Monday, 27 June 2011

Brain Storms - 1 - Introduction

I am trapped in a box. You are trapped in a box, In fact we are all trapped in many different physical, social and mental boxes which in one way or another control the way we look at the world.

And because of we are trapped in mental boxes it is hard to think objectively of human thought and how it evolved because we are not impartial observers. But let us try – so why not join me in this series of brain storming posts about the brain.

But before we do I must declare an interest – by describing the box that I am in. I am in my 70s, and having taken early retirement over 20 years ago I abandoned all direct contact with university research, apart from regularly reading the New Scientist. Recently I decided to catch up online with any recent developments relevant to the discarded research project and what I found suggests that this long forgotten research is actually relevant to some of the obstacles in understanding how the mind works and how it might have evolved. This set my brain spinning, and, as my resources are strictly limited to the web and a desk-top computer (not even a University library reading card at present) I decided to launch this blog.

Whether you decide to join in will depend on whether you are interested in brain storming approaches to how we think – but will also depend on the boxes you are trapped in. For instance your own thought processes may be trapped by a box which means that you automatically assess the quality of research by its status - and automatically assume that the only good ideas come from young researchers, in  prestigious institutions, with plenty of funding. If so you may care to ask yourself if someone in a less favourable situation could get a controversial idea accepted you may find my post Why is Blue Sky research so difficult of particular interest.
The approach behind these brain storms will be to start by trying to stand back and get an overview of the issue, using Occam’s Razor to discard as much detail as possible. I will try to keep each issue short and any comments, points of information,, etc., which readers can add will be very welcome – and may well influence the way the Brain storms develop. The goal is to explore novel models for the way that the brain supports a wide range of mental activities.

The starting point of the Storms will be to look at The Black Hole in Brain Research and then Human Evolution and the Brain.

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