Thursday, April 9, 2009

How Things Work

It just seems so interesting to me. I'm refreshing myself on how the brain works, or the mind-body connection, or the CNS-PNS. However you'd describe it. It just fascinates me. Afferent and efferent nerves. They're the same as sensory and motor nerves. Why didn't I notice that years ago? Only two sorts of neurons, inward and outward, to the brain or away. Inward is sensory, information about everything other than the brain, whether within the body or from the great wide world. Outward is motor, to get things done, either muscles or organs, somatic or autonomic. Neuron axons bundled in the peripheral nervous system are nerves; axon bundles in the CNS are called tracts. I did not know that. But isn't it fascinating?

The other day I realized, finally, that the brain communicates with the body in only two ways, through motor nerves or through hormones. Nerves are a direct line, like telegraphs. Hormones float through the bloodstream hoping to be picked up by cell receptors -- like fish and nets, without the hope. Isn't that interesting? It's so obvious, and it took so long to put it together. I must not have been paying attention in school. In order to explain things, you need facts. Why does exercise make muscles grow? An exercised fiber becomes more receptive to hormones. Hormones are released when enough fibers are exercise. So it's central nervous system, and it's endocrinal. Obvious of course, but so interesting.

I know, I'm gushing.

And the way the CNS develops -- the brain and spinal cord. It starts as a sort of looped tube, eventually with, well, six parts, spinal cord and the five parts of the brain. A tube. See? It's not an addition thing, this development, not one part of the brain developing, then another one, more advanced, then yet another, and so on. New parts of the tube just appearing one day, or epoch. It's all there, inherent in the beginning. See? It's not an Evolutionary development. It all happens all at once, with all vertebrates, the way you'd blow up a plastic bag. There is no fish brain and lizard brain and mammal brain. There are just bigger and smaller parts of the brain, depending on class. A fish's cerebrum is smaller than its eyeball. A rat's cerebrum is the size of its ear. Humans' fill up everything behind the eyes and up. But it's all the same basic plastic bag -- just different shapes.

That's the body, and the brain. Not quite the same as mind, or as some would have it, the soul. Think of it as music. Flute music. What makes it? The breath of the player? The shape of the instrument? Neither, alone. Both, but not only both. Music is not breath and flute -- that might very well be just noise. We are made by genetics and shaped by experience -- but we are not just both of these, together. We are not breath through a flute, not experience acting through genes. We are music. There is a musician, a spirit, inspiring as well as respiring.

It's important to keep this in mind, as much as is possible. I never do. Hardly ever. I know it, but don't seem to care. I have a mystic's knowledge, but a carnal mind. Balaam was a fascinating prophet.

I wrote this just because it was time to write something. I'm really scattered. Aimless. I can't seem to gather the motivation to do what needs doing. I'm afraid a crisis is what it would take, and I just dread that, but here I am, stuck. I was talking to someone today about the problem. Sweet guy. Encouragement? A kick in the butt? The permutations are obvious. But God touches me the way he touched Saul. With a tormenting spirit. Perhaps not God. I am after all the melancholy author of this melody.

Depression? It's been some months now since it was so bad. October and November and December. That spirit is swept away, I hope, and my house must not be as empty as it seems. I'm in it, at least. I think I have you to thank, though. Someone must have been praying for me. Thank you.

But it really really is getting near time for me to move on. I've always needed a partner, a friend, an encourager. I'm old enough now to admit it. I've already gone though the argument -- God is not enough. He wasn't for Adam, isn't for you. Isn't for me. God admitted it, through Eve. For all the good it did. Eve wasn't enough either.

Ah well. I'm repeating myself. I could go on, about soloists and conductors, but why bother. Some seed springs up in shallow ground, and withers. That's how things work too.

I've ended on a sour note again. Sorry.


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