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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
  • BRAIN, n. An apparatus with which we think what we think. That which distinguishes the man who is content to be something from the man who wishes to do something. A man of great wealth, or one who has been pitchforked into high station, has commonly such a headful of brain that his neighbors cannot keep their hats on. In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, brain is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • My brain is a piggybank. Drop your coins and feel happy because you’re contributing to my economy. Fundraiser, you are raising the funds to kill my soul every day a little more.
  • We do have an organ for understanding and recognizing moral facts. It is called the brain.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the Arena of Brains no more salutary thing can befall a man than to meet his match. The discipline is stern, but not of the most adamant.
    • Norman Gale, A June Romance (Rugby: George E. Over, 1894), p. 66
  • By the time a fetus is 6 months old, it is producing electrical signals recognizable as brain waves.
    And clusters of lab-grown human brain cells known as organoids seem to follow a similar schedule, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
    "After these organoids are in that six-to-nine-months range, that's when [the electrical patterns] start to look a lot like what you'd see with a preterm infant," says Alysson Muotri, director of the stem cell program at the University of California, San Diego.
  • If... too much blood is supplied to the brain, congestion of the vessels takes place, and irregularity in its action is at once produced; if too little, the brain (and, therefore, the nervous system) becomes first irritable and then lethargic. The quality of the blood supplied is also of great importance. As it courses through the body it has two principal functions to perform — to supply oxygen and to provide nutrition to the different organs of the body; and if it be unable adequately to fulfill either of these functions, a certain disorganization will follow. If the supply of oxygen to the brain be deficient, it becomes overcharged with carbon dioxide, and heaviness and lethargy very shortly supervene. A common example of this is the feeling of dullness and sleepiness which frequently overtakes one in a crowded and ill-ventilated room; owing to the exhaustion of the oxygen in the room by the continued respiration of so large a number of people, the brain does not receive its due modicum, and therefore is unable to do its work properly.
  • 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.
  • If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't.
    • Emerson W. Pugh, As quoted from George Edgin Pugh, The Biological Origin of Human Values (1977) , Basic Books, New York, ch. 7, p. 154.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • Because our minds need to reduce information, we are more likely to try to squeeze a phenomenon into the Procrustean bed of a crisp and known category (amputating the unknown), rather than suspend categorization, and make it tangible. Thanks to our detections of false patterns, along with real ones, what is random will appear less random and more certain—our overactive brains are more likely to impose the wrong, simplistic, narrative than no narrative at all.
    • Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (2010) Postface, p. 105.
  • 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.
  • "How can one fix the brain when it is the device we use to seek the solution?"
    • -Dr. Jimmy Freud-Jung

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