proclaims at the top of it's page that "There is no scientific evidence to suggest that we use only 10% of our brains." That site goes on to accuse people of misinterpreting Einstein, and other scientists long dead. The media is blamed for promoting and cashing in on people's willingness to believe this myth. And, at the end of the article, I found myself nodding ponderously. "Huh," I think to myself, "I guess what they're saying makes sense." I also found myself laughing at the emotion oozing from the page. "Take a chill pill, dude," I silently advise the webpage's creator, "Apparently you're passionate about people not believing the myth, but you are borderlining the label 'crazed zealot'."

It's true that not everything you read on the Internet is true, but there were a bunch of links to more websites on this topic, and Google hit a few different sites as well on the topic. So, perhaps it is a myth, or perhaps the myth is a myth, therefore creating a negation and we're left with only 10% of our brains. I haven't read about it enough or thought about it enough to know what I think or if it's obvious that the 10% usage thing is a myth. All I know is that I'm highly amused by the emotional fervor with which this website was written.

And all I was gonna do was pose a semi-ridiculous, philosophical question that I though would be fun to ponder. Go figure. The Internet and its overabundance of knowledge (true or otherwise) strikes again. Ha!

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