It's All In The Brain
For decades we have been told that it's all in the mind. Dozens of schools of psychology deal in mystical entities from anima to zeitgeist and all points in between. Souls, spirits, egos, yins and yangs, inner children, outer adults and any number of other ethereal, intangible concepts to explain how and why we are like we are.
These are all fine as metaphors to explain things we otherwise don't understand, just as 'God created the heavens and earth in six days and on the seventh he rested' was a useful metaphor once. But now we know differently.
Once the governing paradigm in astronomy was of a flat Earth with everything else going round it. Opposing views were heresy. People died for debating the accepted myth. Then Copernicus changed everything and suddenly a spherical Earth was orbiting the Sun. That paradigm has served us for several centuries.
Psychology has no generally accepted paradigm. It is littered with schools of thought each as prescriptive and exclusive as the next. Like religions, all have something to recommend them, are utterly convinced of their own correctness and are imperfect. Nonetheless their devotees have been known to cling to their beliefs with a passion and ostracize unbelievers. When Jung told Freud it wasn't all about sex a fierce row broke out.
At Mindsci we think 'it's all in the brain.' Here are some facts:-
- There are 100 billion neurons in the brain and ten times as many non-computational cells.
- Each neuron can have 1 to 10,000 synaptic connections to other neurons.
- Therefore there are 40 quadrillion (15 more 0's) possible connection patterns.
- Changes in signal strength (electrical/chemical/electrical) across synaptic gaps determine the brain's ability to represent the world.
- If each synapse has 10 possible strengths there are 10 to the trillionth possible electrochemical configurations.
- Each cell has one axon and up to 100,000 dendrites (axons teach, dendrites learn).
- That means 100 trillion constantly changing connections.
- So, there are more ways to wire up your brain than there are atoms in the universe!
Our genes and experience cause the brain to be wired a particular way. The brain is plastic and the power of suggestion can be used to rewire the brain and change the way we are in certain respects. That's Clinical Hypnotism. If you have been in therapy before the first difference you will notice is a reluctance to ask "How Do You Feel?" because it's the wrong question.