The Heart-Brain dichotomy
Muse #127 - the ordered vs unordered
Recovering from my heart surgery, I have been pondering about the comparison between the heart and the brain. These unique organs serve wholly different functions.
The heart is an ordered system that generally serves a single purpose. Pump blood in the human system as long as it can. Having fixed the pipes that supply blood to the heart, my recovery is a fairly simple process. There are only a few things that one could do. All indirect and influential. An expert can potentially break down what needs to be done with the best of what your heart could do. Whether be it food, medicine, exercise, sleep, and other parameters. All of these have influence over the heart, but collectively.
During my recovery, the process of working with my heart, therefore, has been fairly easy and straightforward. Follow all the rules of what influences the heart and stick with them as much as possible. One can never know which one has what influence, but as long as the heart keeps running and trends in the right direction, it is good enough as long as it runs.
The brain in contrast is a totally different beast. It is multi-purpose. While the heart can even be removed and stored, even kept alive outside the body, the brain depends a lot on the heart to keep alive, but that alone is not enough. The working of the brain is all-encompassing and includes collecting sensory data and then sending out controlling data back to the various body parts to help the body function. And the brain is influenced by the feedback inputs, the various hormones it receives (which it also influences) and is more tightly integrated into the nervous system. I wonder whether the brain is an ordered system or an unordered system.
And the answer seems to be that there are three parts to the brain and I deliberately simplify this for discussions. The first is a learning system that acquires and registers patterns through its sensory devices. This continuously evolves the brain (or what it contains). Out of these patterns, the second is the ordered learning process that helps run the “animal” part of the system (adding to the base OS with which we are born). And finally is the third - unordered “thinking” brain, which uses the stored and observed pattern to form or create new patterns based on needs or otherwise - the cognitive brain.
My ordered part of the brain seems to be working fairly normally, as human norms go. But the recovery process of the unordered brain - there are probably no norms here and this might be a wide gamut spectrum for each human making us so unique. No single expert has any sufficient answers. Even collectively with several experts, the brain is a fertile playground of very limited understanding.
The motivations, the struggles, the discipline, the creativity and imagination, and the woes of this part of the brain is what we potentially call “consciousness” - it is interesting to work on it to direct it where my supposed “free-will” wants to take me. An altogether different complex ball game compared to the fairly structured recovery of the heart. And that is what makes life interesting…