Our brain can create incredible miracles, we just got used to them and do not believe in any miracles. The very fact that the brain, by accumulating and analyzing the electrical signals of perceptual neurons of the same type arriving at it, eventually forms what we call the “world view” with its incredibly diverse images, sounds, smells, sensations, is a most striking phenomenon in nature.
Orange has no orange smell. Orange is surrounded by a complex mixture of hundreds of volatile components, the most odorous of which is limonene, belonging to the class of hydrocarbons “terpenes”, which are essential oils. If one gram of essential oil is sprayed over a microdistrict in which I live, at a height of one hundred meters, a good hound dog will catch this smell – this is surprising, but the bear’s sense of smell is even seven times stronger! A bear can sense a living being at a distance of 20 kilometers. Rats perceive smells in stereo mode, i.e. their brain, based on the analysis of signals from perceived odors, creates a three-dimensional image of the surrounding world. The rat does not think about it, it just sees the world around and with its eyes and nose – smelling it, it will see additional details of the world around us, as we do, after looking or taking binoculars.
The front tip of the olfactory nerve contains many fuzzy cilia. Limonene molecules will fly past these cilia of the olfactory epithelium, permeated with hundreds of millions of olfactory neurons. A single limonene molecule is enough to get on the cilium of the olfactory neuron, as the sodium channel opens in it, and sodium ions go inside the cell, creating a small electrical current that goes further along the axon directly into the brain, into the olfactory bulb. A lot of completely identical electrical signals come into our brain, you know? Not the smell of an orange, but electrical signals. And the brain is already forming a perception, which we call the “smell of an orange.” In the same way, the brain creates visual images by analyzing the electrical signals from the visual neurons. Isn’t it a miracle? But we got used to it.
Is our brain able to evolve? Of course. It would be foolish to consider us the top point of evolution. So far, people are very close to ape-like ancestors, and the whole evolution of our species is ahead. In order for this evolution to go actively, you must stop destroying yourself with negative emotions and dogmatic dullness. And personally, I do not see anything surprising in the fact that our brain is also capable of other amazing things – especially if it is developed. Especially – if it is developed within the framework of my “Selection of Perceptions”.
I assume that the brain has a trained ability to collect and analyze disparate signals and form from them not only a picture of the present, but also the near future. At the same time, gradually, after many generations of evolving people, a special feeling will be formed, which we will call “a sense of the future”, and eventually… again, we will stop to perceive it as a miracle 🙂 We will just start to perceive this future directly. We are able to see a cat if we look at it, because the brain collects information obtained by retinal neurons from the reflected photons of a cat. But if the cat is around the corner of the house, then in this case it continues to reflect the photons, which are then partially reflected by other objects and again fall on our retina. This information is more scarce and more distorted, but who said that for the brain it is an insurmountable obstacle? It has long been experimentally proven that the human eye is able to see even a single photon, and we have no idea how much information the brain can extract from diffused light.
And we have no idea how much information the brain can extract from the scattered data. We know that in our world everything is very interconnected. A slight change in the political situation in Iran may have a small impact on the cost of oil, which may have a small impact on the decisions made by the refineries management, which may have a small impact on the local shortage of jet fuel. The publication of an article about Ronaldo’s tax problems that could lead him to jail can slightly change the emotional state of tens of millions of people, including those involved in servicing aircraft, purchasing fuel, registering passengers, etc. Millions, billions, trillions of event waves scatter every second across the planet, across all billions of people. Of course, this is a lot, but does less reflected photons get into our eyes every second? Do our neurons perceive and transmit less tactile information? Is our brain unable to understand this incredible amount of information flow from the eyes, skin, olfactory cells, etc.? Isn’t he able to isolate the significant and drop the insignificant, and ultimately shape our perception of the world? Able. And we do not have the slightest idea of the extent to which our brain is able to navigate the world of scattered data.
When I walk through the woods, my eyes may turn into a tree a meter away from me, and I will say that in this direction I only see a meter ahead. Shifting my eyes to a fraction of a degree, I can see the horizon ten kilometers away from me: the brain collects the photons coming from there and forms a picture. I think it will be the same with the perception of the future. In the direction of certain events, people will see only for a minute, and in the other event direction we will be able to see for years ahead. The picture of the future can be more or less vague, it can change with the course of time, just as the visual picture changes as it moves.
