brain and mind

Peter B. Schmidt schmidt at
Thu Jan 26 14:18:22 EST 1995


Well, hum, I´m a bit amazed by the mechanical view  of the brain presented in the recent postings.
In my opinion, we know such a little about how brain works, that counting bits and MHz is like
describing an elephant as a bic bacteria.

In vitro we know the behaviour of a single neuron, that is true. But we cannot describe a
computer (though it is a well known technical artefact) by looking at a single pixel of
the monitor - If we know how bits behave inside the machine, we cannot tell wether it is
a Mac or a UNIX-machine. poor analogy, but I hope you get what I mean.

Looking at our own brains, we are reading a book without understanding the language.
Worse: we do not even know, what a book is - all we can do is looking at the strange
letters, if we find a way to open the book. At the moment, I believe we are staring
at the backs of these books, not knowing what they might be, contain or mean.

A painter can describe the partiture of a symphony in his language - graphical objects,
grouped in a special manner, etc. But he will not be able to see what the composer
meant, until he can read.

The research has only offered analogies - bits, Mega-Hertz and so on. But is it true, that
our brain processes information in the known, linear and "clocked" binary way? Can
Information theory be applied on the brain? At least in the state it is now?

My opinion is, that only the mechanical (motoric, e.g.) functions can be described.
You know wich area to stimulate, and you´ll have a motion, a phosphene. But
until we can READ the thoughts in the brain, we do not
know, how they are coded. Up to now, we only know how the "brain-computer"s
cooling fan works.

Different opinion? Different FACTS? Different point of view?  Drop me a note!

Peter B. Schmidt

(schmidt at

Peter B. Schmidt                        I  I do not speak for anyone
Helmholtz-Institut fuer Biomedizinische I  especially not for the
Technik, RWTH Aachen, Germany           I  Panet Earth, Germany or
Email schmidt at        I  The Helmoltz Institut.
Phone Germany + (0241) 80 70 09         I  My opinions are only MINE!

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