How the brain works.
Now I'm no doctor, I have no medical training, I can't even perform CPR,
but from watching how things work out, I've managed to dicover the following.
I'm sure it's not ground breaking or anything, but I've never heard of anybody
talk about it like this, so I present my ideas here.
Because the internet is an easy place to publish your ideas.
See also my one liners of wisdom.
It's all about brain development. I'm not a neurosurgeon and
all my information comes from analysis of how I think and the people I've
But whether or not it's "true" is more dependant on whether you buy this
particular implementation of the story. I'm 100% confident that my
observations are correct and universal, you just might not buy the context
that I set the story in.
A real scientist would use big words. I use the terms 'left brain' and 'right
brain.' And they have nothing to do with physical location, it's just a
logical assignment, had to call it something.
The basic idea is this: You have a left brain and a right brain. The
left brain does the conscious thinking, the right brain takes care of motor
coordinated skills. When you're concentrating on something, a math problem,
a grocery list, you're using your left brain. There is only one processor.
You can only work on one math problem or hold one conversation at a time.
If somebody says they can do two thinking things at a time, all they're
doing is context switching really quickly, they're not actually thinking two
conscious trains of thought at the same time. (I also believe that at some
time there has been or will be a mutation in somebody that allows for
multiple processing in the left brain at the same time. This is not
schizophrenia, that's just context switching at a different level.)
Anyway. That's your left brain. Your right brain does the mechanically
coordinated stuff. The juggling, the walking, the breathing, the moving your
eyes where you want to look, and of course rubbing your tummy while tapping
your head. You have lots of these. And you can use them all at the same time.
I've been trying to
figure out how many things you can do at once with your right brain before
you run out of processing power, do you have more muscles, or processors?
But it's not just movement, it's pattern of movement. And what I think I've
learned is that there isn't enough time in the day/life to get good enough
at different motor coordinated skills to find out. I'm not sure if they drop
off, or if they get too similar and you get confused. For example, on my
bicycle I have instinctively tried to turn on the turn signal as I would my
motorcycle when making a turn. They sorta mush together when they get too
similar. That's a failing of the right brain it's not very smart. It can't
think higher conscious thoughts.
When you're a kid, your brain is empty, as you get older you learn
things with your left brain, as you practice repeated motions you are
teaching your right brain. The left brain is much slower, but much smarter
than the right brain.
Nobody but nobody who's never tried to juggle can pick up and start
juggling. It's impossible. Nobody thinks fast enough in the left brain to
juggle. Gravity is too fast for our slow brains.
You have to think with your left brain and try small parts of the motions you
want to learn,
until your right brain learns it, then can do it on its own. Then you can
learn more with your left brain, and apply it to the right brain and so on.
The really interesting bits are how the left and right brains talk to
each other. I haven't worked that all out, but it sorta goes like this: the
left brain knows it wants to do something, so it shoots off the request to
the right brain and it takes it from there ("start walking, and don't bother
me until something interesting happens") and then the left brain is mostly
free to think about something else (the conversation at hand or something
Somebody told me that interesting things happen when you sever that
little bit of brain that attaches the two halves, but I don't know enough
about that to apply a theory to it.
So when you're young and in school, you can walk and run and maybe throw a ball
and ride a bike, but that's, it. Your left brain is so empty it spends all
its time thinking and noticing and observing. Everything is new. All the
sights, sounds, smells are fresh and you have no older experience
to draw on to compare it to. Which is why childhood seems to take so
long. You're concentrating on EVERY minute of your waking life. Adults
have the opposite problem, but I'll get to that in a minute.
Oh yeah "you never forget how to ride a bike." Because it's a right brain motor
coordinated skill. You will lose precision at it (see precision skills below) but
you won't actually 'forget' it.
As you get older, these visual patterns of get up, take a shower, get
dressed, eat, go to the bus, watch the same streets go by on the bus, all become
right brain and you automatically recognize them and don't pay any left
brain attention to them anymore. And it's automatic. You don't try to do this,
it just happens.
Now here's the cool bit: the left brain notices when something doesn't
fit the pattern. When a record skips, when a tree has fallen in the road,
when some part of the ritual routine is different from what your right brain
is expecting to associate, it alerts the left brain, or the left brain
somehow takes notice.
The best example of this that most people can relate to is this: "How did I
get to work? I remember getting in the car, and I remember pulling into the
parking lot at the office, but I don't remember anything between."
That's because by the time you get older, more things are automatic
responses to right brain memories, and known patterns and don't require ANY left brain
activity and (here's the magic bit) if you don't think about it with your
left brain, you never concentrate on it, and therefore don't remember it.
Plain and simple. You can only remember things that you concentrate on with
your left brain.
I also use this to explain why you get 'used to' music. Learned music is also
right brain memory, so is playing an instrument for that matter. You learn the right
brain motions of pressing the piano keys correctly, but that doesn't mean you
can play any song put in front of you. Those who can sight-read, that is,
play off sheet music they have never seen before, have
gained the reading and interpreting the music as a precision skill. Reading english
or music are both learned right brain skills. When you get very good at it, less
work (slow work) is required by your left brain to process and you can play
by sight, because your right brain is fast enough to do that.
Driving is a right brain skill. When you first learn to drive, the right
brain knows nothing about controlling a car or dealing with all of the input
on the road, signs, traffic lights, other cars. But as you learn it becomes
more and more right brain, and easier to do, because your right brain
takes care of a lot of the mechanics of operating the car and you
can use your left brain to watch out for traffic.
The saving grace of our brain design which is what keeps most people
from getting into car accidents while they're 'zoning out' is that any change
in the expected pattern wakes us up. Somebody cuts you off, or there's an obstruction
in the road. Brings you back to left brain awareness so you can do some high level
thought of how to deal with the problem.
By the way, this is why talking on a cell phone in a car isn't so bad. It's mostly
because most americans don't drive very well to begin with, and they have trouble
making right brain decisions on what's more important, the phone or the driving
when the left brain is alerted to a something-doesn't-fit-the-pattern problem.
There's lots more like precision skills and why time goes faster as you
get older, how you can juggle blindfolded,
and other things like that, but I'll get to that in a later installment of this
What really amazes me is how I've never heard or read anybody say
anything like this. But it's so universal that in one form or another is HAS
to be true.
Oh, another neat right brain thing. You can juggle while reading a book.
It turns out that your right brain makes very good use of your senses that
you're not concentrating on. When juggling, as long as you keep the TOP of
the pattern in your peripheral vision, you can continue to juggle, even if you're
watching TV or reading a book, with your left brain.
But if you only keep the bottom in, you can't because you don't have
enough time to calculate the trajectory of the ball falling and you'll
almost always miss it. This means that your right brain can not only handle
the juggling when you're not concentrating on it, but it can accurately
calculate trajectory with only a tiny bit of the start of the fall available
to it to work with.
Arguably, you should be able
to drive while reading, but you'd have to keep most of the road in your peripheral
vision, and you probably would miss small road obstructions like potholes, but
you could probably keep in your lane and avoid hitting cars.
Hmm.... worth figuring out, if right brain can sense depth. I'll have to check
Somebody sent me a related link that might also be of interest:
stu mark spamme at deadpelican.com