The brain as an appendix? Three pounds of useless fat…
Organisms come and go. Brains evolve into minor insignificant blobs—to bilateral synchronization, to the organic state of awareness. Being aware of being aware (the pinnacle of biological evolution) big brains have made humans the “chief mambas” of planet earth. But was this necessary? Is it even true?
In geologic timescale life is but an eye-blink. Upon death one constant remains—consciousness. It is in every thing. It is the background illuminating the foreground. “The entire universe is forever the same as the consciousness that dwells in every atom”—Yoga-Vasistha. When you are gone consciousness remains.
Does consciousness exists without the brain? In recent years that idea has regained traction from some unlikely sources—brain abnormalities and science.
#1. “A new research study contradicts the established view that so-called split-brain patients have a split consciousness. Instead, the researchers behind the study have found strong evidence showing that despite being characterized by little to no communication between the right and left brain hemispheres, split brain does not cause two independent conscious perceivers in one brain”
Split brain is a lay term to describe the result of a corpus callosotomy, a surgical procedure first performed in the 1940s to alleviate severe epilepsy among patients. During this procedure, the corpus callosum (a bundle of neural fibres connecting the left and right cerebral hemispheres) is severed to prevent the spread of epileptic activity between the two brain halves. While mostly successful in relieving epilepsy, the procedure also virtually eliminates all communication between the cerebral hemispheres, thereby resulting in a ‘split brain’. Ref Article
Yet the patients still have one mind. The idea that consciousness originates in the brain has been sideswiped by evidence—that it’s not so clear as that. There’s more…
#2. More than 20 years ago the campus doctor at Sheffield University was treating a student of mathematics for a minor ailment. The student was bright, having an IQ of 126. The doctor noticed that the student’s head seemed a little larger than normal and he referred him to Dr Lorber for further examination.
Dr Lorber examined the boy’s head by cat scan to discover that the student had virtually no brain. The normal brain consists of two hemispheres that fill the cranial cavity, some 4.5cm deep. This student had a layer of cerebral tissue less than 1mm deep covering the top of his spinal column. Ref Article
#3. When a 44-year-old man from France started experiencing weakness in his leg, he went to the hospital. That’s when doctors told him he was missing most of his brain. The man’s skull was full of liquid, with just a thin layer of brain tissue left. Ref Article
With speech and motor coordination intact, normal societal living, average as well as above average intelligence, the above cases are good cases for consciousness existing outside the brain. Even the split brain is a single consciousness.
Where are his memories stored?
Where does thinking occur?
Where is speech and visual acuity learned and stored?
Where is the moral compass and reasoning developed?
Where does this place evolutions larger brain hypothesis to support greater intelligence?
How do the 12 cranial nerves function without a source organ?
I imagine the big brain has something to do with esthetics. A population of pinheads wouldn’t be a real eye catcher— or would it?