This book written by neuroscientist David Eagleman is the story about you, as the tag line says. It is all in the brain, is something known. How and why, this book clearly walks us through.
Books starts with a thoughtful sentence, “who you are depends on where you have been”. While the author explains the brain evolution from birth to old age, what stayed in me are two things. One is above sentence ; place one is born, what you get to experience in the childhood and how the memories are replaced with new memories as we grow, all these determine who we are now. And more importantly, what gets removed from our brain (remember, memory is limited) determines who we are now. So in otherways, what we tend to focus can help remove what we dont want to. It’s all in the brain!!!.
“Our brains and bodies change so much during our life that – like a clock’s hour hand – it’s difficult to detect the changes. Every four months your red blood cells are entirely replaced, for instance, and your skin cells are replaced every few weeks. Within about seven years every atom in your body will be replaced by other atoms. Physically, you are constantly a new you.” – from the book
That’s inspiring. Don’t get drowned by the past, you can be new you! It’s our choice to be in the past or to be the new you.
Second thing is that, brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke can be delayed or can even exists with out any of its symptoms; by keeping a active life style in the old age. Keeping a purpose, keeping our brain active and being physically active, helps to overcome the symptoms of these diseases.
Studied in our school days, how our senses work and how the energy around are converted to light, sound, other senses. But this evolution of brain to perceive things was not taught with awe. Though the brain decides, it needs all other senses to be in sync to make decision making effective. There is this chapter on Consciousness that tells us how we are on auto pilot most of the day. As we do some thing regularly, it gets in to unconscious brain. It could be walking, cycling or any movement of our limbs with no conscious thinking. That’s is why habits become so powerful. Consciousness comes in to play only when unexpected occurs.
There is this chapter on decision making that gives us lot of insights on why we make decisions that are not often consistent. There are many factors coming in to play and all these factors are like talking to each other inside our brain. Many people talking and then a particular decision is made. Some are interesting to note that the decisions we make with respect to people depends on proximity to them. what will happen to the WFH environment where all of us only virtually connected. There has to be constant efforts taken to maintain the physical connection as well to be successful for long term.
Chapters continue to talk about human as social animal, where his brain and body is naturally adopted to exist as a society than as an individual animal. And how the future of our brain is looking. There are interesting researches to transport the brain data, store the human body (vitrified!!!) and so unbelievable stuff. But one thing that this book tells loud and clear is, ‘who we become is up to us’