I take a sip of coffee and glance down at Random Kitty. He is puzzled that I’m not sharing something with him. Random jumps onto the sofa, sniffs at my cup, then leaps onto the floor at my feet to observe me. Maybe I should say, we begin to observe each other. We look into each others’ eyes and I feel a wordless communication. Certainly there is some sort of bond or positive emotion our brains are creating.
I continue to ponder the cat. What is going on inside that little head of his? Does Random Kitty simply feel the emotion or does he somehow analyze it with cat logic? Is there such a thing as cat logic? Biologists don’t know for sure, but veterinarians do know something about cat psychology. Felines have feelings and thoughts that go beyond mere biological survival instincts.
Thinking about cat brains, led to thoughts about human brains. Our brains and nervous system are basically who we are. Researchers and scientists have found that brains are where consciousness derives. The more they study small animals, like cats, the more science is discovering about the nature of consciousness. There is no need for a brain as complex as a human’s brain to manifest consciousness.
CAT scans, or more properly CT scans, of human and animal brains have revealed a great deal of information about what areas of the brains are activated by different outside conditions and internal thought patterns. There are parts of the brain that recognize the difference between familiar people and strangers. Our brains enable us to prefer some types of music and art to others.
Importantly, various parts of our brains are at work when we are self-aware. Recent findings seem to point to self-awareness as originating in various areas of the brain, including portions not located in our cerebral cortexes. This gives more weight to the hypothesis that consciousness and self-awareness could be present among more species than we previously believed.
One of the problems with brains, is that they are very sensitive to injury. We have evolved hard skulls that help protect our brains from impacts. There are also internal injuries such as those caused by strokes and aneurysms that can greatly hamper brain activity or even cause death. This is why we are advised to seek emergency medical care if we suspect a brain injury from an accident, or if we believe we’ve experienced a stroke.
We think a lot about and of ourselves. The place where all this thinking takes place is in the brain. It’s amazing that our brains can think about themselves. We need to take care of our brains.
I hope your brain has good thoughts, today.