‘...the function of the brain is to exert centralized control over the other organs of the body...’...’The operations of individual
brain cells are now understood in considerable detail but the way they cooperate in ensembles of millions is yet to be solved.’ -
There are different forms of intelligence: IQ is a type of language intelligence, but there’s analytical intelligence, creative intelligence, practical intelligence and many more. In his 1983 book - Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner identified seven distinct intelligences; these being musical/rhythmic, visual/spatial, verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.
In 1995 psychologist Daniel Goldman wrote a book called Emotional Intelligence,and nowadays many gurus believe emotional intelligence to be the hallmark of successful people since no amount of genius can make up for a lack of social ability.
‘...there appears to be a link between our intelligence and our expanded brain, which increased in size by roughly threefold since
the last common ancestor shared by hominines... and panins...’
The human clade appeared about 5 million years ago and since then the size of the brain has continued to grow, reaching its zenith in the last 200,000 years with the emergence of the last surviving member of the Hominini family, Homo sapiens -‘modern man’.
· The hindbrain controls the body's vital functions like heart rate, breathing, body temperature and balance.
One third of the forebrain is occupied by the prefrontal cortex and it is this area that has grown to be proportionally larger in Homo sapiens than in any of its hominid predecessors.
‘The prefrontal cortex has long been suspected to play an important role in cognitive control, in the ability to orchestrate thought and action in accordance with internal goals.’
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) was once thought to be silent until the famous 1848 accident and consequent behavioural studies of train worker Phineas Gage whose left frontal lobe was blown away in an accident with a tamping iron. Phineas lost his social and personal skills which he later partially regained before dying 11 years later.
Current theory has it that the prefrontal cortex is responsible for the interpretation, integration and control of all other parts of the brain – especially those associated with attentiveness, feelings, decision making, ego expression. and ultimately your own unique personality
Einstein said, "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." Socrates said, "I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing." What is intelligence?
When science can’t explain how something works it calls it a ‘singularity’; as with ‘black holes’ where gravity compresses all matter to a point of almost infinite density. It is theorised that all galaxies have a black hole at their centre and in 1974 our black hole - Sagittarius A* - was found in the middle of the Milky Way; its size being 40 times our Sun and its distance 26,000 light years from Earth.
The big bang is a ‘singularity’ because it breaks the laws of physics by inferring that, prior to the Universe; everything existed at a state of infinite temperature and infinite density!
To my mind the ‘ins and outs’ of the black hole and big bang singularities are reminiscent of the Australian aboriginal myth of Tiddalik the frog who sucks up the water of the world and when everything starts to die he gets tricked into laughing so the water pours back on the earth. Not scientific theory but when we label something a singularity then science doesn’t know either.
Scientific processes are an extension of thought processes, which in turn are the brain’s juggling of sensory inputs and their conversion into factual realities. We do this all our waking day without questioning the brain’s processes, even if at times we may query its integrity.
Human comprehension has advanced alongside the evolution of our brain, so by following and understanding the intricate functions and processes of this ‘most complicated object in the known universe’ we may perchance catch a glimpse of creation’s evolutionary intent.
‘The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but
that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired.’ - A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking,
‘The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired.’ - A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking, P139
The new kid on the block is the neuroscientist who uses brain imaging to map what is happening in the brain. In regard to intelligence the theory currently favoured by neuroscientists is the Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory which equates intelligence to differences in specific areas of the brain and the connections between them.
Nelson Mandela’s biographer wrote that during Mandela’s 27 years in jail ‘…he developed the art of politics: how to relate to all kinds of people, how to persuade and cajole, how to turn his warders into dependents and how to become master in his own prison.’ – Anthony Sampson
Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations said: ‘Mandela was “probably the single most admired, most respected international figure in the entire world.”
Bill Clinton said (IQ 149): “Every time Nelson Mandela walks into a room, we all feel a little bigger, we all want to stand up, we all want to cheer, because we’d like to be him on our best day.” - which day was that Bill?
Nine billion years after the big bang the Earth formed up (4.5bya) and was colonised by interactive life forms (3.8 bya). The first life forms would implicitly have had the same ability for decision making as their protégées – the bacteria, who used ‘ion channels’ to give them a basic sense of ‘touch’.
Three billion years later sponges evolved the ability to transmit chemical and electrical signals, and from then on many branches of life threw themselves into the task of constructing a control centre in the brain.
Finally, 540 million years ago, flatworms were the first to put it all together and become the first animal to have a defined brain; the first animal to be bilateral (two sided as all vertebrates are); the first complex organism to hunt; and the first animal to have sex -even though it was an hermaphrodite. (Checkout this fascinating video of flatworms: http://shapeoflife.org/video/flatworms-first-hunter .)
· The ‘midbrain’ acts as a relay station for sensory information and activates alertness and movement via the ‘reward pathway’ of dopamine production. ‘In simplistic terms, activation of the pathway tells the individual to repeat what it just did to get that reward.’
· The ‘forebrain’ calculates and integrates the bewildering array of inputs from our sensory and reflective impulses such that we develop an understanding of life’s purpose in relation to our future direction. The forebrain is also subject to the reward/punishment pathways generated in the mid brain.