Brain Use

kkollins at kkollins at
Wed Dec 23 21:51:43 EST 1998

I don't know what other Neuroscientists refer to when they invoke the
old-saw 10%, but the old saw is Fallacious.

100% of the brain is used 100% of the "time". Perhaps some folks miss
this because, when one monitors the brain, via whatever methodology one
Chooses, one sees that some "areas" of the brain appear to be "more
active" than other areas of the brain are. But to interpret this as
"meaning" that only those areas of the brain that are "lit up" are
"being used" is 100% Error.

To see the above, work forward through analogy. You are in Grand Central
Station in New York City. The place is (impossibly) jammed with people.
A fire breaks out. If anyone is to survive, many people must co-operate
by becoming as inobtrusive as is possible so that those people who can
best extinguish the flame are, through the quiescence of the first
group, =actively= Assisted in doing so.

It's the same within the neural activation "states" that occur within
the brain.

If all the brain's neurons were to become equally active,
simultaneously, it'd be analogous to a person's shouting, "Fire!" in
jam-packed Grand Central Station, and no one would get out alive... that
is, the system would be rendered totally dysfunctional... zero

The quiescent neurons are =active= participants in 100% of the neural
dynamics... they're "just", with extraordinary Grace, Co-Operating.

There is another "side" to the "coin", but there's still no "mystery". 

"Thinking" constitutes Physically-Real Work.

The Sorrowful thing is that, just as, given the Choice, most folks tend,
strongly, to Choose not to dig ditches, most folks tend, strongly, to
Choose to use our allotted 100% stuff to do as little as possible of the
Physically-Real Work "thinking" entails.

The Sorrow inherent in such is that it, simultaneously, minimizes the
action of the innate biological reward mechanisms. ken collins

sgarriott at wrote:
> I know that this may be a strange question, but I've always heard that old
> cliché that human beings on the average only use about ten percent of their
> brains. My kids and I were talking about that, them asking what the other
> ninety percent was for. But I guess my question is: What do "people" (namely,
> those who have some kind of background in neuroscience) mean when they say
> that we only use ten percent? Does that mean that there are actually places
> in everyone's brain that remain dormant, never, or hardly ever, used? Or does
> it mean that at any one time we have ten percent of our brain capacity
> functioning? It could also be some other perspective that I hadn't
> considered. It could also be just something that people say, but it's more
> mythic than anything else.
> Anyone's ideas on this or a source I could consult for this would be
> appreciated.
> sjgarr at
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