It is not excluded that our brain is able to master this ability simply as a result of a rather long development, and if people lived an active life of two or three hundred years, then maybe they could master such skills. It is curious to dream up – as if our world has changed.
Looking at a butterfly and a caterpillar, we usually do not realize that they have an identical genome! The genes are the same, but they work differently. The set of mechanisms that control the work of the genome, we call the word “epigenome”. Not so important – what are my genes, since at 99.9% they are generally identical in all people. It is important – how my epigenome works. Purely genetically, we could easily build up the olfactory epithelium and get a three-dimensional sense of smell like a rat, or we could, like salmon, smell the water from a particular streamlet many kilometers away, easily determining the direction of movement to sail to this streamlet. Only the appropriate setting of the epigenome is needed.
How tough is the epigenes? Not tough at all. It takes only half an hour to feel a sense of beauty or tenderness, and the epigenome will change and our genome will begin to work a little differently. It is enough to experience a stressful momentary surge of despair, and the epigenome changes its settings again, and we notice a change in body odor, pain in the heart area, deterioration of well-being – our genes began to work a little differently, the chemical composition of blood changed slightly, etc.
(A very interesting book-introduction to the understanding of the work of the epigenome: Shpork “Reading between the DNA lines”).
How much can the setting of an epigenome change if we purposefully, using the selection of attractive perceptions, cultivate pleasant states and eliminate negative emotions? People terribly underestimate – how disastrous, catastrophic effect on them is that they inject a poison of negative emotions into themselves every second, without even noticing it. Multi-layer negative background is experienced almost continuously: anxiety about this and that, concern with the opinion of this and that, small and large bursts of resentment, irritation, discontent, jealousy, envy …, but our brain stops signaling about background perceptions, that is why we do not notice the background friction of clothes against the body, the background work of peristalsis. You just have to look at your perceptions in order to see that people continuously inject the poison of negative emotions into themselves. At the same time, no evolution can be expected.
And the point is not that “circumstances make” us to experience negative emotions. It is a matter of habit, not of circumstances. Sometimes in the subway someone pushes me, and anger flashes, and sometimes also pushes me, but I don’t care. The situation is the same, but the mood is different and the reaction is different. The challenge is to change this deadly habit of reacting with negative emotions (NE). It is necessary to train in typical situations, instead of NEs, to switch attention to something pleasant, to create just such a habit.
I enter the doorway – irritation arises. Habit worked. I turn my attention to the experience of tenderness to my girlfriend, I watch that in order not to SUPPRESS NE (ie, to continue to experience it only by pretending that it is not there), namely, ELIMINATE it, that is, completely switching to a pleasant experience.
Then I walk out of the porch and stop by again. Again, a flash of irritation – the habit works, again eliminating it, creating a new habit, again I leave the doorway and enter it, and so, 10, 20 times. To stop such a stable habit, you need to work more than one day, but it is worth it. Not only do I throw out one source of poison from my life, I am training an important skill of eliminating NE. Confidence is formed in me, based on experience, that it is possible, that I can reduce the volume of other NEs that poison me. Reducing the amount of poisoning with negative emotions of my body and my psyche also plays into my hands and helps in this work.
As the volume of NEs decreases, the volume of pleasant states increases, and again the epigenome picks up this work, and a positive feedback occurs.
The brain begins to work clearer and clearer, being less poisoned by negative emotions, desires awaken more clear, more stable. I begin to appreciate these desires, I see that the experience and realization of these desires resonate with other attractive states.
Our psyche is like a huge ocean liner. It is necessary to twist the steering wheel for a long time in order for the direction to change gradually, but as soon as this process began, inertia plays into our hands already, because now it is the inertia of the evolutionary movement. Habits begin to help us, because they are constructive, specially created habits for us to experience a pleasant state, habits to think before doing something, etc.
How far can an evolving person go in a hundred years? For two hundred? Poisoning itself every second with negative emotions and stupidity, one cannot count on a long life. Well, I will try, because I have both a goal and a tool in the form of “selection of perceptions”.