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Letter 1.3 The human brain

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Dear Benoit,

The human body is marvelous. Unfortunately, it comes equipped with a brain that is a total disappointment.  

Adults would let you think that, after the Big Bang, a limited amount of thinking appeared in the universe. It got condensed into the human brain and nowhere else. Take that with a grain of salt! Ask them if we become more and more dumb as the world population increases or if we generate thinking just by ourselves, out of nothing!

Mathematics could  represent the part of nature that the human brain can understand

It seems to me that the purpose of mathematics is to avoid reasoning. At the end of a mathematical reasoning there is a formula. If you know the formula, you don’t need the reasoning. To get the surface of a rectangle you only need to remember that it is a multiplication. Nobody will ask you why. Of course, somebody had to find the formula. We called him a genius and put his name in the dictionary. This is our way to avoid being humble and getting ego bruises.

However, there is more to mathematics than avoiding reasoning.

The Fibonacci numbers are part of nature. They may not explain everything. They give us access to a partial explanation. Look at nature around you and you will find numbers and relations between numbers. It seems that mathematics help us to understand nature.

Mathematics could  represent the part of nature that the human brain can understand. What would be the next step? Increased consciousness?

To make us feel great, we compared our thinking with the thinking of animals. This was a safe way to feel superior. We even underestimated the thinking and feelings of animals.

 - A lioness hunting zebras must wait for the best opportunity to jump and run after her prey. She must take into consideration how fast the zebra can run and in which direction – the terrain – how fast she can run and for how long…... I think the lioness would make a better decision than I could with my GPS and my pocket calculator.

 - Cats don’t jump on the lap of people who don’t like cats. They know better.

 - If wolves had a human mentality, they would split their pack into several small packs and start fighting each other.

Our thinking may not be as great as we would like to think. You can get your ego massage by comparing human thinking with the thinking of animals. That’s not fair. We should compare the development of our brain with the development of our own body. Let’s keep in mind that every second we complete about 500 trillion faultless copies of hemoglobin – a protein containing 10000 atoms in 574 amino acids. How does that compare with the human brain?

Do you like tests? Try this one:

“If Mary’s daughter is my son’s mother, what is my relationship with Mary?”

This is a simple question about the relationship between grand-parents, parents and children. No calculations, no mathematics.

Read it again: “If Mary’s daughter in my son’s mother, what is my relationship with Mary?”

How do you feel Benoit? What is coming out of your brain?

 

Another test of the human brain:

Take a series of coins and put them in alignment and number them 1, 2, 3, 4…  all head up.

 - I flip the coins 2, 4, 6… and all the multiple of 2.

 - I flip the coins 3, 6, 9, 12…  and all the multiple of 3.

What are the coins that are still head up?

What is coming out of your human brain Benoit? How does it compare with the human body?

I will put the answer at the end of the letter - just in case you need it.

 

Do you want another test? This one will help you locate the envelope of human limitations. Don’t worry. We don’t have to go very far.

Limited brain
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 Q: I put 10 balls in a bag – 5 white and 5 black. The only difference is their color. If I take 1 ball, what are the chances that it will be black?

A: 5 chances out of 10 - of course.

Now let's take 2 balls. I can have 2 black, 2 white or 1 black and 1 white.

Q: What are the chances that I will have 1 black and 1 white?

 A: Taking 2 balls at once is more than we can handle. Let’s assume that I take only 1 ball. It is a black one. There are 9 balls left. Only 5 of them are white. The chances that the next ball will be white is 5 out of 9.

We have reached the limits of the human brain. One ball at a time is fine. Two balls is too much.

Now you know how to apply a similar reasoning to balls of many different colors and different quantities. 

                 Humans are made of a simplistic brain in a very sophisticated body.

You may object that the human brain has remodeled our world. We created computers, planes, MRI, antibiotics, atomic bombs, cell phones. We went to the moon.....  That’s true but we did all those things by putting many simple ideas together. A computer is made of millions of simple ideas. We connected millions of brains producing millions of simple ideas. This is globalization. That does not mean that the individual human brain has improved. Search You Tube for the tests that would make you a genius and compare them with the complexity of the daily routines of the human body.

Be careful - Telling people that their brain is limited is not the best way to make friends.  They would prefer to hear that the universe was created in such a way that it can be dominated by human thinking. All you can do is to plant the little seed and let them water it... if they want to.

We are not the master of our ship.

We are only trying to master the wind blowing in our sails.

