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If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't. ~ Emerson M. Pugh

The brain is an organ that serves as the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, adult sea squirts and starfish do not have a brain, even if diffuse neural tissue is present. It is located in the head, usually close to the primary sensory organs for such senses as vision, hearing, balance, taste, and smell.


My brain is open! ~ Paul Erdős
  • If you start putting very large numbers of human brain cells into primates, suddenly you might transform primates into something that has some of the capacities that we regard as distinctively human – speech or other ways of being able to manipulate or relate to a human. These possibilities, at the moment, are largely being explored in fiction but we need to start thinking about them now."
  • Brain, n. An apparatus with which we think we think.
  • Where people worry is when you get to the brain, the germ cells and the sentinel features that help people recognize what is a person, as opposed to a rat or a rabbit. Things like skin texture, facial shape, speech, replacing brain cells with human cells, allowing the development of human germ cells in animals. And particularly where there is any possibility of fertilisation within an animal.
  • Changing animals by putting human genes or cells into their structure is one way of making them more resemble the bit of the human condition you're interested in studying.
  • Do we trivialize a sublime feeling if we appreciate its dependence on the brain? Not in the least. Its significance does not depend on its being a soul state or a brain state...Humility bids us to take ourselves as we are; we do not have to be cosmically significant to be genuinely significant.
  • We do have an organ for understanding and recognizing moral facts. It is called the brain.
  • Aristotle taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain persons.
    • Will Cuppy, The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody, 1950
  • My brain is open!
    • Paul Erdős, in a standard greeting he would make when he was not contemplating some mathematical problem, as quoted in My Brain Is Open : The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos (1998) by Bruce Schechter, p. 10
  • I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.
  • Although previously the monoamine systems were considered to be responsible for the development of major depressive disorder (MDD), the available evidence to date does not support a direct causal relationship with MDD. There is no simple direct correlation of serotonin or norepinephrine levels in the brain and mood. In other words, after a half-century of research, the chemical-imbalance hypothesis as promulgated by the drug companies that manufacture SSRIs and other antidepressants is not only without clear and consistent support, but has been disproved by experimental evidence.
  • Irving Kirsch (2010). The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth. p. 92
  • If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't.
    • Emerson M. Pugh, as quoted in The Biological Origin of Human Values
  • The brain is a mystery; it has been and still will be. How does the brain produce thoughts? That is the central question and we have still no answer to it.
  • Anyone who claims that the brain is a total mystery should be slapped upside the head with the MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. All one thousand ninety-six pages of it.
  • A hidden spark of the dream sleeps in the forest and waits in the celestial spheres of the brain.
    • Dejan Stojanovic, in Circling, ”In Search of Spark,” Sequence: “A Warden with No Keys” (1993)
  • I was taught that the human brain was the crowning glory of evolution so far, but I think it’s a very poor scheme for survival.
    • Kurt Vonnegut, As quoted in The Observer [London] (27 December 1987)
  • People who had damage to the right cerebral hemisphere were unable to recognise simple patterns, or enjoy music, but they could still speak normally. People with left-brain damage were able to recognise patterns, but their speech was impaired. Obviously, then, the left deals with language, and you would expect a split-brain patient to be unable to read with his right eye (connected, remeber, to the opposite side of the brain). Sperry's patient was also unable to write anything meaningful (i.e., complicated) with his left hand. They noticed another oddity. if the patient bumped into something with his left side, he did not notice. And the implications were very odd indeed. Not only did the split-brain operation give the patient two separate minds; it also seemed to restrict his identity, or ego, to the left side. When they placed an object in his left hand, and asked him what he was holding, he had no idea. Further experiments underlined the point. If a split-brain patient is shown two different symbols -- say a circle and a square -- with each eye, and is asked to say what he has just seen, he replies, 'A square'. Asked to draw with his left hand what he has seen, and he draws a circle. Asked what he has just drawn, he replies: 'A square'. And when one split-brain patient was shown a picture of a nude male with the right-brain, she blushed; asked why she was blushing, she replied truthfully: 'I don't know'. The implications are clearly staggering. The person you call 'you' lives in the left side of your brain. And a few centimeters away there is another person, a completely independent identity. Where language is concerned, this other person is almost an imbecile. In other respects, he is more competent than the inhabitant of the left-brain; for example, he can make a far more accurate perspective drawing of a house. In effect. the left-brain person is a scientist, the right-brain an artist.

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