Our body is made of a detour in the cycles of its atoms. I don’t know who is in charge of the traffic that creates 20 million new cells every second but you will agree that it is something way above the human brain. We are not the master of our ship. We are only trying to master the wind blowing in our sails.

How can you explain this enormous discrepancy between our mind and our body?

The best explanation I could find comes from history. When an animal sees a danger, it knows what its reaction should be. Birds fly away - Zebras run - Fish swim. When man perceives a danger, he may hesitate between different reactions. Should he hide? Run away? Call for help? Throw stones? Climb a tree? Man introduces thinking between being aware of the danger and his reaction. That takes time. A fraction of a second could make the difference between survival and becoming a meal. The more you think, the lower your chances of survival. Eliminating the best thinkers for millions of years before they even have a chance to reproduce lowers the IQ of the general population. We are the survivors because we are the dumb ones. The Homo sapiens survived because of their limited thinking. A similar evolution should also apply to animals.

Are you smart enough to find a better explanation?

 

The scientists are the first ones to say that our thinking is not reliable. Everything must be validated by experiments. They say that we should look at the facts and apply our thinking to the facts. Why should we associate the facts with an unreliable thinking that is going to mess up everything? Does that make sense to you? 

When facing the world, we are overwhelmed by its complexity and desperately search for a simple cause producing a simple effect. Our first reaction is to analyze. That means to break the problem into many pieces hoping that each piece will reveal a simple idea that we can understand. This is nothing but lying to ourselves. We know that every atom is part of the world and follows its own cycle in the universe. You cannot isolate an atom from the rest of the world. Science has built itself an oversimplified world and tries to project it on nature. The two don’t match. You cannot use nature as a screen on which you project your own film.

 

We need to find a better way to use our brain.

Instead of analyzing we could use synthesizing. Science was only a beginning. It is a point of entry for human thinking. After learning to swim we have to venture to the deep end.

Whatever we see in nature is not unique. It is one of the many implementations of a more general idea. We should look for other similar implementations. After noticing something special in the shape of cauliflowers we should look for a similar idea in the lightnings, the lungs, the branches of a tree.... This is how we discovered the many implementations of the fractals. Observing an association of opposites in the ovule and the spermatozoa should lead us to other association of opposites such as brain and nerves, chlorophyll and blood…

 

This is a U-Turn in the way we look at the nature surrounding us. It should also bring a U-Turn in the way we look at ourselves. Instead of investigating the details of human beings, we should investigate what they have in common. Instead of looking at their differences we should look at the way they merge. Humanity is made of individuals isolated in their own skin and trying to get out of their isolation. We will not get out of our jail by dwelling on our differences. We should search for what we have in common. Synthesis must replace analysis.

To develop, the human body needs exercises. Something similar could happen to the human brain. Our efforts to understand may produce a development of the brain. This is the purpose of going to school. What will be important in your life is not the number of books that you will read but the number of books that will remodel your brain. There are books that I had to read 3 or 4 times before I could understand them completely.

 

Could all the human thinking be connected together like our PCs can be connected to a computer network?

Our body started with one cell that got divided into 2, 4, 8…..  Something similar could happen to our thinking.  In other words, there is some thinking going on at the surface of planet earth. This thinking is using our brain whether we like it or not. Thinking needs humans like birds need trees. The birds don’t belong to the trees and no individual tree is indispensable. What is needed is a group of trees to support a group of birds. That would mean that individual thinking is part of a more general thinking whether we are conscious of it or not. To expand our thinking, we would have to expand a common consciousness. At school, the children should be told:

“Kids – The human brain is very limited. We are being conscious only of what is close to us, like walking in the fog. Long ago a man named Plato wrote "the allegory of the cave", to make us conscious of our predicament. Since that time, we have been waiting for somebody to find a way out of our cave.

We are going to show you how to make a multiplication. This is only a mechanical way to become conscious of the answer. For the time being, it is the only way we know.  That does not mean that it is the only way possible.  Mathematics require a chain of many links to get from A to B. With a higher consciousness, we may be able to fly from A to B.  We have to get out of Plato's cave. We need your help!

Big hug

Pepe

 

PS1: The relationship with Marie: If a woman is the mother of my son, that means that I am married to that woman and we had a son together. Marie is my mother in law.

That question was asked to a man. Now you can ask the same question to a woman.

 

PS2: The coins: There are two ways the coins can remain heads up. They could have been flipped twice. In this case they are multiple of 6. The other possibility is that they have not been flipped at all. In that case they are not multiple of 2 or 3.

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